Additional Plants of Winter Interest

Additional Plants of Winter Interest
Certain species of the woody plants can provide winter interest to the landscape. They include ones with colorful, exfoliating bark and ones with showy fruits.

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark maple is one of my favorites among the introduced maples. It is recommended as a specimen and a patio tree.

Hardy to zone 5, the tree reaches 25 feet in height with a matching width. This is a rather open branching tree with a round to narrow crown. This maple leafs out much later than the other maples.

The branches tend to come out at angles to create a lovely silhouette in the winter. The reddish to cinnamon colored bark peels very freely in paper-like sheets and strips. It is just spectacular.

Paperbark maple has the showiest bark of all the maples. The exfoliating bark is cinnamon-brown and is definitely the most showy feature of the species. Older trunks can be smooth.

Paperbark maple bears red blossoms. The seeds are winged. The foliage can turn bright red in fall, but this plant isn’t a reliable source of fall color.


Also called black alder, winterberry is a special species of native holly. Native to the East, it is named for the very showy fruits that are present in the winter. Hardy to zone 4, this is a deciduous 6 to 10 foot tall shrub with a matching spread. For small gardens, choose one of the dwarf varieties.

In order for the winterberries to bear fruits, it is necessary to plant both male and female plants, which allows for pollination to take place.

A suggested ratio is six female plants to one male. Those with small gardens can plant both a male and a female plant in the same planting hole, which will insure pollination can take place.

The shiny red fruits can be borne on the twigs. These ripen in late fall and early winter. They are quite showy. Certain cultivars are known to have vivid fruits. These include Winter Red, Nana, and After Glow winterberry. There are also varieties with yellow fruits.

Many cultivars of winterberry are readily available at garden centers and nurseries.

Winterberry blossoms are rather inconspicuous. The leaves can turn yellow in the fall.
It thrives in wet and moist soils. Rich, acid soils are preferred. The berried stems are often used in Christmas decorations and the like.

The foliage can experience mildew and leaf spots, but otherwise this species is free of problems. This plant can grow to form thickets. It makes a good border or screen plant. This also does well along streams.

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