What are some good plants for colour during winter?

Apart from the chinese (?) purple one that looks like cannabis leaves, (they always die on me) what other plants are good for colour in the winter?

I have heavy clay soil, but I can dig, add drainage and replace with different soil.They'll need to like a clay sub-bed - though I think most plants do. ~ Not too sure.

A lot of my garden is shaded in winter because of large fern trees at the back. The areas I'm thinking of putting new plants, has only about 4 hours direct sunlight (on a cloudless day) during dec/jan/feb-ish


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    How big an area do you have Mel? I garden on clay and find variegated foliage useful in shady areas - Euonymous is always handy. I have Osmanthus burkwoodii, which is not the most exciting shrub in the world, but it has scented white flowers in late winter/early spring. Christmas box (Sarcococca) is another which does a similar job. I also have Mahonia  (Charity and Winter Sun are the two most common, bigger varieties) which is a good colour of green and has yellow flowers in winter. There's lots of hollies (Ilex) which will do well, and Lonicera, shrubby honeysuckle, in bright golds or greens, as well as variegated ones.  All of those are evergreen too. image

  • Cyclamen coum will probably like it there. It will flower from December through to the beginning of March, even with heavy snow. There are purple, pink and white ones. I grow them on clay myself, and they do very well here. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Absolutely Marco - I have those too.  I also planted lots of cream and white crocus, snowdrops and native primulas as well, which are perfect for those situations. Nice and cheerful at the end of a dreary winter image


  • Heucheras are a great plant for winter colour, they come in a large variety of colours from purple, orange to pink and lime green. There is one called Creme br??l??e which does really well in a semi shaded position, really lush and tropical looking. Also, some of the hebe varieties have splashes of pink purple or cream in their leaves as well as purple, such as Red Edge, and Magic Colour. Several varieties of Phormiums have very striking foliage, such as Sundowner.
  • Oh wow, so many suggestions thanks everyone.

    Fairygirl I have tons of space. It's all lawn bar a bit around the edges I've dug up so far. Not exactly sure what the shape of it will be come then end, but I'm more than happy to lose lots of lawn. I hate mowing, with a passion image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    As Del Boy says - the world's your lobster than Mel!...imageimage

    go big then - always looks better than lots of fiddly little bits of borders. image

    almost forgot - Euphorbias. Lots of them do well in shade, especially dry shade, and are good and bright through winter image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Big yellow junipers Mel...that's junipers not jumpers...image

    We inherited some huge ones at last house along a big  bank by the pond. They were terrific through the winter and a much needed burst of sun during those dull days. We also had lots of heathers which I'm not overly keen on, but they were rabbit proof so very valuable! They looked  very striking when flowering en masse in early spring - just make sure they have adequate drainage. Ours had been planted on top of the pond liner, which had been taken half way up the bank. They actually had very little soil under them and excess water simply ran down the liner to the bottom.

    You're spoiled for choice now! Something for shade and sun and all year round colour image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,048

    Has anyone mentioned the coloured stemmed dogwoods?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,048

    snap Verdunimage

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    coat Verd...imageimage

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Mmm- perhaps no tea Verd....image

  • No I don't think anyone mentioned Coloured Stemmed Dogwood yet. Coloured Stemmed Dogwood. There you go.

    oh, and Rainbow Chard, I think

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,048



  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168


  • Flora rosaFlora rosa Posts: 260

    image Bark like it

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