Plants With Year-Round Interest

Here are 10 plants that will provide year-round interest to any landscape.

crimson king norway maple cultivar can be invasive

The Norway Maple can be considered invasive.

Crimson King Norway Maple

Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'

Gardener's Note: The Norway Maple and its cultivars can be invasive.

  • Dense green tree that fills with maroon yellow blooms in the spring.
  • Oval to rounded crown fills provides a lot of shade.
  • Plant in part sun to full shade.
  • Needs well-drained soil.
  • Height 35-45 feet
  • Width 25-40 feet

This tree has a shallow root system, which can compete with grass and make mowing under the tree difficult. Best for a more natural, less manicured landscape.

  • Hardy USDA Zones 3-7
  • Zone 3: Plant in part sun or full sun. Needs well-drained soil.
  • Zone 4: Plant in part sun or full sun. Needs well-drained soil.
  • Zone 5: Plant in part sun or full sun. Needs well-drained soil.
  • Zone 6: Plant in part sun or full sun. Needs well-drained soil.
  • Zone 7: Plant in part sun or full sun. Needs well-drained soil.

English Roseum Rhododendron

english roseum rhododendron has spring pink blooms

This shrub has pink blooms in spring.

Rhododendron 'English Roseum'

  • Dense evergreen shrub with pink blooms in the spring.
  • Plant in rich garden soil that is moist, but well drained.
  • Plant in light to partial shade.
  • Height: 6-8 feet
  • Width: 6-8 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 4-7 (South) 8 (West):

  • Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in light to partial shade; mulch in fall; avoid exposure to salt and winter wind.
  • Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in light to partial shade; mulch in fall; avoid exposure to salt and winter wind.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in light to partial shade with protection from hot afternoon sun; mulch in fall; provide supplemental water during dry spells.
  • Zone 7: Plant in fall; plant in light to partial shade with protection from hot afternoon sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells.
  • Zone 8: Plant in fall; plant in light to partial shade with protection from hot afternoon sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells; will suffer in warmer areas of this zone, especially in the south, but will be more tolerant of zone 8 in the cooler Pacific Northwest.

Summer Snowflake Doublefile Viburnum

summer snowflake doublefile viburnum has lace cap

This shrub has white lace-cap flowers from spring to fall.

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Summer Snowflake

  • Deciduous shrub with horizontal branching and white lace-cap flowers from spring to fall and good fall color.
  • Plant in full sun to partial shade.
  • Plant in average to moist soil.
  • Height: 6-8 feet
  • Width: 6-8 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:

  • Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 7: Plant in fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells.
  • Zone 8: Plant in fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells.

Snow Fairy Caryopteris (Blue Beard)

snow fairy caryopteris has unpleasant odor

This perennial can survive in poor soil and is drought tolerant.

Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy'

  • Low-growing woody perennial with variegated white/green leaves and blue flowers in summer.
  • Plant in average garden soil that is well drained, can tolerate poor soil; drought tolerant.
  • Leaves have unpleasant odor if crushed.
  • Prune while dormant.
  • Plant in full sun.
  • Attractive to bees and butterflies.
  • Height: 2 feet
  • Width: 2 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.

Golden Japanese Forest Grass

golden japanese forest grass is shade tolerant

This shade-tolerant plant has bright gold foliage.

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'

  • Deciduous, shade-tolerant, clump-forming perennial grass with bright gold foliage.
  • Plant in rich, organic soil.
  • Plant in light to partial shade.
  • Height: to 10 inches
  • Width: to 18 inches

Hardy in USDA zones 5-8 (South); 5-10 (West):

  • Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in light shade; protect with mulch in fall.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in light to partial shade; protect with mulch in fall.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in light to partial shade; protect with mulch in fall.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in light to partial shade; protect with mulch in fall.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in partial shade; protect with mulch in fall; plant may languish in this zone in the Southern United States.
  • Zone 10: Plant in spring; plant in partial shade; protect with mulch in fall; plant may languish in this zone in the Southern United States.

Ostrich Fern

ostrich fern reaches upwards of four feet

This large fern should be planed in medium to full shade in all zones.

Matteuccia pensylvanica

  • Large, deciduous fern reaching upwards of four feet.
  • Plant in rich, wet to moist soil.
  • Plant in medium to full shade for all zones.
  • Hardy in AHS heat zones 8-1

Hardy in USDA zones 3-8:

  • Zone 3: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; mulch heavily after first hard frost; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.
  • Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; mulch after first hard frost; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.
  • Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; mulch after first hard frost; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or fall; mulch in the fall; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring or fall; mulch in the fall; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring or fall; mulch in the fall; pull back mulch in early spring; divide as new growth appears in early spring.

Green Spice Coral Bells

green spice coral bell has gray edge silver leaves

The leaves on this perennial have interesting purple veins.

Heuchera Americana 'Green Spice'

  • Evergreen to semi-evergreen perennial with gray-edged silver leaves and purple veins.
  • White flowers on stems above the foliage in spring.
  • Plant in partial to full shade.
  • Plant in moist to dry, but well drained rich soil.
  • Fertilize in spring as new foliage appears.
  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Width: 15-18 inches

Hardy in USDA zones 4-9:

  • Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in partial shade; mulch after planting and again after first hard frost to prevent heaving; avoid contact with salt; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.
  • Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in partial shade; mulch after planting and again after first hard frost to prevent heaving; avoid contact with salt; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in partial to medium shade; mulch after planting and again in fall; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; mulch after planting and again in fall; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; mulch after planting and again in fall; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; mulch after planting and again in fall; water during dry periods; remove tattered foliage in spring as new foliage appears; pull mulch away from crown in spring.

Petunia Hybrid

petunia hybrid is a spreading tender perennial

The leaves on this perennial have interesting purple veins.

Supertunia® 'Royal Velvet'

  • Spreading tender perennial grown as an annual with profuse purple flowers.
  • Vigorous growth.
  • Good heat tolerance.
  • Plant in full sun.
  • Plant in rich, but well-drained soil; water and fertilize regularly.
  • Height: 5-7 inches
  • Width: 24-36 inches, spreading

Annual or houseplant in USDA zones 2-9
Tender perennial in USDA zones 10-11:

  • Zones 2-9: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; mulch in colder zones for protection; plant in full sun; fertilizer frequently; water when dry; bring indoors before first frost or discard after frost.
  • Zones 10-11: Plant in spring; mulch to conserve moisture; plant in full sun; fertilizer frequently; water when dry; cut back by half fall; water sparingly in winter.

Variegated Lilyturf

variegated lilyturf is an evergreen groundcover

Blue-purple flowers appear on this plant in fall.

Liriope muscari 'Variegata'

  • Thick, tufted evergreen ground cover with linear foliage with creamy edges.
  • Blue-purple flowers in fall followed by a dark berries.
  • Plant in full sun to full shade.
  • Prune or mow in late winter; divide in spring.
  • Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil; water freely until established.
  • Height: 12 inches
  • Width: 18 inches

Hardy in zones 6-10:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall; protect from drying winds.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall; protect from drying winds.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to moderate shade; mulch in fall; protect from drying winds.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch in fall; protect from drying winds.
  • Zone 10: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch in fall; protect from drying winds.

Vera Jameson Stonecrop

vera jameson stonecrop has succulent foliage

This low-growing perennial is heat and drought tolerant.

Sedum 'Vera Jameson'

  • Low-growing perennial with succulent foliage that turns burgundy in the fall and pink flowers.
  • Plant in full sun.
  • Plant in average to poor, but well-drained soil.
  • Heat and drought tolerant.
  • Height: 8-12 inches
  • Width: 12 inches

Hardy in USDA zones 3-9:

  • Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost.
  • Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost.
  • Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.

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