A wintering shrub is a plant that blooms, lives or germinates during the winter. Most wintering plants are evergreen, meaning they do not lose their foliage when fall or winter arrives. Some wintering shrubs grow in climates where winter weather is not harsh, while other shrubs have a high degree of cold hardiness. Even though some shrubs may be cold hardy, horticulturists usually provide some protection to their plants in the winter.
Witch hazel shrubs (Hamamelis vernalis) produce fragrant, white flowers during the winter. Brown, dried leaves partially protect these flowers from cold temperatures and frost. The flowers continue blooming in the early spring. Witch hazel is a medium-sized shrub that grows approximately 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. This shrub grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 8.
One species of viburnum shrubs, the American cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum), produces clusters of bright-red fruit, which is edible for birds. Throughout the spring and summer, the American cranberrybush features fragrant, white flowers. The flowers stay on the shrub until mid- to late fall. This tree reaches heights of 10 to 12 feet in maturity and grows in zones 2 to 8.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial, evergreen shrub that grows between 5 to 6 feet tall. This shrub maintains its fragrant leaves throughout the year. In the United States, rosemary shrubs grow in zones 8 to 11. Some species are cold hardy in zones 6 and 7. If heavy snowfall comes, the University of California-Davis' Integrated Pest Management Program suggests wrapping the shrub's upright branches in plastic sheeting prevents snowfall from breaking them.
Originally from China, the gardenia shrub (Gardenia angusta) was introduced to Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Currently, horticulturists usually plant gardenia cultivars in semitropical climates. In this climate, gardenias maintain their foliage throughout the year. However, this shrub suffers loss of foliage and flowers during the winter in colder climates. Gardenias have sweet-scented flowers in a variety of fragrances, such as vanilla, jasmine and nutmeg.
Although some camellias (Camellia genus) grow up to 25 feet, the maximum height for most shrubs is 6 to 12 feet. A camellia's flowers bloom from winter to spring. This shrub's flowers emit a sweet fragrance, are white or pink and have an approximate diameter of 3 to 5 inches, depending on the cultivar. The camellias colorful array of flowers makes it a common ornamental plant. Camellias are slow growers, and some plants live more than 100 years.
- The Ohio State University; Hamamelis Vernalis
- Iowa State University Extension; Viburnums: Ideal Shrubs for Iowa Landscapes; Madeleine Rothmayer
- University of Tennessee Gardens - Plant of the Month; UT Gardens' Plant of the Month: Rosemary; Susan Hamilton, Ph.D.
- University of California - Davis - Integrated Pest Management Program; Rosemary — Rosmarinus officinalis
- University of Florida IFAS Extension; Growing Gardenias in Florida; Joan Bradshaw, et al.; January 1998
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; Marjan Kluepfel, et al.; March 1997
- Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images