Best Trees and Shrubs for Winter Interest

by Karen Mariconda
When designing and planting new trees and shrubs in the garden it is important to consider what these will look like throughout the seasons.
Here are a few of the very best trees for interest during the cold winter months.  These deciduous trees are well-known for their majestic stems and bark which stand out beautifully when their foliage has fallen in late autumn:-

Betula Utilis Jacquemontii
The bright white stems of these elegant trees mean that the trees look wonderful at any time of year.  They can be under-planted particularly with red or purple architectural evergreen shrubs such as Phormium Tenax Purpurea to create this magnificent effect.

Betula Jacquemontii MultiStemmed planted with Phormiums
Betula Jacquemontii MultiStemmed planted with Phormium Purpurea

Cornus Sanguinea Winter Beauty
A flowering shrub which has interest throughout the year – particularly in late autumn and winter.  The foliage changes colour to bright orange and reds and then flowers prolifically with white fluffy flowers.  The stems are always red but seem to take on a more vibrant effect over the winter months once it has lost its foliage.

Cornus Winter Beauty and Prunus Serrulata for sale London garden centre
Prunus Serrulata Multi Stemmed | Cornus Winter Beauty

Prunus Serrulata
This tree is useful for any garden as it does not get too large.  Maximum height generally around 4m.  The pink/copper coloured bark is glossy and stands  out well in the winter months when frost is on the ground.  With white flowers in summer and change of foliage colour in autumn this  is a particularly versatile ornamental tree for any season.

Pleached Carpinus Betulus
These pleached hornbeam trees have been trained on a tall framed to be used as a “hedge” above the fence line.  The leaves generally keep their form in the winter months and change to an orange/brown.

Pleached Hornbeam Trees - for sale at Paramount Plants in Crews Hill
Pleached Hornbeam Trees – Winter Colour

Favourite Evergreen Trees with Winter Interest
There are many Trees and Shrubs of interest throughout winter – I have chosen just a couple of my favourite evergreen trees which always keep their shape even during the harshest of the seasons:-

Magnolia Grandiflora
The only evergreen magnolia its large leathery leaves are copper coloured underneath and this gives the tree a slightly tropical look during the winter although it is of course fully hardy.

Topiary Trees – Ilex Aquifolium
These very bushy topiary holly trees will remind everyone Christmas is approaching as soon as the bright red berries appear in mid-Winter.

Topiary Holly Trees with Berries for sale Crews Hill garden centre
Topiary Holly Trees with Berries

The Woodland Trust recommends planting trees in our gardens to help the environment and to help wildlife. For advice with choosing trees or shrubs please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our Plant Centre in North London UK.