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Mel Mcbride

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


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. 

Marco de Jong

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. 


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 


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.


Mel Mcbride

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


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

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

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

To add to previously suggested, brunneras, variegared Arabis, Phormiums, hellebores. Winter honeysuckle, primroses...often early....pittosporums come in purple,,grey, golden,,almost white foliage. Heathers, the winter ones, are available in foliage colours amd flower throughout the winter.  Coronilla varieties.  Conifers ....small and compact like juniperus blue star, dwarf vsrieties of cryptomerias,  the yews....all provide colour during the winter. Some grasses, carex ever gold, uncinia unciniata rubra, carex buchanii, etc., ophiopogon nigrescens, liriope, Libertia all are good for winter colour.


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

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 


Has anyone mentioned the coloured stemmed dogwoods?

How about the coloured stemmed dogwoods?  

Eucalyptus too during the winter....ESP good next to dogwoods.  

But not bed fairy............


Mmm- perhaps no tea Verd....


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

oh, and Rainbow Chard, I think

And the srems of the coloured dogwoods too......nice bark!  Bark?......I'll get my coat 

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