Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 11, 2010

From: Wynnewood, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Shrubs
Title: Winter-interest plants in Wynnewood PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Could you please suggest flowering plants that provide winter interest after drying out (ie with seed pods or interesting dried flower heads)? I'm looking for something that grows in full sun. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Since we garden in Texas, it's a little difficult for us to conceive of something lasting through the kind of winters you have in southeastern Pennsylvania, Montgomery Co., USDA Hardiness Zone 6b.  In our National Organizations Directory, we located the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, which probably could give you closer-to-home advice. Another good source for plant information in your area is the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office for Montgomery County.

To at least get you started, we will look at our Recommended Species, selecting on Pennsylvania and see if we can find some suggested plants for full sun. You can repeat this search by going the same route, selecting for herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), shrubs or trees. We discovered that not only will seed pods or dried flowers cause winter interest, but the structure of trees, shrubs and grasses that can make a snow sculpture can also be useful. It is most likely that berry-producing shrubs are going to display the best colors in the winter, and delight the birds in the process. Some of these plants have persistent seedheads, some attractive peeling bark, some are evergreen, some have structures that will support the snow for Winter sculpture. Follow each plant link to learn about that plant, its light needs and propagation. All are native to Pennsylvania.

Winter Interest Plants for Wynnewood PA:

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)

Phlox subulata (moss phlox)

Cirsium discolor (field thistle)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Morella pensylvanica (northern bayberry)

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea (redosier dogwood)

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle)

Betula papyrifera (paper birch)

Betula populifolia (gray birch)

Picea pungens (blue spruce)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

 

From the Image Gallery


Creeping phlox
Phlox stolonifera

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Field thistle
Cirsium discolor

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

American holly
Ilex opaca

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Northern bayberry
Morella pensylvanica

Fiddleleaf tobacco
Nicotiana repanda

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

More on bluebonnets
May 12, 2005 - My bluebonnet plants have seed pods (I guess they are, they look like pods of snap peas). Can I collect these or do I just leave them alone and hope they multiply? If I can collect them, what is the ...
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for burned acreage in Bastrop, Texas
October 31, 2011 - The fire took 2/3 of the trees on my half acre in Bastrop County. It was mostly wild. What do I plant for ground cover? Do I plant native grass seed in fall? I want to keep it native as possible. ...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly plants from Austin TX
December 17, 2012 - I have a butterfly garden in the front part of the house facing the south side. However it is also mostly under a few Oak trees that cast shadow over half of the front yard starting early afternoon. ...
view the full question and answer

Seed planting of Crossvine from Orlando FL
September 12, 2011 - Seed planting of Bignonia capreolata - Tangerine Beauty. I have seed pods. Do I plant how deep and should I put in a plastic bag with a wet papertowel in the refrigerator and let it sprout? ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.