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 Shrubs Questions

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for pygmy date palms in Spring, TX
April 15, 2010 - We live in Spring, Texas and the front door of our house faces East. Last winter we lost both of our beautiful pigmy date palms! We are trying to find "unique" accent plants for our front entry. D...
view the full question and answer

Freeze-back of Hamelia patens in winter in Texas
October 03, 2008 - Will the hamelia patens freeze back in the winter ?
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.