How To Keep Your Green Thumb Active This Winter

As the winter solstice falls upon us and fall officially turns into winter the hustle bustle, for the holidays and keeping warm can cause people to either forget about their garden or keep it in their back of their minds. Wondering when the best time to plant something new will be during the upcoming spring.

However, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you have to put your green thumb away. There are a large variety of indoor and outdoor plants that provide color, flowers, fruit and more during the winter season so you can continue to enjoy your gardening hobby during the colder months.

Top Winter Plants

1. The Meyer Lemon Tree

When it comes to lemons you probably think about them growing in a tropical land far away, where Jack Frost has never nipped at a nose. While you’re picturing this place with sand to warm your feet instead of freezing snow, you probably wish that you could join the lemon trees at their tropical get away.

While we support tropical vacations, there is an easier way to hang out with Meyer Lemon Trees. They grow extremely well in containers and indoors. Bring the tropics to your home with this spunky citrus tree.

You’ll be delighted by green foliage all year, but in the fall and colder months white flowers will emerge all over the tree. They have a sweet, citrus scent that naturally freshens up the home, better than lemon scented cleaner sprays that are filled with chemicals.

The inviting blooms warm the room with their vibrant color, distracting those from the cold slush outside. Soon the blooms start growing into large delicious Meyer Lemons, which are a hybrid cross between a common lemon and a sweet orange so they have sweet flavor that other lemons can’t match. Their sweet juice and flavor will be the perfect thing to warm you up during a cold day.

2. Camellias

The only colors traditionally associated with winter are white, black, and blue. Most likely for the expected snows and darkness associated with shorter days. We won’t let those colors keep us down with winter blues, because camellias provide vibrant blooms to brighten up the landscape.

Once a Camellia like the Yuletide, Kramers, and Shi Shi Gashira is planted in your landscape, prepare yourself for months hot pink blooms that melt the cold, barren landscape away. These camellias are for those who refuse to settle for winter landscapes filled with muted browns.

With multiple varieties of Camellias you have vibrant blooms during each colder month. The Yuletide is an early bloomer, with flowers that show up in September and well into January. The Kramers Camellia is a later bloomer, with blooms that first emerge January and last until April.

Camellias are versatile shrubs that can be trained as trees, kept in containers, or planted closely together to form a large, flowering, privacy hedge. No matter what form they’re in, they have dark glossy leaves for bright blooms to pop against, spreading color across the empty landscape.

3. Weeping Willow

Sometimes you don’t need an outdoor evergreen for a remarkable winter display in your landscape, and the Weeping Willow proves it. Once its leaves drop away from its weeping, cascading branches large arching branches are left.

Their tall nature and curves attract the eye to their beauty, which only intensifies once the branches are covered with a layer of ice and or snow, because suddenly they look like they came from a winter wonderland.

The branches sparkle and glisten in the light as they’re covered from top to bottom with a thick layer of winter precipitation. You may wonder if the tree came straight out of Disney’s Frozen! Don’t rely on films for beautiful landscapes, when you can have a magical display in your own yard.

Weeping Willows are recommended for growing zones 4–9, so they can handle the major snows and freezes up North. In the South they may only get a slight dusting of snow, but they will also survive in the extreme heat and humidity.

4. Hollies

Can you think about plants in the winter without picturing the iconic red berries that pop against dark, glossy prickly green leaves? Holly trees are so deeply rooted in our culture that their pointed leaves and berries can even be found on our holiday decorations.

Why not plant such a popular tree variety in your landscape? With your own thick evergreen at home to attract attention to its dark leaves, and vibrant red berries. Your landscape will be the hot topic of the neighborhood.

Plus, with your own supply of branches sporting bright red berries you can get crafty. Use the branches to make a wreath or stake a few inside to include in centerpieces or holiday décor. We will leave it up to you and Pinterest to come up with the most creative ideas.

During the winter we’re encouraged to share a little more than usual by giving to others, or at least thinking of them. A holly tree is a thoughtful way to consider tiny critters in the wintertime. The berries are a food source for birds and other small animals. The dense foliage also creates a nice and warm shelter for them. You can sit back with a warm beverage by your window and watch all of the songbirds flock to your holly.

5. Bonsais

If you have limited space and want to avoid going out in the cold but still have the urge to garden and care for plants, then consider caring for an indoor bonsai tree.

A few indoor bonsai options include the Golden Gate Ficus, Gardenia, Sago Palm, and the Dwarf Jade. These are miniature evergreen trees that will be the life of the party in any room that they’re placed in. Not only do bonsais capture attention with their green foliage, but some, like the gardenia bonsai, even flower.

These little container trees will thrive indoors, safe and warm with you while its cold outside. You can water them, trim their foliage, repot them, and more to satisfy your garden hobby needs.

However, don’t be worried about making a huge commitment to these indoor trees, because they are low maintenance and easy to care for. If you get a little caught up in the holiday season and forget to water your bonsai, it will forgive you!

Green Thumbs Don’t Hibernate

You don’t have to put your gardening hobby on pause just because winter is here. There are a variety of plants suited for growing indoors and out that will provide colorful displays all season.

Originally published at on December 23, 2015.