Outdoor plants present a challenge to northern Utah residents, thanks to our unique climate. Ideally, you want to select plant species that will provide an attractive addition to your landscape during all four seasons.
Our weather extremes, especially the frequently harsh winter conditions, can make it difficult to find plants that will survive.
Tackling Utah’s Winter Landscape Challenges
When cold weather sets in, temperatures plummet and harsh winds from the north exert a brutal force on delicate plant species. For those who want plants that survive for more than one growing season, proper plant selection is critical.
Equally important is landscape design and layout — these can increase your plants’ chances for survival. Providing windbreaks, such as large rocks, landscape walls and trees, will provide effective protection. Encouraging deep root growth with proper watering techniques will reduce the likelihood of freezing.
Finally, the right soil amendments introduced deep into the planting area provide the nutrients your garden needs to thrive, season after season.
Here a few of our favorite freeze-friendly ornamentals.
A popular favorite, especially this time of year, is the evergreen holly (ilex). Its shiny, green leaves and showy red berries will provide a unique bright spot all winter long, especially against a dramatic snowy backdrop. Holly is also drought-resistant, an important trait, considering our arid summer conditions.
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are perfect for livening up your landscape just when you think you can’t take another minute of winter. Their delicate stems and white, bell-shaped blooms will pop up through the snow to brighten your day. Plant snowdrops at the base of trees and other areas that may be bare from too much summer shade. Every few years, you can dig up the bulbs and divide them, spreading the little beauties even further around your garden.
The shiny, evergreen leaves of bergenias (Bergenia cordifolia) have a distinctive leathery quality. During the spring, they produce brightly colored clusters of flowers. With the onset of cooler weather, the bright green foliage takes on a dramatic red-bronze color that persists throughout the winter, turning again to green when warm breezes return.
This hardy species is an ideal groundcover or a delightful addition to your rock garden.
Millcreek Gardens, serving Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities, offers a breathtaking variety of ornamental flowers, shrubs and trees to enhance your landscape. Stop by and talk with our expert staff today. We can help you select the ideal perennial outdoor plants for your garden.