The stark-white or dull landscape of winter is not an enjoyable view when you look out the window. The often overcast sky and lack of living color during the winter set the stage for an affliction known as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, that causes people to feel depressed and lethargic.
By brightening the winter landscape with colorful berry plants, you can change a dull winter landscape into one that has color and wildlife, and prevent the onset of SAD by providing your family enjoyable natural view. Consider planting some of these seven easy-to-grow berry plants that will brighten your winter landscape, your mood and keep the birds fed.
Consider planting some of these seven easy-to-grow berry plants that will brighten your winter landscape, your mood and keep the birds fed.
Firethorn (Pyracantha) is an evergreen berry plant that derives its name from the thousands of blazing red berries (some species produce golden yellow berries) it produces and the needle-like thorns which protect the berries.
Firethorn is a rapid grower and will reach a mature height and width of 10 feet or more in just a few growing seasons. Firethorn loves to be pruned and can easily be kept at the desired height and/or shape. This winter berry bush can easily be pruned and trained to grow in a hedge row or espaliered against a wall. Plant firethorn in a full sun location in well-draining soil. Birds flock to the wintertime berry feast.
The beautyberry (Callicarpa) plant is ordinary looking for half of the year and extraordinarily beautiful for the other half of the year. Spring brings new leaves and plant growth, which continues throughout the summer.
Then when fall arrives the plant puts on a dazzling color show. Beautyberry is a deciduous berry plant that produces massive amounts of purple, lilac, and mauve colored berries that encircle the plant stems from top to bottom.
The colorful berries will last well into the winter and attract several species of birds. Beautyberry comes in several varieties and sizes that range from compact shrubs to bushes that can reach a mature height of five feet.
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.) is a versatile plant that comes in ground-covering species, 10 feet tall upright species and every height in-between. Both deciduous and evergreen species that produce bright red berries in the winter, there’s a cotoneaster that is perfect for every winter landscape. Hardy in USDA growing zones 5-8, cotoneaster will grow in full sun or partial shade as long as the soil is fertile.
Flowering crabapple (Malus) will produce showy, fragrant spring flowers followed by small bright red crabapples that are non-edible. The crabapples remain attached to the tree branches throughout the summer and gradually whither as summer turns to fall.
The red, withered berries are fully exposed after the crabapple drops its leaves in the fall, brightening the landscape and attracting hungry birds. Plant flowering crabapple in full sun and well-draining soil. The ornamental tree will reach a mature height of between 15-25 feet.
Holly shrubs (Ilex spp.) are evergreens that have shiny green leaves and brilliant red berries in the winter. Frequently used in Christmas decoration, the leaves and berries from the holly plant will brighten both the outdoor landscape and indoor decor.
Holly is a slow-growing shrub that grows best in a sunny location and well-draining soil. Prune holly if desired, or allow it to reach a mature height of 10 feet. The bright red holly berries attract several species of birds.
The sapphireberry (Symplocos Paniculata) plant produces berries that are the most unusual of all winter berry plants. The deep blue-purple color that stands out in stark contrast to a white, snow-covered landscape and adds the much need pop of color to a dull, dormant winter landscape.
Sapphireberry is a large growing shrub that requires cross-pollination to produce jewel-toned berries in the late fall. Plant at least two sapphireberry plants in a sunny location in well-draining soil for a colorful fall and winter display.
Winterberry (Ilex Verticillata) is a large showy bush that will reach a mature height of 10 feet. The bush can be pruned to keep it at the desired height. Winterberry produces small green leaves during the spring and summer that turn a brilliant yellow in the fall.
When the brilliant yellow fall foliage drops, the bright red winter berries are revealed. The shiny red berries will last all winter or until the birds devour all of them. Cross pollination is needed for the winterberry to produce berries.
A male and female shrub must be planted in close proximity to one another for the female winterberry to produce berries. Winterberry plants prefer a location in partial shade and thrive when planted near the edge of a pond, lake or other natural water source.