Winter-Hardy Trees That You Can Plant in Your Yard

by Megan WildNovember 23, 2017

Many gardeners and homeowners shrink from winter just because they can no longer have the pleasures of a garden. No more daffodils, no more tomatoes, no more rustling of the branches of deciduous trees. Winter yards are grey, brown and cold, right?

Well, not necessarily! They might be cold, but some trees look beautiful in a yard during winter. You can have the same pleasures of looking outside at a muted palette, dotted by the vibrant green of trees and enjoying the architecture of tree branches as birds hop on them.

Many trees are hardy enough to withstand winter. Just make sure you check out the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map to make sure your tree of choice will do well in your particular zone.

Here are 10 winter-hardy tree suggestions:


Cedar trees are beautiful and aromatic. For the smell, just think cedar sachets. They spread a blanket of green on their boughs, and the trunks are an unusual reddish color. Cedar trees also have berries that provide a colorful contrast to gray skies and snowy lawns. Birds love cedar trees, so if part of your winter plan is looking for birds, cedars will draw them close.

Dwarf Juniper

Evergreens are always a smart choice because their vibrant green provides a natural counterpoint to winter. But not all evergreens need to be tall trees. Dwarf junipers are smaller, sentry-like plants that do well on a patio or framing a door. They can flourish in pots, which allows you to move them around to emphasize different areas, or you can plant them in the ground.


The graceful architecture of willow trees makes the trees of perennial interest whether they have leaves or not. Willows can play an ornamental role in the corner of your yard or serve as the focal point in the middle. They are an excellent choice for Asian-influenced gardens. Be sure not to plant flowers too near them, though. When willows bend, they can provide too much shade.

McCurtain Dwarf Palmetto

Have a hankering for palms even though you live in a cold climate? Or perhaps you want palms because your winters are not that cold? Either way, look no further than the McCurtain Dwarf Palmetto, which has been known to flourish in temperatures as low as 24 degrees below zero. Yes, we said below zero. Like other palmettos, it lends spiky leafed greenery to any garden.


Wintergreen lends subtle green hints to a garden. It’s an exceptionally hardy plant and will do well with relatively little care. Its minty taste and scent is a huge advantage, making your outdoor space into an experience that engages multiple senses. It’s perfect for edible gardens as well as regular ones.


There’s a good reason that holly is associated with winter holidays. The distinctive red berries of holly are in season during midwinter and provide a beautiful contrast to holly’s leaves, which are glossy and dark green. While the green is the same as evergreens, the glossiness is distinctive, as is the shape and point structure of the leaves. With a holly tree, you can provide your neighbors and friends holly to decorate their homes and yards.

European Cranberry Bush

This is one of the most variable trees in all seasons. Its dark-green leaves look something like maple leaves, but it also provides cranberries with which to feed birds in winter. The blossoms in spring are white, and its leaves become red in fall.

Bulgaria Windmill Palm

This is another palm tree that can withstand cold temperatures, even down to 17 degrees below zero. No need for a greenhouse, not to grow this palm! It has broad fan-like leaves, so if you are a fan of palms, it provides an appealing contrast to the spiky palmetto. It can also provide shade to a garden needing only partial shade.


Eucalyptus provides a pleasant and distinctive scent for your garden, as well as a lovely looking tree. Eucalyptus grow well in groves and clusters, so if you have a large yard, you can have a group of them. Some species also sport a peeling bark, which, along with the leaves, provides a striking visual.


Birch trees have a distinctive pale bark that looks beautiful in the winter, especially when combined with darker trees and shrubs. Try River Birch and Paper Birch species for contrasting bark patterns. They also provide radiant leaves when they turn color in the fall.

Don’t fear that winter will look bleak and dull from your windows, or from your vantage point in the garden. These 10 trees are wonderful additions to any garden that will be great in winter and all the other seasons as well.

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About The Author
Megan Wild
Megan Wild enjoys finding easy and low-stress ways to improve your home. In her downtime, she enjoys flipping flea market finds, hanging out with her dog, and writing on her home-themed blog, Your Wild Home. She's passionate about sustainability and environmentalism, and you can find her tweeting about both @Megan_Wild.