Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
The first freeze is behind us. Leaves are falling and plants are going to sleep for the winter. A big change from this time last week. The birds are flying in and out of my plants as they lose their leaves and flowers. Just a reminder not to cut back too soon. The birds and other wildlife use these plants as shelter from the winter temperatures.
The color is gone from my beds, and in my search for a winter replacement I ran across some hopeful prospects. Following is a list of flowers that will grow in our zone (we are either zone 7b or 8a depending on which chart you are looking at).
Ornamental Kale and Cabbage. These plants come in shares of rose, cream and purple and the color seems to get brighter as the temperature grows cold. Now is the time to plant these.
Leucojum, also known as spring snowflake. This is a bulb that blooms white and is a great asset to beds because the flower hangs like a looks and hangs like a bell. The bulb begins to show itself while it is still cold outside.
English Primrose. This is zoned from 2 to 8 so we are the edge of using this plant. Unlike other primroses, English primrose will start showing its flowers of blue, white, pink, yellow, orange and red during winter. Plant in shade for much needed color.
Viola. You will know these flowers when you see them because they look like a tiny face. They do fine in a light frost or a warmer microclimate in your yard. They are listed as an annual but do drop seeds that may come up in the spring.
Camelia. This is actually a shrub which has fragrant flowers that look like roses. Since they smell so good it is a great addition to a walkway. They bloom during the holidays and early spring.
Winterberry. This one is also a shrub but this one is deciduous (meaning it losses its leaves) but the bright red berries make up for it. You’ll need a male plant nearby to get the berries. Talk to local nurserymen to get the right plant for you.
Winter Jasmine. A shrub that has long arching branches loaded with yellow flowers in late winter. My parents had this plant on the north side of their house in Midland when I was growing up. The last time I drove by I noticed that the plant is still alive and well, so it is at least fifty-five years old.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.