When trying to choose plants for their landscape, every homeowner in Minnesota faces the same major obstacle: winter! Between the sub-zero temperatures, the heavy snowfall and the gusty winds, a Minnesota winter can be very tough for most plants to weather. When you plant trees and shrubs in your yard and gardens, it’s important to make sure they’ll be able to survive the unforgiving winter weather.

To make the right planting choices for your landscape in Minnesota, start by determining your Plant Hardiness Zone. If you live in the Twin Cities metro or below, you’re probably in Zone 4b. St. Cloud and other cities in central Minnesota mostly fall into Zone 4a. As you get into northern Minnesota, cities including Duluth are part of Zone 3b. Some of the northernmost cities, like International Falls, are in Zone 3a. The lower the number, the colder the winter weather and the tougher a plant will need to be.

If you’ve been struggling to find a plant that not only survives but continues to bring great curb appeal to your landscape throughout the winter in Minnesota, here are some great planting choices to consider.

4 Great Winter Plants for MN Landscapes

  1. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) – Winterberry is a shrub that’s native to Minnesota, and hardy enough to survive in even the coldest corners of the state. Red on white is a favorite color scheme for many, and planting winterberries on your home landscape will allow you to capture this dazzling color blend when snow blankets the ground, contrasting splendidly against this shrub’s bright red berries. These red berries grow throughout winter and have the added benefit of being a food source for local birds and wildlife. Just be careful if you have young children or pets, as the enticing berries may be poisonous.
  2. Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) – The red osier dogwood is another Minnesota native that can bring a lively splash of red to your white winter landscape. Though it loses its foliage in the winter, the red osier dogwood’s namesake bark makes sure that it continues to be a stunner year-round. Red osier dogwoods can be planted in a variety of places to suit many landscaping purposes, whether you want to use them as a border plant on the edge of your property or as a centerpiece to your garden.
  3. Black Hills Spruce (Picea glauca) – A coniferous tree native to Minnesota, the Black Hills spruce is an evergreen, meaning that it retains its gorgeous blue-green needles all winter long. Not only does the Black Hill spruce look fantastic on a winter landscape, it also provides privacy and shelter from the wind as it grows. For these reasons, Black Hills spruces are popular choices for border plants. Be sure to space them out sufficiently, since these evergreens achieve a full height of 40′ and a maximum width of 15′.
  4. Techny Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) – If you want a hardy and low maintenance plant for your Minnesota landscape that looks great throughout winter, then you can’t go wrong with a Techny arborvitae. These evergreens are enduringly popular for their bright-green foliage which is soft to the touch, unlike the sharp needles of many evergreens. Techny arborvitae grow in a pyramidal shape to a full size of about 15′ tall and up to 10′ wide, and can be used effectively as privacy trees and windblocks on your home landscape.

Award-Winning Winter Landscape Design for Your Home

If you’re ready to redesign your landscape so that it will continue to “ooh” and “aah” your neighbors and guests throughout winter, we have a talented team of landscape designers and builders who would love to work with you. Contact Ground One today if you want to learn more about the landscape design + build services that we provide in the greater Twin Cities area!