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Plants and Flowers That Can Withstand Canadian Winters

  • close up photo of Douglas Fir while snowing

Landscaping Design Tips to Keep Your Garden Lush with These Gorgeous Plants that Survive Winter Weather

Whether you’ve recently upgraded the landscaping around your home or are planning to make a change come spring, if you’re a Canadian resident, consider adding gorgeous plants and flowers to your landscape design that survive (and thrive) throughout harsh Canadian winters.

With these winter landscaping plant tips from your local Ottawa landscaping professionals, your garden can survive and be beautiful year-round, even in the coldest weather.

How Winter Weather Affects Plants

Cold weather slows down plant growth. In winter, the lack of sunlight prevents green plants from photosynthesizing and creating food and the below-freezing temperatures stop water circulation in the plant’s sap. While some plants can survive winter, others will die.

How Do Some Plants Survive the Winter?

Cold-resistant perennials and other plants survive the winter in a resting stage underground. They store nutrients in storage organs, such as bulbs, tap roots, and tubers, throughout the spring and summer. During this time they rely on their storage organs to survive while resting underground.

Other plants, such as trees and shrubs, are hardy enough to survive the winter above ground.

What Flowers Survive (And Grow) In the Fall and Winter Seasons?

Here are some of the best flowers that will either grow or survive underground in fall and winter.

Red Twig Dogwood

Notable for their brilliant red hue, red twig dogwoods bring a beautiful pop of color to any winter garden, especially as hedges when planted in groups. However, be sure to give them plenty of room and prune them annually. Annual pruning typically consists of removing the stems that have lost their color as well as those that are damaged or not growing properly. This process helps maintain the vibrant color of the plant by encouraging new stems.


Sporting breathtaking blossoms in various pink hues, camellias are another excellent source of color against dark green, wintry foliage. These relatively carefree plants are happiest in partial shade, where they can be sheltered from early morning and afternoon sun. They also require protection from cold winter winds and should be watered frequently, keeping them consistently moist.


This winter herb comes in about 30 different species and can sometimes be used in teas to alleviate respiratory-tract infections. Aim to plant your hyssop in a sunny area with fertile, well-drained soil. To encourage the plant’s expansion, you may want to prune it in early spring.


Coneflowers are beautiful, fast-growing plants that quickly add a variety of colors to your garden. Though not particularly picky about soil, they prefer either full sun or light shade. When planting multiple coneflowers, space them out anywhere from 1 to 3 feet apart. Overall, they are rather low maintenance, only requiring supplemental water when the season is very dry.


A deceptively hardy plant despite its delicate appearance, lily of the valley will grow quite well in nearly any area that has at least some shade. Since these flowers are quite low maintenance, you may only need to water them occasionally when dry spells occur.

Siberian Iris

Not a particularly picky flower, the Siberian iris will grow in both wet and dry soils, though it prefers consistent moisture. When growing them in a colder climate, aim to plant them in full sun and water lightly, but regularly.

‘Purrsian Blue’ Catmint

Flowering from early summer to fall, this durable little flower makes a great addition to any garden, especially when lining paths. It prefers anywhere from full sun to partial shade and, though not required, can be encouraged to fit into a more compact area via pruning.


Looking to add a sweet scent to your winter garden as well? You may want to consider planting cyclamen, a lovely flower that blooms from fall to late spring. Place cyclamen away from drafts in an area with filtered light and cool temperatures. Water the plant thoroughly while it grows, but try to avoid getting its center wet.

Read More: How To Make Your Garden Look Nice In Winter

What Plants Survive (And Grow) In the Fall and Winter Seasons?

Check out these hardy yet beautiful winter plants to find your newest outdoor eye candy.


This plant’s vibrant red berries make a striking contrast against both snowy landscapes and dark green foliage, making it a great addition to any winter garden. Ideally, winterberries prefer wet areas with full sun to partial shade. They may require up to an inch of water per week, so only plant them in dry conditions if you can water them consistently.


If you have an interest in wildlife, you may want to plant snowberries this winter, as these small white berries often attract various types of birds. To obtain the best results, place your snowberry shrub in full sunlight and water it consistently until it has established itself.


Another excellent shrub for any wildlife garden is firethorn. Not only are its red, orange, and yellow berries the perfect complement to fall and winter landscapes, but they also attract birds. To grow a healthy and prolific firethorn shrub, be sure to plant it in full sunlight.

Japanese Yew

Japanese Yew Plant Image

If berries aren’t your style, you might want to try planting a Japanese yew. These evergreens grow lovely red fruits that contrast neatly with their green needles. This durable tree does well in moist areas with either shade or sunlight. With proper care, a Japanese yew can grow up to 50 feet, though their patience with pruning makes them an excellent hedge option as well.

Boxwood Hedge

Boxwood hedges are great for lining your garden and preserving privacy while maintaining a fresh green look all throughout winter. Though they can thrive in a range of full sunlight to partial shade, it may be best to plant them under the shelter of trees where their roots have protection from the heat. Weekly watering is required for the first two years after planting.

English Boxwood

The English boxwood, in particular, is a slow-growing plant known for its high pruning tolerance that allows it to be utilized in decadent garden displays. Like other types of boxwood, try to plant your English boxwood in an area sheltered from wind and water it deeply.

Siberian Cypress

Any tree hardy enough to survive the frigid air of Siberia can also thrive during Ottawa’s harshest winters. Unlike most conifers, Siberian cypress does not require full sun to grow. In fact, it tends to prefer partially shaded areas with damp but well-drained soil.


Hosta Image

Unlike most plants, hostas are remarkable for their ability to grow in shade. They even prefer it! Plant your hostas in an area that receives dappled sunlight to bring a simple yet alluring yellowish-green to your garden. Make sure the soil is well-drained and avoid overwatering.


Known for being cold-resistant, perennials endure harsh winters by resting until spring. The following are some of the loveliest perennials that can survive even the most frigid Ottawa winters.


This hardy succulent manages to look stunning all year long, with its thick leaves followed up by the blooming of small, star-shaped flowers. As straightforward as it is beautiful, sedum is quite low maintenance and should grow happily in full sun, requiring only a minimal amount of pruning to enhance its shape.


A frigid Ottawa winter certainly won’t get peonies down. In fact, it should help them bloom even brighter come springtime! Plant your peonies in the fall and make sure they receive at least 6 hours of sun each day as well as deep, consistent watering.


Also known as Bee Balm, monarda attracts tons of pollinators with its rich nectar, including butterflies and hummingbirds. It is best grown in either full sunlight or partial shade. Try to keep the soil moist without allowing too much wetness or dryness.

Wild Columbine

Perennials Wild Columbine Plant Image

Wild columbine should be a delight for wildlife enthusiasts as well as gardeners for its ability to attract hummingbirds. This enchanting variety of flower typically does well in partial shade, though it can also thrive in full sunlight in colder climates. Make sure young plants have moist soil and reduce watering to weekly once they have become established.

Vegetables That You Can Grow Through the Winter

Winter Vegetables Image

Save money and enjoy the bounty of your own vegetable garden with these veggies that can grow through winter:

  • Broccoli
  • Ornamental Cabbage & Kale
  • Collards
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Although Ottawa gets unbearably cold in winter, you can still have a beautiful garden year-round with the right plants and flowers. Talk to your local Ottawa landscaping experts to design a lush, vibrant garden that will survive and even thrive in the cold fall and winter months. Get in touch today!

By | 2022-10-14T09:59:13-05:00 October 13th, 2022|Landscapes|