Although the Lowcountry’s climate is warm enough to allow winter planting of deciduous trees/shrubs and evergreens–even some of the palm variety–, only a select group of cold-tolerant Lowcountry plants will really pop during winter doldrums. Let’s take a look a some of these wintertime wonders.
Pansies: It’s ironic that the name of these flowers implies weakness, as pansies, unlike most annuals, actually thrive in frigid weather. These hearty little plants produce brilliant colors months after most annuals die. If you’re looking for springlike brilliance that can stand up to frost, pansies are an obvious choice.
Camellias: Stately, iconic evergreen shrubs that produce winter (and spring) flowers so well-shaped that they’re often used in indoor flower arrangements. Excellent year-round vertical and horizontal yard coverage. A must for any Charleston yard.
Hollies: Nothing says “Season’s Greetings” like a holly. These evergreens produce an eye-catching red/green contrast that lasts most of the Lowcountry winter. Some hollies have been bred to produce variegated leaves, further adding to the infusion of winter color.
Sweet olives: Variegated evergreen shrubs that produce fragrant winter flowers that’ll leave you thinking of spring. Like camellias, sweet olives provide excellent year-round horizontal and vertical coverage.
Seth Mason, Charleston SC