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October 16, 2017
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Should I Leave My Perennials Up for the Winter?

Cleaning up a landscape for winter starts in the fall with removing all leaves and dead plant debris. But what about perennials? Some homeowners prefer taking out all plants and starting over fresh in the spring. Clear beds make for a clean-cut landscape. Others like to leave perennials and even some annuals up for the cold months. Winter is a bare time for plants, but not all loss of leaf results in unsightly stick figures. Plants like the ones we discuss below can keep your landscape looking beautiful till spring. They also create spaces for animals to live and hide during the cold.

Our Favorite Winter Perennials

  • Hellebore flowers mid to late winter.
  • Rugosa Rose produces bright red berries.
  • Pansies are the quintessential winter flower; planted in fall, their roots stay strong all winter, blooming during thaws.
  • Candytuft is a frost-hardy plant with dark green leaves that stay throughout winter.
  • Snow Drops are tiny delicate flowers that come up during the winter and have a whimsical and fairy like quality. They naturalize well in a landscape.
  • Brunnera keeps its interesting foliage at least late into the winter months, and often throughout the entire winter.

Other Plants of Interest

  • There are many notable early spring-late winter bloomers, like daffodils, trillium, and spiderwort.
  • The annual hydrangea is a common winter interest plant. Its dead blossoms have an antique-like beauty.
  • Most evergreen ground covers and grasses add color and interest during the cold months.

How to Care for Your Perennials During Winter

Perennials should only be dug out of the ground and stored if they are not hardy in Indiana. Note that the shallow dirt of pots is much more susceptible to freezing, so the flora in your planters will need to be transplanted into the ground before the frost. You will also want to clear the area around your perennials of plant debris before winter sets in. Rotting vegetation invites pests and disease. Annuals should be removed once they have finished thriving.


Eagleson Landscape Company provides landscape and hardscape services in the Greater Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Fishers and Geist.

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