Perennials to Grow if You Want to See Green in Winter

Late autumn and winter can seem to be a palette of gray if we don’t have any green perennials in our line of sight. Yes, there are perennials that stay green in winter and some are hardier than you think. Here are seven of our favorites—find some that will grow in your USDA Zone.

7 Perennials for a Greener Winter View


Cyclamen hederifolium (Zones 4-8)

1 & 2  Cyclamen hederifolium (above) and C. coum (Zones 4–8). Their leaves emerge in fall to form a low mat of two-tone green leaves. They bloom in late winter or early spring, then disappear for the summer.

3  Little brown jug (Asarum arifolium; Zones 5–9) puts forth silver-marked green leaves that can be six inches wide. It prefers damp shade.


The small white flowers of Cardamine diphylla bloom in late winter/early spring. Zones 4-8

4 Broadleaf toothwort (Cardamine diphylla (above); Zones 4–8) has three-lobed leaves in dark green with white veins. They are purplish underneath. This plant appears in fall and goes dormant in spring.

Evergreen Ferns


Marginal Shield Fern (Dryopteris marginalis, above) Zones 3-8

5, 6 & 7 Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides; Zones 4–9); marginal shield fern (Dryopteris marginalis (above); Zones 3–8); autumn fern (D. erythrosora; Zones 5–8); holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum; Zones 6–10); variegated shield fern (Arachniodes simplicior; Zones 6–9).

This excerpt originally appeared in Horticulture April 2011 issue. Back issues available at

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