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Top Plant Picks December 2021

Top Plant Picks December 2021

There are still plenty of beautiful plants that stand out during winter! Cheekwood’s Plant Collections Manager, Shanna Jones, shares her top plant picks for December.

Persian Parrotia (Parrotia persica)

Bloom Time: April – May

Sun Requirement: Part shade – full sun

Water Requirement: Medium

Tolerates: Clay soil

Native to North America: No

Zones: 6 – 9

Other: Beautiful bark. Excellent street tree. Flowers are attractive, though very small. Yellow, orange, and scarlet fall color. Prefers slightly acidic soil which will also increase the fall color value. Wind pollinated. Hamamelidaceae family.

Location: Carell Dogwood Garden & Martin Boxwood Gardens

Creeping Raspberry (Rubus hayata-koidzumii)

Bloom Time: July

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Dry – medium

Wildlife: Birds will eat the fruit.

Tolerates: Acidic soils & drought

Native to North America: No

Zones: 7 – 9

Other: Evergreen. Incredibly attractive fall color. Beautiful ground cover!

Location: Wills Perennial Garden

Coral Bark Willow (Salix alba subsp. vitellina ‘Britzensis’)

Bloom Time: April – May

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium – wet

Wildlife: Butterflies

Tolerates: Deer, wet conditions

Native to North America: No

Zones: 4 – 8

Other: Vibrant red stem color provides winter interest. Thrives in wet conditions. Excellent screen selection.

Location: Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Bobozam’ MR. BOWLING BALL)

Bloom Time: Non-flowering

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Tolerates: Clay soil

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 3 – 7

Other: “Arborvitae” translates to “tree of life”. ‘Bobozam’ is a globular, dwarf variety that rarely requires pruning. Maximum size is 3ft. x 3 ft. Gray-green and needle-like, though soft. Also known as ‘Linesville’. Prefers limestone soils.

Location: Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Alabama Croton (Croton alabamensis)

Bloom Time: March – April

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Tolerates: Drought

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 6 – 8

Other: This is a RARE plant that is currently on the global vulnerable list. Terrifically unique foliage with excellent fall and winter color. Semi-evergreen to evergreen.

Location: Howe Garden & the Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail

Weeping Alaskan Cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’)

Bloom Time: April

Sun Requirement: Full sun

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Provides cover for birds, small mammals

Tolerates: Strong winds, alkaline soil, and shade

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 4 – 7

Other: Sometimes known as Cupressus (or Xanthocyparis) nootkatensis. Drought tolerant once established. Outstanding specimen tree. Male cones and female flowers exist on same tree.

Location: Martin Boxwood Gardens

Possumhaw (Ilex decidua ‘Warren’s Red’)

Bloom Time: May

Sun Requirement: Full sun

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Birds, deer, possums & other small mammals eat the fruit.

Tolerates: Clay soil & low pH

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 5 – 9

Other: A deciduous holly, the berries provide exceptional winter interest. Excellent component for rain gardens.

Location: Turner Seasons Garden

Bearberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Coral Beauty’)

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Butterflies

Tolerates: Drought & Deer

Native to North America: No

Zones: 5 – 8

Other: Tough Plant! Excellent evergreen, woody groundcover used for erosion control.

Location: Blevins Japanese Garden


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