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Top Plant Picks December 2022

Top Plant Picks December 2022

It’s winter and the grounds are changing! Cheekwood’s Horticulturist Sage McClain, shares her top plant picks for December.

Eryngium x zabelii ‘Big Blue’ (Sea Holly)

Bloom Time: June to November

Sun Requirement: Full Sun

Water Requirement: Low

Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, and moths

Tolerates: Dry and poor soils

Native to North America: No

Zones: 4 – 9

Other: This coarse, thistle-like hybrid produces showy blue flowers and bracts that can bloom from summer into the cooler season.

Location: Wills Perennial Garden

Agave ovatifolia (Whale’s Tongue Agave)

Bloom Time: Blooms once every 10~ years

Sun Requirement: Full Sun to Light Shade

Water Requirement: Low

Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and is deer resistant

Tolerates: Drought tolerant and virtually disease free

Native to North America: No

Zones: 7 – 11

Other: This evergreen succulent is cold tolerant and forms a rosette of thick powdery blue leaves.

Location: Wills Perennial Garden

Verbesina virginica (Frostweed)

Bloom Time: July to December

Sun Requirement: Part Shade to Full Shade

Water Requirement: Low

Wildlife: A good nectar source for butterflies!

Tolerates: Deer resistant

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 8 – 11

Other: This native wildflower is a good shade garden addition! During the winter, when the nights get cold enough to frost, the stems exude water that freezes into icy ribbons.

Location: Sculpture Trail

Hamamelis virginiana ‘Harvest Moon’ (Harvest Moon Witch Hazel)

Bloom Time: October to December

Sun Requirement: Full Sun to Full Shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Birds eat the fruit

Tolerates: Tolerates a range of shade conditions as well as poor soils

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 3 – 8

Other: This native shrub is a heavy and fragrant bloomer in the fall when many other species are done blooming.

Location: Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Camellia ‘Winter’s Star’ (Winter’s Star Camellia)

Bloom Time: October to December

Sun Requirement: Part Shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Attracts bees

Tolerates: Deer resistant

Native to North America: No

Zones: 7 – 9

Other: This evergreen shrub is valued for its glossy dark green foliage and showy pink autumn flowers. It is an excellent choice as a shrub border or as a specimen plant in a woodland garden.

Location: Japanese Garden

Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’ (Winterberry)

Bloom Time: June to July

Sun Requirement: Full Sun to Part Shade

Water Requirement: Medium to Wet

Wildlife: Berries attract birds

Tolerates: Tolerates erosion, clay soil, air pollution

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 3 – 9

Other: Winterberries produce attractive red berries that persist throughout the winter. This shrub adds so much interest to the winter landscape!

Location: Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (Japanese Maple)

Bloom Time: April

Sun Requirement: Full Sun to Part Shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: No significant value for wildlife

Tolerates: Rabbit resistant

Native to North America: No

Zones: 5 – 8

Other: This small, rounded deciduous tree features deep red to purple foliage and red samaras in late summer to early fall.

Location: Japanese Garden

Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Desert Flamenco’ (Redflower False Yucca )

Bloom Time: March to November

Sun Requirement: Full Sun

Water Requirement: Low

Wildlife: Flower spikes attract hummingbirds and night-pollinating moths

Tolerates:Heat and drought tolerant and pollution tolerant

Native to North America: Yes

Zones: 5

Other: A wonderful choice for rock gardens! This evergreen forms a basal rosette and the flower stalk rises five feet, bearing showy, coral-colored flowers.

Location: Wills Perennial Garden


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