9 Berries to Brighten Up Your Winter Garden

Climbing Pyracantha strutting its stuff from a high trellis.

In the winter, gardeners have to be creative to bring color and texture to an otherwise bleak landscape. One of the best ways to do this is by planting shrubs that produce winter berries. Not only will you get the bright berries themselves, but your shrubs will soon be decorated with a host of colorful, feasting birds.

There are many choices available for winter berries with colors ranging from white, blue, yellow, orange, and red. Read on to find out about the many colorful berry options available.

1. Beautyberry (Callicarpa sp.)

No garden is complete without the showstopping bright-purple berries of Beautyberry. The attractive, arching branches of this ornamental shrub provide berries that persist until well after the leaves have fallen. Highlight beautyberry by planting it as a specimen plant, or in front of evergreens or another solid backdrop.

Hardy to zone 5.

2. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster sp.)

Most varieties of Cotoneaster are small, spreading shrubs, with many prostrate varieties used as groundcovers as they tumble over walls and slopes. Both evergreen and deciduous varieties are available, with dark reddish-green leaves, pink spring flowers, and eye-catching small red berries in winter.

Hardy to zone 4.

3. Crabapple (Malus sp.)

From soft multicolored blossoms in spring, to a profusion of tiny fruits into fall and winter, to lovely bark and graceful branches year-round, Crabapples are great choices for a year around garden. Most varieties are small ornamental trees with an arching shape, but weeping forms are also available.

Varieties include some hardy to zone 5.


  1. Do not buy a Pyracantha. It grows like crazy and the THORNS!!! I just cut this out of my back yard and now I have piles of branches that I can’t move. I’m going to have to burn them in my back yard because the thorns will go through shoes/jeans/gloves and cause extreme pain almost like a bee sting.

  2. Pyracantha does have some humongous, tough thorns! As I was photographing pyracantha for this article, I was surprised to see my neighbor’s dog happily munching the berries, oblivious to the thorns – I still haven’t figured that one out.

  3. I have a large Nandina bush near my kitchen window. I like it, but my friend said it will grow into my sink plumbing. Is this a bad idea to keep the Nandina?


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