Although by this time of the year winter weather is upon us, there’s no reason why our gardens shouldn’t look cheerful. Here are ten plants that are sure to lift our spirits even on the darkest of dark days in November.

1. Nerine bowdenii (Guernsey lily) ‘Alba’

Nerines are bulbs which came originally from South Africa and, as a result, many are not fully hardy. But the great news is that bowdenii can be grown outside, ideally at the base of a warm, sunny wall.  ‘Alba’ starts to flower from early autumn and continues well into November, producing elegant, pure-white star-shaped flowers which also make great cut flowers. The bulbs will naturally build up over time, so if you want to divide clumps, this is best done during the spring months.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 45cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered

2. Acer palmatum (coral bark Japanese maple) ‘Sango-kaku’

This Japanese maple is a wonderful specimen tree for year-round interest.  It looks particularly beautiful at this time of the year when the bark and stems turn a gorgeous shade of coral red and stay this colour throughout the entire winter months.  Come spring, pink-tinged young shoots appear which turn a cheerful shade of lime green before finally turning to gold in the autumn months. Just ensure it’s placed in a sheltered position in free draining soil as it really dislikes waterlogged soil and wind.

  • Interesting foliage
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 3m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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3. Heuchera (coral bells) ‘Obsidian’

There are hundreds of different varieties of this easy to grow perennial with loads of different leaf colours to choose from. For example, this cultivar has deeply dark, almost black leaves, that grow in a neat dome shape. In fact, it makes a fantastic backdrop for white flowered snowdrops and looks best planted front of border or in containers.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 60cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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4. Camellia sasanqua (autumn flowering camellia) ‘Cleopatra’

Next is a ‘sasanqua’ camellia which produces their pretty flowers during the autumn and early winter months. Therefore, they are a great addition to the garden at this time of year. ‘Cleopatra’ starts to produce its pretty, yellow-eyed pink flowers in October and usually continues producing them into December. It can be grown as a specimen or plant several to create a dense hedge or screen. To get the best flowering make sure the plant gets watered well during dry spells and feed it mid-spring and again in June with a balanced liquid fertiliser.

  • Flowers October to December
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 3m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade, partial shade, or full sun
  • Sheltered
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5. Mahonia x media (Oregon grape) ‘Winter Sun’

It’s hard to resist a plant with such a cheerful name as ‘Winter Sun’. True to its name, it should produce cheerful bright yellow, scented flowers from this time of the year right the way through to spring. It’s a shade lover and its glossy leaves, combined with its bright colour flowers, make it the ideal choice for brightening up a dull shady area of the garden during the winter months. Give it plenty of sideways space because the leaves will spread once established. For extra interest, plant snowdrops and spring flowering bulbs around its base.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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6. Euonymus europeaus (spindle tree)

Then, there’s this UK native shrub that comes into its own at this time of year. The leaves turn glorious shades of red and the seed-heads develop a wonderful shade of pink with orange interiors. These brightly coloured seed-heads stay on the tree long after the leaves have dropped, therefore prolonging the season of interest. This is another shrub that looks great with spring flowering bulbs planted all around the base of its stem.

  • Flowers in spring, fruit in autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soill
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered or exposed
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7. Cestrum aurantiacum (night jasmine)

This is a beautiful, evergreen shrub that produces clusters of delicious night-scented orange, exotic looking flowers from the summer months all the way through to November. However, be careful because it is classified as a half hardy plant which means it will only take cold temperatures down to around minus 5C maximum. But, in colder areas it grows very well inside a conservatory where you may be lucky and have it in flower for all 12 months of the year.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in spring and summer
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows up to 2m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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8. Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) ‘Obsessed’

This compact, hardy shrub is another easy to grow evergreen that provides year-round interest. The feathery leaves become pinkish-red during the spring, turning a deep, dark green from summer until autumn when they become a stunning bright crimson. Pretty white flowers bloom during the summer months followed by small berries that turn a cheerful red during the autumn.  It can be grown in full sun or part shade but will get the best autumn leaf colouring if grown in full sunlight.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 60cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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9. Ilex aquifolium (holly) ‘Argentea Marginata’

Hollies are really easy to grow, whether it be in sun or shade. As long as you can give them a moist, well-drained soil. Another piece of good news is that they need minimal pruning. This variety has silver-cream edges and produces masses of bright red berries. Also, it’s very tolerant of pollution and salt, making it great for urban or coastal gardens.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 15m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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10. Euphorbia x martini (Martin’s spurge)

Last but not least is this easy to care for, evergreen plant that’s a great addition to the winter garden. This variety is no exception with its handsome, red marked, mid-green leaves. During the spring and summer months the plant produces tall flower spikes of red-eyed, green flowers and grows into a neat mound, making it perfect for the smaller garden or border. Cutting back the flowered shoots down to the base during the spring months will encourage production of new shoots but best to wear gloves as the sap can cause skin irritation.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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These are ten plants that are sure to put a smile on your face in autumn and into winter with their late flowers, interesting foliage and bright berries. With these top ten plants for November gardens, you’ll be set for the rest of the year.

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