Although by November most herbaceous perennials and annual plants have finished flowering for the year, there are still a lot more plants full of life and colour that can bring the garden alive. With coloured stems and flowers, there is a huge range of plants that can be admired from the warmth of your home. Or choose highly scented plants that you can enjoy when you step into your garden. Here are my top ten plants for November…

1. Cornus sanguinea (dogwood) ‘Winter Flame’

There are several different cultivars of dogwood, many with different colour stems, which light up the garden during the dull, cold winter months.  ‘Winter Flame’ is one of the most striking, with leaves that turn fantastic fiery shades of red in the autumn. The spectacular red, orange and yellow colour stems are revealed once the leaves have fallen.

Another bonus is that these shrubs are not fussy about the type of soil they grow in or whether they’re growing in full sun or part shade. They produce tiny white flowers in the summer, followed by glossy black berries, making them great shrubs for extending the seasons of interest in the garden.

  • Flowers in summer and colourful stems all year round
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained, well-drained or poorly drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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2. Camellia sasanqua (camellia) ‘Mine-no-yuki’

Most people associate camellia with spring flowering varieties, but sasanquas start to flower in late autumn/early winter. This pretty, evergreen cultivar has scented, white semi-double flowers with bright yellow centres produced on arching stems. Like its spring flowering cousins, this shrub grows best in acidic soil but will also grow well if planted in a neutral soil.

  • Flowers in autumn to winter
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows to 2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full shade, full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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3. Anemanthele lessoniana (pheasant’s tail grass)

This evergreen grass has slender mid-green leaves that turn a glorious shade of bronze-orange from autumn and throughout the winter months. It’s easy to look after which makes it a great choice for the winter garden.  Just keep an eye out though as it will self-seed, but these are easy to remove if spotted when young.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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4. Symphuotrichum novae-angliae (New England asters) ‘Violetta’

Still commonly listed as ‘Asters’ in the trade, this group of plants are a great addition to the autumn/winter garden. Not only do they produce colourful clusters of flowers at the top of stiff stems that don’t need staking, they also don’t tend to suffer from mildew unlike the novi-belgii group of asters. This medium height cultivar produces eye-catching deep rich purple flowers with a bright yellow centre for several months.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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5. Mahonia x media (Oregon grape) ‘Winter Sun’

These hardy, evergreen plants have great architectural presence in the garden with the added bonus of producing sweet smelling stems of soft yellow flowers during the winter months. These flowers last well in flower arrangements filling the room with their scent. Their prickly leaves make them very suitable as intruder deterrent hedging, whilst looking stunning when in full flower. They will grow in most soils and aspects and are happiest planted in a partly shaded site.

  • 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. Skimmia japonica (skimmia) ‘Rubella’

This is a fantastic evergreen shrub for giving winter colour as its handsome red buds start to appear now, continuing right the way through until spring when the buds turn into flowers that pollinators appreciate. It’s a great plant for the middle of a border or growing in containers in ericaceous compost.

  • Flowers spring with red buds in autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained, slightly acidic soil
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
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7. Erica x darleyensis f. albiflora (winter flowering heather) ‘White Perfection’

Heathers are perfect for providing long lasting winter colour and, contrary to popular belief, there are some types that are happy growing in alkaline rather than acidic soil and Darleyensis cultivars fall into that category. Grow them en masse in the flower border for maximum effect, especially at the edge of a border. They are very easy to look after if watered regularly during dry spells and just give them a light trim after flowering using hand shears or secateurs.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in autumn and winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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8. Ilex aquifolium (silver-margined holly) ‘Argentea Marginata’

A slow growing medium size evergreen tree which will add interest to the garden no matter what time of the year. It looks particularly good during the winter months when there is less in flower. The leaves are spiny, with striking cream edges which have a pinkish tinge when young and the added bonus of bright red berries as it matures.

  • Evergreen foliage, flowers in spring and berries in autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Can grow higher than 12m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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9. Cyclamen hederifolium (cyclamen) [Silver-leaved Group]

Next are these pretty low-growing plants that are perfect for the late autumn/winter garden, displaying pretty silver markings on the leaves which start to appear in the spring. Then in summer and autumn, pretty pastel flowers bloom. The beauty of these low growing perennials is that they will thrive in the poorest of soils as long as they are given shade, which makes them the perfect choice for growing at the base of and around deciduous trees. Plant at a depth of around 2.5cm as they may not flower well if planted too deeply in the soil.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 10cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
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10. Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ’Freckles’

This is an evergreen clematis that will flower from November right the way through to February. The cheerful red-purple and white speckled flowers adding burst of cheerful colour during the depths of winter. Also, it doesn’t need pruning and will grow well planted in containers.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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So, bring some colour to your autumn garden with this selection of foliage and flowers that add some magic at this time of year. Choosing from these plants will have your garden looking glorious and bright this November.

Find out more about adding texture to your garden:

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