Winter stems & bark

Winter stems & bark

Many plants show off their coloured stems and bark at this time of year.

For maximum impact, plant the shrubs in groups and the trees where their bark can be seen and appreciated: against a contrasting background: pale bark shows up well against a dark background for example and vice versa.

Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) are best pruned each year, almost to ground level in Spring, to ensure good crop of the bright coloured stems for winter. You can also cut Eucalyptus down each year or two for the same effect and to keep the foliage juvenile.

Trees with attractive bark

  • Acer davidii (snakebark maple) green-and-white striped bark. Height 5-8m
  • Acer griseum (paper bark maple) peeling red-brown bark. Height 5-10m
  • Eucalyptus paucifolia subsp. niphophila (snow gum) bark whitish gray and pale brown with greenish patches. Height 6m, less if pruned back
  • Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’ rusty orange stems. Ht 2m or more.
  • Salix ‘Erythroflexuosa’ (S. matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) golden, twisted stems (tolerates drier soil). Ht 2–3m

Shrubs with coloured stems

  • Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ – a mix of yellow and salmon-orange. Ht 1-1.5m
  • C. alba 'Kesselringii' – reddish purple stems. Ht: 1.2–1.5m