Plants that survive the wintertime include perennials, bulbs and evergreens. Most of these types of plants can withstand even harsh winter climates; however, it depends on the plant's hardiness, or its winter survival ability. Wintertime survival plants generally require little care. Bulbs and perennials typically bloom in the springtime while evergreens keep their green foliage all year round.
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Perennials are plants with rootstock hardy enough to survive the winter. They are classified based on their hardiness, which does not include the plant's ability to withstand intense heat or drought. Classifications include "hardy," "half-hardy" and "tender." Tender and half-hardy perennials can survive mild winters but generally need protection to make it through a harsh winter. Hardy perennials usually survive winter with little to no protection. Colder areas of the country often require perennials to be protected by mulch, which keeps plants dormant. Apply mulch to perennials only if a few frosts have occurred that decrease soil temperature. Using mulch on perennials too early can keep soil too warm, therefore causing the perennial to grow during winter months and risk injury from the elements. Black-eyed susans, peonies and yarrow are all considered hardy perennials.
Flower bulbs belong to two groups, spring-flowering and summer-flowering bulbs. Like perennials bulbs, they are classified as "hardy" "semi-hardy" and "tender." Spring-flowering bulbs are those that survive the wintertime and include daffodils, crocuses, hyacinth and tulips. They are planted in the fall in most areas of the country except those that are exceedingly warm. These types of perennials actually require a cold weather period to bloom healthfully in the spring. Many daffodils are repellent to rodents and deer and can grow in a wide range of climates. They require little care after planting. Tulips adapt to many climate types but require planting in well-drained soil so they do not rot before their root systems can take hold. Crocuses bloom early in the spring while hyacinths will bloom after many other spring bulbs. Large hyacinth bulbs can become top-heavy and might flop over. Crocuses require very little care and come back in larger numbers each spring.
"Evergreen" refers to trees that keep the majority of their foliage (needles) throughout the winter. Common evergreen types include spruce, pine, juniper, fir and larch. While evergreens do go through a dormant period in winter most of their needles will keep and remain green. Evergreens have different water preferences while most require full sun. All evergreens need a lot of water to take root after planting which varies depending on site and soil conditions as well as climate. Mulch is beneficial to all species of evergreens. When climate is dry, warm or windy during the months of November through March, many evergreens require watering.
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