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6 Garden Trees With Ornamental Bark for Winter Interest

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

The Himalayan birch is just one of many trees whose bark provides gorgeous interest year-round (but especially in winter!).

The Himalayan birch is just one of many trees whose bark provides gorgeous interest year-round (but especially in winter!).

I want to tell you about some fantastic ornamental trees that add interest to your winter garden. These trees are all ones with beautiful bark and majestic trunks that add to our gardens all year round, but in winter—when many plants are dormant—that's when the mottled, golden, silver, copper or peeling bark of trees really shines.

Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)

Our first tree is the paperbark maple, or Acer griseum. It's a small deciduous tree with mottled bark. Its bark is smooth, shiny, orange-red and peels in tight curls. Hardy for zones 4 to 8.

Himalayan birch trees are an elegant addition to the garden.

Himalayan birch trees are an elegant addition to the garden.

2. Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii)

The Himalayan birch is a medium-sized, deciduous pyramidal-shaped tree with a graceful appearance. It bears shimmering white bark, which peels each year to reveal a fresh layer beneath. It produces insignificant flowers in spring and then catkins. Hardy for zones 5 to 7.

The multi-colored bark of the Greek strawberry tree is a delight!

The multi-colored bark of the Greek strawberry tree is a delight!

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3. Greek Strawberry Tree (Arbutus andrachne)

The Greek strawberry tree is an evergreen shrub or small tree with the smoothest bark. The bark is exfoliated during the summer, leaving a layer with a pistachio-green color, which changes gradually to a beautiful orange-brown. It produces white or yellowish-green flowers in spring and fruits in autumn. Hardy for zones 7 to 9.

The glossy red bark of the Tibetan cherry tree is especially striking in winter, when most other plants are dormant.

The glossy red bark of the Tibetan cherry tree is especially striking in winter, when most other plants are dormant.

4. Tibetan Cherry Tree (Prunus serrula)

The Tibetan cherry tree is a small deciduous tree with striking coppery-red, peeling bark. The bark is very high-gloss. Mature specimens may produce white flowers in spring and red berries in autumn. Hardy for zones 6 to 8.

In addition to its gorgeous bark, the Chilean Myrtle boasts waxy flowers in spring and purple berries in autumn.

In addition to its gorgeous bark, the Chilean Myrtle boasts waxy flowers in spring and purple berries in autumn.

5. Chilean Myrtle (Luma apiculata)

The Chilean Myrtle is a small evergreen tree or shrub. Its older branches have a mottled cinnamon-and-cream-colored bark. The leaves are small, and it produces many waxy flowers in spring and purple berries in autumn. Hardy for zones 9 to 11.

The orangebark tree is gorgeous all year round!

The orangebark tree is gorgeous all year round!

6. Orangebark Tree (Stewartia monadelpha)

The orangebark tree, a Stewartia, is a small and beautiful deciduous tree with peeling, rust-colored bark. In midsummer, it produces white, Camellia-like flowers, and it has good autumn color. Hardy for zones 6 to 8.

Happy Growing!

Trees are wonderful, low-maintenance plants that add so much to any garden, so choose one that's appropriate for your space and your climate. Happy growing!

© 2021 Rachel Darlington

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