5 of the best plants with winter berries

The best plants with winter berries add jewel-bright flashes of colour that will make your garden glow

(Image credit: Alamy)

Bring colour into your garden with our pick of the best plants with winter berries. As the days get shorter a show of lustrous berries will add standout factor. Plant them near your front door for a welcoming pop of colour when you come home or choose a spot in the back garden where you can see them from the house. 

Go for traditional red or, if you prefer a cooler colour palette, opt for creamy whites or vibrant pinks for a very modern touch. All you need is a light dusting of frost and things will start to look really magical! 

Read on for our pick of the five best plants to get this look. And for more seasonal planting, take a look at the bare root plants you should be planting right now.

1. Gaultheria

Gaultheria mucronata (Image credit: Alamy)

Best known for its eye-catching and long-lasting glossy berries, this evergreen bush adds a real pop of colour to the winter garden. For a shot of candied pink, you can’t beat it, and you can also get varieties with red and white berries. 

It works well in a welcoming container outside the front door, and the berries will really pop against a backdrop of evergreens. If you’re planting one in a pot remember to use an ericaceous compost as gaultheria is a member of the lime-hating heather family. 

2. Viburnum

Viburnum berries (Image credit: Future)

Viburnum is the shrub that keeps on giving whatever the month, its showy pink or white blossoms, luscious foliage and clusters of glossy berries giving your garden an elegant touch whatever the season. 

The stunning metallic blue-purple berries ripen in autumn and last right through winter adding interest to the garden. Birds love viburnum too because it provides everything from a canopy for nest building to an abundance of glossy berries for them to feast on. 

3. Holly

Ilex aquifolium (holly) (Image credit: Future)

Tolerant of both sun and shade, hollies are a great addition to the garden at any time of year but especially now. Their glossy green foliage and eye-catching red berries are perfect for making wreaths and other decorations at Christmas. 

As well as bigger trees in the garden, they come as smaller versions you can plant in a pot and clip into an attractive lollipop shape. They look smart if you choose a pair of them to brighten up a doorway in winter. Feel free to add fairy lights!

4. Variegated Japanese laurel

Variegated Japanese laurel berries (Image credit: Alamy)

With clusters of glossy bright red berries set in attractive speckled foliage, this pretty plant will thrive anywhere in the garden including shady areas and is easy to look after too. 

It really comes into its own in winter, when the leaves give off a light enhancing effect and the berries add a splash of brilliant scarlet that lifts even the gloomiest of days. There's just a bit of science to remember though. To get lush berries like these you will need a male variety of the shrub planted nearby too. 

5. Mistletoe

Mistletoe berries (Image credit: Alamy)

The luminous white berries of mistletoe plants are a magical addition to the garden in winter. It’s an evergreen that grows on a host tree such as apple, hawthorn, poplar, lime or conifer. 

With mystical powers thought to date back to the Druids, it’s supposed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It’s easy enough to grow with a kit but you need to be patient as it will take a few years to get established. Or you can trying growing it from seed taken from your feelgood festive bunch this year.

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