Swiss Chard 'Bright Lights'

Q: What can I plant now that will grow throughout the winter?

A: Due to the warmer climate in the Houston area, many plants often seen in summer gardens in the northern U.S. or Europe grow well in our region during the fall and winter. These plants are typically annuals that will grow, flower and set seed during our mild winter season. Add bright blues to your garden with delphiniums, larkspur, lobelia, petunias and violas. For pink and red blooms, plant dianthus, flowering tobacco, geraniums and petunias. Alyssum, dianthus and petunias offer a sprinkle of lacy white. And, as long as no freeze is imminent, calendula and marigolds provide a sunshiny yellow to Houston’s winter garden.

Edible greenery, like Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights,’ cabbage, kale and mustard, will add fullness to the landscape with their abundant foliage and colorful stems. Winter is also the perfect time to grow lettuce, parsley, chives and dill to add texture. If the weather cooperates by staying cool, try vining snow peas to nibble!

For spring blooms, plant Texas bluebonnet seeds in November and add orange California poppies for a complementary color.

Remember, if the forecast calls for an extreme blast of chilly air, you will want to cover the plants with freeze protection cloths.

Don’t let fear of the cold deter you from getting out in the garden. Winter in Houston is such a nice time of year to enjoy being outside – especially with plenty of options to keep your flower beds colorful and interesting!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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