hearty plants and trees for maine winters

Hearty Plants and Trees for Maine Winters

On the surface, hearty plants and trees for Maine winters may seem like it would be an awfully short list. Fortunately for us Mainer’s, many options exist to create a beautiful landscape all year round. 

So what hearty plants and trees are built to survive Maine’s frigid winters? Let’s dive in.

hearty plants and trees for maine winters

Two Important Differences

When considering what type of greenscape you want to build your landscape with, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these two terms: deciduous and evergreen.

Deciduous refers to shrubs or trees that lose their leaves every year. Evergreen refers to plants and trees that retain their leaves all year round.

There are many types of deciduous shrubs and trees and evergreen shrubs and trees. However, let’s focus on the ones you’ll be planting in Maine.

Understand the USDA Zone Hardiness

Maine plant hardiness zones

Maine plant hardiness zones (via planthardiness.ars.usda.gov)

Consulting the USDA Zone Hardiness chart based on your zip code is a great start. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences notes what USDA zone hardiness is and how to use it:

The USDA zone hardiness of a plant is based on the plant in the ground. Roots of above-ground container plants can be the same temperature as the winter air. To be safe, go two zones colder with containerized plants, use larger pots (more insulation) and provide some protection.

While we’re on the subject of plant hardiness, it’s worth noting that climate change could soon (if not already) alter the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. For more information on this, check out this article on gardeners keeping pace of climate change.


Sometimes it seems like nothing can survive Maine winters, but various plants are up to the challenge. Here are a few to consider:

Catmint: Catmint is a hearty plant that can provide a pleasant fragrance in the winter months. It is also resistant to animals such as deer or mice. However, it can attract cats.

Lily of the Valley: These plants don’t require as much sunlight as others and are resistant to animal life because they are poisonous.

Witch Hazel: Witch hazel produces gorgeous orange flowers and is another hearty plant.

Potted plants are an excellent way to enhance your landscape, whether in warm or cold weather. Consider setting up potted plants to beautify your landscape.


Shrubs can serve several purposes. First, the beauty of shrubbery can be used to complement your landscape’s other features. Second, there is the utility of shrubbery. Some shrubs provide flowers, and others provide fruit.


Trees, like any greenscape component, are about form and function. Trees can add beauty to your landscape and provide utilities like shade and even slowing down the impact of wind. The good news is that you can choose from deciduous trees and evergreen trees without sticking to one type.

Deciduous Trees: Since these trees lose their leaves in the fall, they provide different functions depending on the season. For example, deciduous trees will provide shade in warmer weather as leaves grow on them, while they will provide more sunlight to pass through during the winter once their leaves have fallen. For some people, the beauty of the changing leaves is a bonus.

Evergreen Trees: These trees hold their leaves year-round. These include spruce, fir, and pine trees. Contrary to popular belief, not all trees with pine needles are evergreens. These trees are helpful in the winter because they can serve as windbreaks. They also provide the same look all year round. In winter, they offer a classic look as snow covers them.

General Guidelines to Consider

Like any greenscape, you’ll want to be mindful of the factors that can help growth and those that hinder it. For example, you’ll want greenery that is best suited for Maine’s weather, which means as much as you might like the beauty of the rainforest, you won’t be recreating it in Maine.

All kidding aside, you want to ensure your greenery matches your environment. For example, you’ll want to check your soil’s acidity before putting plants in that are unsuitable for the soil. Another example is making sure you plant flowers, shrubs, and trees where they get an adequate amount of sunlight.

Aesthetics are important, too, as you want the various elements of your landscape and hardscape to complement each other.


When building your landscape, don’t forget about hardscaping!

The right hardscaping can add a beautiful touch. Consider winter hardscaping ideas such as walkways, stone retaining walls, trellises, and benches to name a few.

Is Winter Time Game Over for Landscaping?

Does approaching winter weather mean it’s too late to add to your landscape? Well, if you read this far, you know that the answer is no! As we’ve seen, there are many greenscaping options available. Some can’t be set up during the cold weather, but as previously mentioned, there are options such as installing potted plants outdoors.

There are also some hardscaping options you might need to be aware of. That’s another area where Davis Landscape can help. Our team of experts can let you know what all your options are.

Winter Maintenance

Don’t forget to take steps to maintain your landscape in the winter weather. For example, you can watch for weak branches that may come down in the snow or ice. If your landscape sits near public roads, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected from excess road salt.

Count On Davis Landscape to Find Hearty Plants and Trees for Maine Winters

Davis Landscape can help you find the hearty plants and trees for Maine winters. Our skilled staff can help you whether you want to work on a residential or a commercial landscapeGet in touch today for more information.