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Evergreen Shrubs

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Evergreen shrubs live in all the hardiness zones and offer a smaller version of what can be found with evergreen trees, such as their formal shape, from conical and pyramidal to columnar forms. Buy evergreen shrubs for your zone buy clicking on the appropriate zones on the left for your area.

A landscape filled with evergreen shrubs will keep interest in the area 12 moths a year. If you don't want to deal with all the falling leaves in the fall / autumn then these shrubs are a good solution. Evergreen shrubs can be used anywhere you need a privacy screen or use them together to make a privacy hedge or windbreak which lasts yearlong unlike deciduous hedges.

Definition of Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are woody stemmed and retain their leaves throughout the year. This is the opposite of deciduous shrubs, which completely lose all their leaves for part of the year. Evergreen shrubs do shed their leaves, but only a few at a time and on a constant cycle, so there never appears to be any change. Their leaves do not change color in most species, some like cryptomeria japonica turn to a variety of red shades in the autumn / fall.


There are some evergreen shrubs that do shed all their leaves at once, such as when they live through a severe winter, or during a winter if they live in a colder hardiness zone. Golden Privet, Ligustrum ovalifolium is a semi-evergreen, and usually keeps its leaves except though a severe winter.

Evergreen shrubs are divided into 2 groups, according to leaf type;

  • Broadleaf evergreen shrubs keep their leaves year round.
  • Narrow-leaf evergreens with needles and cones are sometimes called conifers.
Broad-Leafed Evergreens

Broad-leafed evergreen shrubs are easily recognized during the winter season due to them still carrying green traditionally recognized leaves, such as holly during Christmas time. They often produce striking flowers or fruit. Some of the most popular for landscape and garden use are; azaleas, barberry, boxwoods, hollies, ivy, laurels, magnolias, nandinas, photimias and rhododendrons.

Narrow-Leafed Evergreens

Narrow-leafed, or needle, evergreen shrubs are the most recognized because they're so widely planted and because some of them look like Christmas trees. The most popular include numerous pines, junipers (also called red cedars), firs, spruces, hemlocks and American arborvitaes. Many needle evergreens are also conifers, or plants that produce cones, and most of them are extremely diverse and can be grown throughout the world.

Evergreen Care and Planting Information

As a general rule, most evergreens (especially young ones) prefer a rich, high humus soil that is well drained but remains moist. Just take a walk in the woods where evergreens grow naturally and notice the soil around them; it's dark and rich, with an abundance of organic matter produced by leaves falling over the years and slowly decomposing. If you mimic those soil conditions at home by adding compost or leaf mold to the planting hole and mulching heavily with shredded leaves, pine needles or compost, your evergreens will love it.

As they mature, some evergreen varieties (pines and cedars for example) may become more tolerant of dry soils, but don't depend on it. Also, a number of evergreens (azaleas and heather for example) prefer acidic soils.

Select the right evergreen shrubs for the size of you planting area

Evergreen shrubs can grow quite large, be aware of the ultimate height and spread of the types of evergreens you plant. This is really apparent in conifers, some of which remain dwarf, but some like Leyland cypress (x cupressocyparis leylandii) will quickly outgrow their position. Evergreen shrubs and bushes can be slow growers, but in time they can easily overcrowd other plants or spread great distances.

Evergreen Watering Needs

Evergreens can't protect themselves during the winter by dropping their leaves the way deciduous plants do, and so water continues to evaporate through them. This increases their water demand though the wintertime in relation to deciduous plants, who hardly use any water during this dormant stage of growth. Be sure to water evergreens through the winter, especially if rainfall is scarce, and protect them if necessary by covering them with burlap or spraying them with an anti-desiccant.



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