23 Best Evergreen Shrubs To Grow for Year-Round Interest
Add everlasting color to your landscape with shrubs that retain their foliage all year long
Evergreen plants are an invaluable component of gardens and landscapes, providing structure and color through the winter after other plants have gone dormant. Shrubs that stay green, or keep their leaves all year, provide background interest to other plants, lending year-round interest to foundation plantings, beds, borders and containers.
There are many choices of evergreen shrubs for even the coldest climates, as well as more temperate regions. The two basic types of evergreen shrubs are conifers, which produce needles, and broadleaf evergreens, which have foliage. Evergreen flowering shrubs bloom in different seasons, while other evergreen bushes produce insignificant flowers or no blooms at all. Try some of these evergreen shrubs in your landscape.
1. Sprinter® Boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
Boxwood is commonly used to add formal structure to the landscape, as hedging, container specimens and topiaries. Sprinter® boxwood is one of the best fast-growing evergreen shrubs, with glossy foliage that stays attractive year-round. The compact rounded habit is suitable for low hedging, containers and for edging pathways and borders.
Hardy in zones 5-9, full sun to full shade, 2-4’ tall and wide, deer resistant
2. Gold Splash® Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
Wintercreeper is a broadleaf evergreen with a shrubby vining habit. Gold Splash® is an improved form with showy rounded leaves that are green with bright golden edges. The compact habit is useful as a ground cover or in mass plantings. Can be sheared to size and grown in containers.
Hardy in zones 5-8, full sun to partial sun, 18-24” tall and wide
3. Castle Keep® Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae)
Leathery glossy green leaves are small with serrated edges, lending fine texture to beds and borders. Castle Keep® is a broadleaf evergreen that retains its rounded shape with little or no pruning. Use as hedging, in a foundation planting, containers or as a stand-alone specimen.
Hardy in zones 5-7, full sun to partial sun, 3-5’ tall and 3-4’ wide
4. Gem Box® Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra)
Small dark green leaves are produced on ball-shaped plants. A good substitute for boxwood, use this broadleaf evergreen as low hedging, edging along pathways and borders, or in containers. Gem Box® maintains a dense, healthy growth habit, even in shade.
Hardy in zones 5-9, full sun to partial sun, 2-3’ tall and wide, deer resistant
5. Sky Box® Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)
Add vertical interest with the narrow columnar habit of Sky Box® Japanese holly. Shiny dark green foliage lends soft texture to beds and borders. Plant this broadleaf evergreen as screening, to divide garden rooms, as a focal point or in a mixed border.
Hardy in zones 6-8, full sun to partial sun, 4-5’ tall and 2-3’ wide
6. North Pole® Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
The upright conical habit of this evergreen conifer creates a striking focal point in the landscape. One of the best tall evergreen shrubs, use North Pole® for narrow spaces, in combination with other shrubs, or as privacy screening along a fence or property line. Exceptionally hardy in colder climates.
Hardy in zones 3-8, full sun to partial sun, 10-15’ tall and 3-5’ wide
7. Tator Tot® Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Grown for the rounded habit and finely textured foliage, Tater Tot® arborvitae is one of the best dwarf evergreen shrubs for small spaces. Fragrant fan-shaped foliage provides an elegant backdrop to other plants. Use this conifer in containers, as edging or in mass plantings. Hardy in colder climates.
Hardy in zones 3-8, full sun to partial sun, 1-2’ tall and wide
8. Perfecto Mundo® Red Reblooming Azalea (Rhododendron x)
Azalea is a popular landscape shrub, with colorful bell-shaped flowers that appear in spring. Perfecto Mundo® Red extends the bloom season, producing lipstick-red flowers in spring and again from mid-summer through frost. Plant this broadleaf evergreen as hedging, in mass plantings, or to edge a border or pathway.
Hardy in zones 6-9, full sun to partial sun, 30” tall and 3-4’ wide
9. Dandy Man® Purple Rhododendron (Rhododendron x)
Rhododendrons are a standard landscape shrub, grown for the colorful clusters of bell-shaped flowers that appear in spring. This variety is hardier than most, with elegant purple flowers and dark green lance-shaped foliage. Dandy Man® Purple is suitable for foundation plantings, borders, or as a focal point.
Hardy in zones 4-8, full sun to partial sun, 4-8’ tall and wide
10. Stonehenge® Yew (Taxus x media)
Yew is a versatile landscape tree or shrub, adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions. This conifer is one of the best evergreen shrubs for shade. Stonehenge® yew has a narrow columnar habit suitable for tight spaces. Use as a vertical element in a border or to soften a fence line.
Hardy in zones 4-7, full sun to full shade, 8-10’ tall and 2-4’ wide
11. Gin Fizz® (Juniperus chinensis)
Juniper is one of the best low-maintenance evergreen shrubs, occurring in a range of shapes and sizes. Gin Fizz® has an attractive conical shape, producing attractive blue-green berries against a backdrop of aromatic soft green foliage. Use this conifer as screening, in borders or massed in the landscape.
Hardy in zones 4-8, full sun, 10-18’ tall and 7-10’ wide, deer resistant
12. Tortuga® Juniper (Juniperus communis)
This is one of the toughest evergreens around! Tortuga® readily withstands cold, sun, drought, deer, rabbits, air pollution, and even black walnut trees. Simply plant this handsome native juniper in a sunny, well-drained spot and watch it beautify your yard all year long. It naturally grows as a low-mounded groundcover, with pleasing emerald-green foliage.
Hardy in zones 2-7, part sun to full sun, 2' tall and 3-4’ wide, deer resistant
13. Steady as She Goes® Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Gardenia is grown for the intensely fragrant snow-white blooms. This improved variety is more heat and cold-tolerant, with attractive, glossy, evergreen foliage and a long bloom time. Flowers are resistant to bud loss. Plant Steady As She Goes® in a container, border, or as a focal point.
Hardy in zones 7-10, full sun to partial sun, 3-5’ tall and 4-7’ wide, deer resistant
14. Soft Serve® False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)
False cypress is an evergreen conifer with cedar-like foliage that is grown as a tree or shrub. Soft Serve® is a dwarf variety with softly textured needles and a slightly weeping conical habit. One of the best evergreen shrubs for privacy, use for screening, hedging and mixed borders.
Hardy in zones 4-8, full sun to partial sun, 6-10’ tall and 5-6’ wide, deer resistant
15. Interstella® Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica)
Lily of the valley shrub is a broadleaf evergreen producing clusters of bell-shaped flowers in early spring. The flowers of Interstella® are deep ruby red, blooming for two months or more. One of the best small evergreen shrubs, use in a mixed border, foundation planting, or as a focal point.
Hardy in zones 5-8, full sun to full shade, 3-4’ tall and wide, deer resistant
16. Waxwing™ Lime Mirror Bush (Coprosma repans)
Small glossy leaves occur in a unique color combination of yellow, lime green and deep purple. Plant this broadleaf evergreen as a low-growing hedge, ground cover, or as edging for borders and pathways. Waxwing™ Lime container plants can be overwintered indoors in colder climates.
Hardy in zones 9-11, full sun to partial sun, 12-30” tall and 36” wide, deer resistant
17. La Vida Grande™ Indian Hawthorn (Rhapiolepsis indica)
Indian hawthorn is popular in southern regions, grown for its glossy green foliage and showy clusters of spring-blooming flowers. La Vida Grande™ is a compact variety with pink flowers and peach-colored new growth. Use this broadleaf evergreen for screening, mass plantings or as a focal point.
Hardy in zones 8-10, full sun to partial sun, 4-6’ tall and wide
18. Sweet Talker® Fragrant Viburnum (Viburnum)
Trumpet-shaped pink flowers occur in late winter and early spring when little else is blooming. The textured green foliage of Sweet Talker® takes on burgundy hues in winter, providing a colorful backdrop to the honey-scented flowers. Grow this broadleaf evergreen as hedging, screening or in a mixed border.
Hardy in zones 7-8, full sun to full shade, 8-10’ tall and 3-5’ wide, deer and rabbit resistant
19. Funshine® Abelia (Abelia grandiflora)
Vibrant foliage with tones of gold, orange and caramel is more colorful than other abelias. Funshine® has fragrant pastel purple flowers bloom throughout summer. This easy-care semi-evergreen shrub is tolerant of various growing conditions. Use as low hedging, edging, or in mass plantings.
Hardy in zones 6-9, full sun to partial sun, 2-3’ tall and wide, deer resistant
20. Sunjoy Todo® Barberry (Berberis x)
Barberry is commonly used in all types of landscapes. Unlike other varieties, Sunjoy Todo® remains semi-evergreen, retaining leaves on the branch tips year-round. Deep purple foliage contrasts with small yellow flowers, with bright red berries in fall. This variety is non invasive. Use for low hedging or mass plantings.
Hardy in zones 6-8, full sun, 18-24” tall and wide, deer resistant
21. Austin Pretty Limits® Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Oleander is a common landscape plant in warmer regions, grown for its nearly year-round bloom and carefree nature. Austin Pretty Limits® blooms nonstop with bright pink flowers and exhibits exceptional disease resistance. Use for screening, mass plantings, or in containers.
Hardy in zones 8-11, full sun, 4-6’ tall and 4’ wide, deer and rabbit resistant
22. Peppy Le Pom™ Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Peppy Le Pom™ is a dwarf pomegranate with bright orange flowers that resemble dangling earrings. Small ornamental fruits develop after flowering. Grow this broadleaf evergreen in a border, container, or as a focal point. In cooler climates, potted plants can be overwintered indoors.
Hardy in zones 7-10, full sun, 3-4’ tall and 3’ wide, deer resistant
23. Juke Box® Pyracomeles (x Pyracomeles sp.)
Pyracomeles is a hybrid cross between Pyracantha and Osteomeles. Similar to boxwood, this broadleaf evergreen has shiny green leaves and finely textured growth. Use Juke Box® as a ground cover, hedging, or to edge a border or pathway. Disease-resistant and low-maintenance.Hardy in zones 7-9, full sun to partial sun, 12-36” tall and wide
What are the most popular evergreen shrubs?
Some of the most common evergreen shrubs include arborvitae, boxwood, false cypress, holly, juniper, wintercreeper, azalea and rhododendron.
What kind of bushes stay green all year?
The two basic types of evergreen shrubs are conifers, which have needles, and broadleaf evergreens, which produce leaves.
What shrubs stay green in winter?
Some shrubs such as conifers will stay evergreen in most climates, while others such as abelia are considered semi-evergreen, shedding some or all of their leaves in colder areas.
Which flowering shrubs are evergreen?
Evergreen flowering shrubs include camellia, daphne, lily of the valley shrub, mahonia, mountain laurel (Kalmia), azalea and rhododendron.
What evergreen shrubs stay small?
There are lots of options for evergreen shrubs that take up little space in the landscape, including:
- Narrow shrubs that naturally grow as a column, like Stonehenge Skinny® or Aquavita™
- Dwarf types that grow as tidy little globes, like Tater Tot® arborvitae
- Low-growing evergreens excellent for edging or groundcover, like Montana Moss® juniper
When to plant evergreen shrubs?
Broadleaf evergreens, like holly and boxwood, are best planted in spring to avoid winter damage. While conifers can be planted during the cooler months of spring or fall.
When to trim evergreen shrubs?
Prune non-flowering types as needed before new growth emerges in spring. For flowering shrubs, wait to prune until just after flowering. Some evergreen varieties need little or no pruning.
Do deer eat evergreen shrubs?
Deer are more likely to eat evergreen shrubs such as arborvitae and yew in winter when other food sources are scarce. Other evergreen shrubs such as juniper and holly are more deer-resistant. The amount of grazing depends on what other food sources are available.
Are azaleas evergreen?
Though most azaleas lose their leaves in fall, there are some varieties that remain evergreen all year long. Try our Perfecto Mundo® series of evergreen reblooming azaleas, with flowers in colors of red, orange, pink or purple.
Are lilac shrubs evergreen?
All varieties of lilac shrubs are deciduous, losing their leaves in fall.
Are shrub roses evergreen?
Roses are deciduous plants, shedding their leaves in fall. In warmer regions, some roses may keep some or all of their foliage through colder months, though they are unlikely to bloom during the shortest days of winter. Learn more about caring for roses.
Are gardenias evergreen?
Gardenias are native to the tropics and will only survive outdoors in more temperate zones. They keep their glossy green foliage year-round.
Are hydrangeas evergreen?
The most commonly grown hydrangea shrubs are deciduous, though there are some vining and tropical varieties that remain evergreen in temperate or frost-free climates.
Want to learn more?
- Evergreens for Every Purpose - Hedges, upright accents, groundcovers and flowering fillers
- Winter Gardening Ideas - Make your garden shine, even in winter
- Shrubs with Winter Interest - Brighten the dreary winter with evergreens, colorful fruit, foliage, and stems