Evergreen shrubs are hardy and can keep their leaves all year. They are an essential addition to any garden. Their distinctive shapes and fresh green leaves make them a welcome sight in winter. They are often called the ‘backbone of a garden’ because they provide structure. Some can be cut into pyramids, mounds and columns. They can also be used as a foil for more showy plants like summer-flowering perennials and shrubs with beautiful autumn colours. Some evergreen shrubs may not be green. Their foliage can come in different shades from purple to gold to variegated. Many have flowers as an added bonus.
It is a good idea for evergreens to be spaced evenly in the garden so they unify the space. For lining a pathway to a front door or framing an entryway, evergreen shrubs can be used as a permanent foundation planting around a house’s base. They make excellent hedges and can be used for creating private areas in the garden or garden ‘rooms. They make excellent windbreaks. They can be used to cover difficult areas. Many small evergreen shrubs can be grown in pots.
Azaleas are evergreen shrubs that are covered in bright spring flowers. There are many cultivars available, and the flowers come in a variety of colours, including yellow, magenta, red and purple. The Azaleas can be grown in a shaded area of your garden. Azaleas thrive in acidic soil. However, if this is not available in your area, dwarf varieties can be grown in pots using peat-free, ericaceous compost. Azaleas are closely related to rhododendrons, which are similar, but not always evergreen.
Bay (Laurus nobilis), an evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves that have many culinary uses. Bay can be sold in standard balls or cones and It can be grown in pots. Growing them requires a sunny spot with well-drained, moist soil.
Box are evergreen leaves that can add a touch of freshness to your garden year-round. It is hard to beat when it’s used in topiary forms such as balls, cones and spirals, or planted as a low hedge in a parterre or knot garden. Box isn’t without its challenges, Box has been under attack by box blight and box tree caterpillar in recent years. Both can cause damage and even death to the plants.
Cenanothus, also known as California Lilac, are covered in flowers in May to June. They are a bright cornflower blue color, but some varieties come with pink or white flowers. A sunny area is important for them similarly to regular Lilacs, so they prefer a west-facing or south-facing border. The evergreen, bushy varieties have smaller, more delicate leaves. They are less resilient than the other types. Ceanothus comes in many sizes.
Bamboos make great evergreen plants for urban gardens and also work well as a natural screen, great for creating privacy or concealing an ugly garden feature. Bamboo stems come in a variety of colours, with a wide selection of varieties and some varieties thrive in pots.
Bamboos appreciate growing in sunny areas and require plenty of water and a high-nitrogen diet in the spring and summer.
Choisya, also known as Mexican orange blossoms, is an attractive and low-maintenance evergreen shrub. The glossy green leaves are attractive all year and the star-shaped white flowers in late spring or early summer smell like orange blossom. Choisya appreciated being planted in a sunny and protected area.
Daphnes are a great way to lift your spirits during winter. They have bright, green leaves that look fresh and vibrant on winter days. Daphnes make a great shrub for small gardens and can be grown in dappled shade near a pathway or doorway so you can enjoy their scent.
Griselinia is an evergreen shrub that requires little maintenance and has beautiful, apple-green leaves. You can grow it against a wall or as an evergreen hedge. Griselinias can tolerate salty air making them ideal for coastal gardens. However, they are not suitable for cold or exposed locations.
Heathers are evergreen, compact shrubs that bear tiny bell-shaped flowers. They come in a variety of colors, including white, pink and red. Some varieties bloom in spring and autumn while others flower in winter. You can grow them in pots, as ground cover, at the border or in masses. They need acidic soil and sun. Winter flowering heathers are an especially valuable source of nectar for bees.
Camellias are a welcome sight in late winter and early spring, when little else is in flower. Their blooms range in colour from white to pink and red and can be single or double. Their glossy, evergreen leaves look great all year around. Camellias need a shady spot and need to be grown in acidic soil. If you don’t have this in your garden, they can be grown in pots, in ericaceous compost.
Hebes are a popular evergreen shrub that comes in many shapes and sizes. Their small leaves can be pink and dark green. Hebes bloom for a long time in summer in shades of pink and blue. They are very popular with bees. Plant hebes in the middle of a border or as ground cover. Plant in full sun, partial shade, and protected from the cold winter winds.
The Oregon grape Mahonia is also known as the Oregon vine. It has evergreen leaves and clusters full of yellow, fragrant flowers in autumn and winter. Its flowers attract natural pollinators such as bees. Its Blue-back fruits are also enjoyed by birds. Mahonias love shade and can be found in contrasting leaf plants such as epimedium and elephant’s ears, which also thrive in the shade.
Olea Europaea, a Mediterranean olive tree, grows well in the UK. It is small and has evergreen, pale grey-green leaves. Olives thrive in the hot and dry climate of their natural habitat. Choose a spot that is south-facing with a brick wall to protect it. Olives are great in urban and contemporary gardens and they also grow well in pots.
Photinias are low-maintenance evergreen shrubs that are known for their glossy leaves. It has bright red fresh leaves in spring, coupled with sprays of creamy white flowers. You can grow it in a sunny area or as a hedge.
Lavender, an evergreen shrub is grown for its fragrant grey-green leaves and bee-friendly flowers. It comes in shades of pink, purple, and white. Lavenders can be grown in many gardens. They can be used as a border plant or a wildlife garden, as well as in gravel gardens and herbaceous borders. Lavender ‘Hidcote’ can be grown as a low-growing hedge and also grows well in pots. Lavenders are drought-tolerant and require a sunny place to thrive. They should be planted in well drained soil. To preserve their shape, cut back after flowering.
Pittosporums are versatile evergreen shrubs, known for their attractive, neat foliage. It can range from dark to light green, grey-green, or purple-black depending on the variety. In May and June, they have subtle but very fragrant flowers. You can trim some varieties to create a pleasing shape. These plants are great for sunny spots in warm areas and seaside gardens.
Yucca gloriosa, an evergreen, low-maintenance plant, has distinctive and spiky leaves. It will eventually form a branched trunk. In Late summer, it produces clusters of bell-shaped, creamy-white flowers. This plant is great for sunny, dry areas, as well as exotic plantings. Yuccas can also be grown in containers. Yucca gloriosa “Variegata” leaves have beautiful yellow and pink variegation.