by Erin Marissa Russell
There’s nothing like an evergreen shrub, whether you’re looking to add one plant to your collection or install a whole privacy hedge. You can count on the evergreen shrubs listed here to keep their foliage for you to enjoy year-round. Many of these evergreen shrubs also have flowers or berries to add even more color to your garden.
There are all kinds of different holly shrubs to choose from, but the Christmas standard is blue holly. Enjoy the emblematic pointy foliage and branches draped with bright red berries. (You’ll need both male and female plants if you want your blue holly shrubs to produce berries.)
Cedar trees are valued for more than just their evergreen needles and pleasing Christmas-tree shape. The aromatic wood adds a whole new sense to your experience of this evergreen shrub.
Add the distinctive look and aroma of lavender to the garden with an English variety like Silver Mist. You’ll get the graceful silver-blue foliage and its accompanying fragrance all year long and vivid purple blossom spires in the summer.
Big, fragrant white blossoms contrast with gardenia’s glossy evergreen leaves. Some of the new varieties are not only evergreen but everblooming.
The evergreen foliage of a hemlock shrub resembles that of a rosemary bush. In addition, the trees produce little cones with lots of woodland charm.
The standard version of this gorgeous shrub features springtime color with pink buds that open into white blossoms. There are also varieties in pink, red, and bicolor available. It performs best in light shade but will tolerate a bit more shade than that.
Rhododendrons are prized for the gorgeous flowers in shades of pink, purple and white that emerge against the glossy green foliage. If you’re used to thinking of rhododendrons as warm-weather shrubs, you should know there are new varieties out there for gardeners in chilly regions.
Variegated Winter Daphne
Enjoy the pink buds and white blooms that burst onto the scene, along with their pleasing scent, at the end of winter and beginning of spring. The blade-shaped leaves are handsomely lined with golden yellow for a sophisticated hint of extra interest year-round.
This sweet little shrub lets you take advantage of the shady spots in your garden. Wintercreeper’s pretty variegated foliage starts out with shades of cream, yellow, and green, and the leaves light up with pink and red hues in winter.
Helping Evergreen Shrubs Stay Green All Winter
We know what you’re thinking—if a shrub is evergreen, it shouldn’t need any help from you to keep its leaves year-round, right? But “evergreen” means that a plant doesn’t lose leaves as a part of its life cycle. There are lots of other reasons a shrub may lose its leaves. For example, winter sunshine and harsh winds can cause sunscald, a condition that burns foliage and can cause it to drop. Below are some tips on helping evergreens keep their leaves.
Provide as much protection as you can.
- The north and west winds and the late afternoon sun are the harshest parts of winter weather for your evergreens. This means the gentlest spots are those that offer some protection in the afternoon. You can assist with wind coverage by planting on the east side of a building, wall, hedge, fence, or other windbreak. You can even whip up a temporary windbreak of stakes and burlap if inclement weather is coming.
- Delicate plants, or those with floppy, brittle, or weak branches, can be given an extra layer of protection if you wrap them with burlap or use specially made shrub covers. Upright shrubs can have their upper branches bound together so heavy snow doesn’t accumulate there and cause breakage. Just remember to remove this binding before spring so new shoots can grow unobstructed.
- Spray-on products like Wilt-Pruf can be applied to help keep moisture inside the leaves so they can stay green. Be careful when applying that the product gets to the pores of the leaves, which are located on their undersides.
Make sure your plants go into their winter sleep with plenty of moisture.
- Giving them a layer of mulch three inches thick will help the soil retain hydration. Just be careful not to touch the mulch to your plants, which can help spread plant disease in your garden. A few inches of empty space on all sides will prevent this potential spread of disease.
- Get a really good watering in just before your plants dive into their dormant period. To time this correctly, water your plants deeply just before the first forecasted frost of the winter in your area.
Now you’re familiar with our favorite evergreen shrubs. And even better, you know how to help these evergreen beauties keep their leaves all year long.
Learn More About Evergreen Shrubs to Grow
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