31 Evergreen Shrubs For Beautiful Year Round Foliage

Are you looking for some evergreen shrubs to add to your home or garden space? Evergreen shrubs are a great way to keep your garden looking green, even in the wintertime. There are many different options you can choose from, depending on your hardiness zone. In this article, we look at our favorite evergreen shrubs you can add to your home or garden!

evergreen shrubs

Winter can be hard enough to get through without looking out your window and seeing your formerly beautiful garden full of twigs. So, giving it an overhaul with evergreen shrubs is an excellent option for any gardener looking to keep things green.

There are many different types of evergreen shrubs, fitting a range of climates, heights, and styles. Some evergreens grow quickly, requiring frequent pruning to maintain an attractive shape, while you can get away with pruning others once per year.

New gardeners are often surprised to learn that many evergreen shrubs don’t always remain green. Instead, some change their leaf colors according to the season, and others bloom large, fragrant flowers. Most evergreens prefer full sun or partial shade and have various soil requirements. We’ve hand picked our favorites below that will perform well in a variety of climates and garden conditions. Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in!

Abelia

Abelia
Abelia is an undemanding shrub that has gorgeous color-changing leaves and small white tubular flowers in spring.
Scientific Name: Abelia
  • Plant Type: Evergreen or Deciduous shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 – 11

Abelia is an umbrella classification for around 30 species that combine evergreen and deciduous shrubs. The Abelia’s leaves bring color to a garden because they typically have a yellow base with pink, burgundy, or orange hues. The leaves may also change color with the change of seasons.

Beginner gardeners will appreciate that Abelias are low maintenance. They have small, tubular flowers that bloom from the spring to the fall and prefer acidic or neutral soil.

Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis
Arborvitae is a shrub that is usually pruned in the form of a ball.
Scientific Name: Thuja occidentalis
  • Plant Type: Needled evergreen
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 12’ – 20’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 2 – 7

Arborvitae is a classical type of evergreen that people use for backdrops in garden landscapes, given that these shrubs can grow into trees if you don’t maintain them. The most popular way to trim an Arborvitae is by forming it into a pyramid or ball.

Some people use the Arborvitae’s sap, bark, and twigs for medicinal purposes, but this is primarily an ornamental shrub. Arborvitae produces small cones for spreading their seeds.

Adam’s Needle

Yucca filamentosa
Adam’s Needle blooms with white flowers in summer.
Scientific Name: Yucca filamentosa
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 4’ – 8’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 10

Adam’s Needle looks like an overgrown pineapple top without the fruit. It’s a popular evergreen addition to gardens in the southwest, as this plant needs little water and lots of sunlight. The flowers bloom in the summer on large stalks, and the plant’s leaves remain a deep green year-round.

You’re welcome to eat the fruit that Adam’s Needle produces. But keep it away from your pets, as it’s toxic to them. It’s best to plant Adam’s Needle in the spring, but it’ll often root if you try growing it at other times of the year too.

Azalea

Rhododendron
Azaleas are both evergreen and deciduous, blooming in spring with magnificent bright flowers.
Scientific Name: Rhododendron spp.
  • Plant Type: Evergreen or Deciduous shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia, Europe, North America
  • Plant Size: 3’ – 20’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 6b – 8a

There are dozens of Azalea varieties, but you’ll need to check with your garden store to ensure you purchase an evergreen variety, as some of them are deciduous. Typically, the warmer the climate, the more likely your Azaleas will remain evergreen.

These are excellent shrubs to include in a garden if you’d like large, colorful flowers in the spring. You can choose a dwarf Azalea if you’d like to plant them at the front of your garden or an heirloom variety as an evergreen backdrop.

Bay Laurel

Laurus nobilis
Bay Laurel produces thick, glossy dark green leaves.
Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub or tree
  • Geographic Origin: Mediterranean
  • Plant Size: 10’ – 60’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 8 – 10

The Bay Laurel is a fancy term for bay leaves, meaning this plant serves as a shrub in your garden, but is commercially used as a spice for various foods. Its thick, glossy dark green leaves will keep your garden looking vibrant regardless of the season.

You’ll need to prune the Bay Laurel to encourage it to remain shrub-sized. Luckily, this plant is a slow grower. You can also place it in a container within your garden to curb its growth.

Bearberry

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Bearberry is a low growing shrub that produces small red berries in winter.
Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 6” – 12”
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2 – 6

Bearberry is the shortestshrub on this list. Due to its creeping nature, it’s a great choice to use in a garden if you want to cover up dirt and keep your garden looking lively year-round.

Even better, your Bearberry shrub will add life to your garden in the winter, thanks to its tiny red berries. Its leaves also turn from a dark, glossy green to bronze in the fall, and it has red bark that peels, adding texture to your garden’s appearance.

Bird’s Nest Spruce

Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’
Bird’s Nest Spruce grows to full size within 10 years.
Scientific Name: Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 3’ – 4’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3 – 8

Some birds may use the Bird’s Nest Spruce for nesting, but it’s short for most. Instead, this shrub gets its name because it looks like a bird’s nest; it has wide, horizontal branches and a flat top with a small, natural dip.

Even though the Bird’s Nest Spruce doesn’t grow tall, you’ll need patience because it can take up to ten years to reach its full size in your garden. You should plant it in an area with acidic or neutral soil.

Blue Holly

Ilex x meserveae
Blue Holly has glossy dark green foliage and red berries that last through the winter.
Scientific Name: Ilex x meserveae
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 10’ – 15’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 9

The Blue Holly is a beauty with its brilliant red berries that last through the winter. It also boasts glossy, dark green leaves that have a bluish hue. The leaves have some spines, but not enough to do damage as long as you’re careful.

Blue Hollies grow at a moderate rate of one to two feet per year. So, you’ll need to trim them once you’re happy with their size in your garden.

Boxwood

Buxus spp
Boxwood is a popular shrub that is used as an ornamental plant in the garden and in containers.
Scientific Name: Buxus spp.
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Europe and Asia
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 8’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 9

Boxwood is a classic shrub that you can plant directly in your garden or place in ornamental containers around it. There are over 70 varieties of Boxwood, but they’re all relatively small and grow round.

Like many of the evergreens on this list, you can select a dwarf variety if you’d like to prevent your Boxwood from overshadowing other plants in your garden. These shrubs prefer loamy soil and bloom in the spring, but their flowers are underwhelming.

Boxwoods can hold up well in the shade, and they are also fairly drought tolerant shrubs. They can survive in desert conditions, even oftentimes getting hit with the blazing afternoon sun.

Camellia

Camellia spp
Camellia prefers to grow in well-drained and acidic soil.
Scientific Name: Camellia spp.
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 12’
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 7 – 9

Camellias are showstoppers both when they’re in their flower and non-bloom state. These shrubs have dark green glossy leaves. You’ll enjoy seeing their beautiful, large flowers from the fall to early spring if you live in a warmer climate.

You can plant Camellias in your garden with confidence that they’ll live longer than most of your plants as long as they have the right growing conditions. They prefer nutrient-rich and well-draining acidic soil.

Dwarf Balsam Fir

Abies balsamea ‘Nana’
Dwarf Balsam Fir prefers well-drained soil and abundant watering.
Scientific Name: Abies balsamea ‘Nana’
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 2’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 – 6

The Dwarf Balsam Fir is a beautiful compliment to rock gardens. It’s also an excellent fit for garden borders. Some people even turn this Fir variety into bonsai plants. They have dark green needles, with new growth offering a striking light green contrast at its tips.

These shrubs naturally grow in colder and damp woodlands. For this reason, watering them is a must, although you should ensure that they have well-draining soil.

Dwarf Loropetalum

Loropetalum chinense
The leaves of this magnificent shrub change color throughout the year from dark green to red or purple.
Scientific Name: Loropetalum chinense
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 1’ – 2’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 7 – 10

The Dwarf Loropetalum, which also goes by the name “Chinese Fringe Flower,” is a spectacular way to infuse your garden with color year-round. Their leaves change color throughout the year, ranging from dark green to reds and purples.

Furthermore, this shrub boasts narrow-petaled pink, red, yellow, or white flowers in the spring. Dwarf Loropetalums prefer acidic or neutral soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6.5. But overall, they don’t require much maintenance.

Dwarf Mugo Pine

Pinus mugo
This dark green and dense Dwarf Mugo Pine grows slowly and requires a lot of water.
Scientific Name: Pinus mugo
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 5’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2 – 8

You can plant the showy Dwarf Mugo Pine in a container within your garden or directly in the ground. Either way, its dark green and dense needles make an excellent compliment to gardens. It’s common for gardeners to place Mugo Pines around boulders for a natural garden landscape.

Dwarf Mugo Pines are slow growers and require little water to thrive. You can offer them some all-purpose fertilizer on occasion. But overall, these plants need little oversight.

False Cypress

Chamaecyparis
False Cypress is a shrub with leaves that have a scaly appearance.
Scientific Name: Chamaecyparis
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub or tree
  • Geographic Origin: North America and Asia
  • Plant Size: 6’ – 70’ tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 – 8

False Cypress trees come in many sizes, making them an excellent fit for gardeners who want a small or large evergreen shrub in their gardens. False Cypress leaves have a scaly appearance and feel. It grows circular cones that add character to this shrub.

One of the unique aspects of False Cypress shrubs is their range of foliage colors. You can choose from varieties with blue, yellow, gray, or gold hints. Alternatively, traditional green is an option too.

Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides
Gardenia blooms with magnificent fragrant white flowers.
Scientific Name: Gardenia jasminoides
  • Plant Type: Flowering broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: China, Japan, Taiwan
  • Plant Size: 5’ – 6’
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 8 – 11

Gardenias are an excellent shrub for people who live in warmer climates. They have gorgeous, fragrant white flowers that bloom every year. Although many people grow Gardenias as a houseplant, they’re an excellent fit for garden spaces.

Since it takes two or three years for Gardenias to flower for the first time, many people purchase a mature shrub from their local nursery. These shrubs enjoy acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 to 6.5.

Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis
This popular shrub has a pyramid or cone shape and has a coniferous aroma.
Scientific Name: Tsuga canadensis
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub or tree
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: Up to 70’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3 – 7

Hemlocks can be an excellent shrub complement to gardens, but you need to be careful—they can grow into full-out trees depending on the species and how frequently you trim them.

Hemlocks are attractive in gardens because they have a pyramid or cone shape and needles with two different green tones. Best of all, they have a wonderful pine scent and don’t create a mess on a garden’s soil, unlike other evergreens.

Indian Hawthorn

Rhaphiolepis indica
Indian Hawthorn is a tropical shrub that blooms in spring with large light pink flowers.
Scientific Name: Rhaphiolepis indica
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 3’ – 6’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 8 – 10

Indian Hawthorns are native to many parts of Asia, not just India. But if you live in a warmer climate on the opposite side of the world, you can include this tropical shrub in your garden.

The leaves on Indian Hawthorns start a bit bronze and then deepen to a green color through the season as long as leaf spot doesn’t get them. Come spring, you’ll enjoy large, light pink to white flowers. Dark blue fruit then replaces the flowers, which offer a burst of color throughout winter, as long as animals don’t get to them.

Inkberry Holly

Ilex glabra
Inkberry Holly produces smooth light green leaves and black berries.
Scientific Name: Ilex glabra
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Nova Scotia to Texas
  • Plant Size: 5’ – 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 – 10

Inkberry Hollies are a joy to grow in gardens since they tolerate many growing conditions and don’t grow too tall. They’re also slow growing, so you won’t have to trim them regularly. The Inkberry produces berries that are almost black in color.

Unlike other holly shrubs, the Inkberry has smooth leaves without sharp edges. Its leaves are light green, and they produce flowers in the spring, though they’re not a key attraction to this plant. Remove the Inkberry’s suckers annually to avoid it from taking over your garden.

Japanese Holly

Ilex crenata
Japanese Holly produces flowers in spring and black fruits that attract birds.
Scientific Name: Ilex crenata
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 3’ – 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 8

The Japanese Holly is an excellent fit if you’re looking for a border or topiary for your garden. It has dark glossy leaves and often grows taller than it does wide. Bees love pollinating their flowers in the spring, and the black, round fruit that follows them will attract birds.

That said, the Japanese Holly is an invasive species in many areas. So, check with your local garden center to see if they recommend planting this shrub based on where you live.

Japanese Pieris

Pieris japonica
Japanese Pieris blooms with hanging racemes of white flowers for two weeks.
Scientific Name: Pieris japonica
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 9’ – 12’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 8

Japanese Pierises are stunning shrubs. They have oblong leaves that change from a reddish color to green. Their leaves remain glossy year-round and have a leathery feel to the touch.

Drooping clusters of white or pale pink flowers are iconic of the Japanese Pieris. Unfortunately, its flowers only last two weeks. But because this shrub has such an ornate, short tree-like appearance, it’s a welcome addition to many gardens.

Juniper

Juniperus communis
Juniper is a cold-loving shrub that produces green cones and some species produce edible berries.
Scientific Name: Juniperus communis
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America, Europe, Asia
  • Plant Size: 6’ – 15’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2 – 7

Junipers are cold-lovin shrubs that are some of the most accessible in the world. Depending on the Juniper variety you purchase, your shrub might be low-spreading or grow in a taller tree-like shape.

Regardless of the Juniper variety you purchase, you can expect it to have short needles and green cones that transform to a blueish-purple color upon ripening. Some Juniper species have edible berries that people use as flavoring in certain dishes.

Mahonia

Mahonia spp
Mahonia has dense tropical leaves, blooms in early spring in clusters of golden yellow flowers.
Scientific Name: Mahonia spp.
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America, Central America, Asia
  • Plant Size: 3’ – 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 6 – 9

If you want a shrub that adds color to your garden, look no further than the Mahonia. Mahonias make excellent privacy hedges because they have dense, tropical-looking leaves.

Once the late winter or early spring comes around, large clusters of golden-yellow flowers emerge. You won’t have to worry about deer getting to your Mahonias, given that they have spikes to keep them away. It’s best to plant them in the spring or fall before it gets too hot or cold.

Mirror Bush

Coprosma repens
Mirror Bush is a magnificent shrub with waxy foliage.
Scientific Name: Coprosma repens
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: New Zealand
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 8 – 11

Mirror Bush is a warm weather-loving plant that has attractive waxy foliage. Its leaves cur and have combinations of light green, yellow, and dark purple, making this bush an excellent fit for adding year-round color to a garden.

Many people enjoy using the Mirror Bush as low hedging or edging around their garden. However, it can grow quite tall if you let it, so it’s also suitable for use as a backdrop.

Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia
Mountain Laurel blooms in spring with magnificent white or pink flowers.
Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 5’ – 15’
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun
  • Plant Zone: 4a – 9a

Mountain Laurels make an attractive shrub if you’d like to infuse your garden with classic dark green leaves. It has thick, twisting stems beneath dense groups of leaves. In the spring, gorgeous white or pink flowers adorn this shrub.

If you’d like brown fruit to follow the flower, make sure not to deadhead them. The Mountain Laurel grows approximately one foot per year, so it’s not a high-maintenance pruning shrub. It only grows in acidic soil, so treat basic or neutral soil before planting it, if applicable.

Red Tip Photinia

Photinia x fraseri
Red Tip Photinia produces green and red foliage.
Scientific Name: Photinia x fraseri
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 10’ – 15’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 7 – 9

Red Tip Photinias are ideal for anyone wanting to infuse their garden with green and red colors. As this shrub produces new growth, its leaves emerge as red. They then darken to a deep green over time and time on a leathery feel.

Although it’s tempting to plant Red Tip Photinias close together to create an attractive privacy screen, they’re susceptible to developing fungal leaf spot disease. So, it’s best to plant these shrubs at a distance from each other, noting they can grow up to three feet per year if you don’t trim them.

Rosemary

Salvia rosmarinus
Rosemary produces greyish-green needle-like leaves.
Scientific Name: Salvia rosmarinus
  • Plant Type: Herb evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Mediterranean
  • Plant Size: 2’ – 6’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 8 – 10

If you want a shrub that adds character to your garden and is useful in the kitchen, look no further than Rosemary. Rosemary looks like vertical pine needle branches growing from stiff wooden stems.

It has grayish-green needle leaves and is a relatively fast grower, so you’ll need to ensure it doesn’t take over your garden. Rosemary thrives in acidic or neutral summer and prefers sandy or loamy soil.

Pacific Rhododendron

Rhododendron macrophyllum
Pacific rhododendrons bloom in spring and summer with pink or purple bell-shaped flowers.
Scientific Name: Rhododendron macrophyllum
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub or perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Western United States, Canada
  • Plant Size: 12’ – 25’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 – 8

Rhododendrons can be evergreen shrubs or perennials, depending on how far south you live. The Pacific Rhododendron, in particular, makes for an excellent complement to garden spaces, given that it has pink or purple bell-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring and summer.

Unlike many of the evergreens on this list, Pacific Rhododendrons can survive in now-nutrient soil as long as it’s well-draining. Take care with weevils, as they enjoy eating the Pacific Rhododendron’s roots.

Scotch Heather

Calluna vulgaris
Scotch Heather is a magnificent shrub that blooms in autumn with purple, pink or white flowers.
Scientific Name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Eurasia
  • Plant Size: 2’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4b – 6a

The Scotch Heather is a stunning shrub with small, scaly leaves that sit tightly against its long, woody stems. During the mid-summer and early fall, this evergreen comes to life with purple, white, or mauve-colored flowers.

In the wild, Scotch Heather grows in bogs and other wet areas. However, it requires sandy soil since it doesn’t hold up well in sitting water. Since Scotch Heather can handle salt spray, they’re an excellent fit for coastal gardens.

Siberian Cypress

Microbiota decussata ‘Prides’
Siberian Cypress is a ground cover shrub with fan-shaped branches.
Scientific Name: Microbiota decussata ‘Prides’
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern Siberia
  • Plant Size: 2’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 2

Siberian Cypress make excellent ground covers, given that they have fanned branches that spread out and droop downwards. Their soft leaves change from green to burgundy or bronze come the late fall.

So, the Siberian Cypress is an excellent shrub to add color to your garden in the winter. Siberian Cypresses can tolerate the occasional drought. But their preferred situation has moist, well-draining soil.

Wintercreeper

Euonymus fortunei
Wintercreeper produces beautiful white-green evergreen leaves.
Scientific Name: Euonymus fortunei
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 1’ – 2’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to shade
  • Plant Zone: 5 – 9

Gardeners often have a love-hate relationship with Wintercreeper; it offers beautiful white and green evergreen leaves, but it’s fast-growing, taking over a garden if you’re not careful. The good news is if you live in an area with harsh growing conditions, the Wintercreeper will likely thrive.

If you get tired of having Wintercreeper as a shrub shape, you can instead set up trellises so that it becomes a climbing vine. As winter approaches, the white on this plant’s leaves turns to a beautiful pinkish color.

Yew

Taxus
This classic shrub symbolizes Christmas.
Scientific Name: Taxus
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Europe, Africa, Asia
  • Plant Size: 4’ – 60’
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to shade
  • Plant Zone: 2 – 10

Yews are a classic garden shrub, having the appearance of dense, mini pine trees. These shrubs often represent Christmas due to their red berries, and Christians often use their sprigs in Christmas decorations.

As a conifer, Yew shrubs create cones instead of flowers. They tolerate many challenging growing conditions but thrive in loamy, moist soil. Take care not to let your pets or kids eat Yew, as it’s highly poisonous.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re interested in giving your garden an evergreen shrub backdrop, creating a lasting ground cover, or wanting something in between, the options here cater to nearly every interest.

One of the most notable differences between a shrub and a bush is that people keep shrubs trimmed. Therefore, although many shrubs are slow growing, you’ll still need to cut them occasionally to keep your garden looking tip-top.

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