9 Evergreen Shrubs for Year-Round Interest

When things wind down in the garden in winter, it can leave your space looking a little dull or gloomy. Adding evergreens with year-round interest can remedy this. Evergreens come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, so there are plenty of choices to fit every garden, no matter your garden style. Here are some of our favorites.

Thuja

There’s a variety of shapes and textures of arborvitae, so there is bound to be one that fits your needs, whether you are looking for a low-growing rounded habit like Tater Tot® or a tall pyramidal habit like North Pole®.

Check Out These Arborvitae:

A row of tater tot arborvitae in a landscape
Thuja occidentalis
  • Zones: 3-8
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Two fluffy arborvitae in a landscape
Thuja plicata
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Height: 5-10’
  • Width: 3-6’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
A group of North Pole arborvitae growing on a berm
Thuja occidentalis
  • Zones: 3-8
  • Height: 10-15’
  • Width: 3-5’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Buxus

Boxwoods are a landscape classic! You can often find these handsome shrubs in formal gardens, but they look dashing in informal settings as well. They are rarely if ever eaten by deer, and they thrive in full sun to full shade, making them an incredibly reliable shrub.

Check Out These Boxwoods:

A row of sprinter boxwood in a landscape
Buxus microphylla
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-4’
  • Width: 2-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Shade
A row of North Star boxwood in a landscape
Buxus sempervirens
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-2.5’
  • Width: 2-2.5’
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Shade

Ilex glabra

Inkberry hollies are beautiful native boxwood alternatives. Female inkberry hollies bear blue-black fruit when planted with a male inkberry holly. Strongbox® and Gem Box® are both female hollies that have compact, rounded habits. Squeeze Box™ is our new male holly that has a pyramidal habit and will pollinate our female varieties when planted within 50’ of them.

Check Out These Inkberry Hollies:

A row of Strongbox Inkberry Hollies in a landscape
Ilex glabra
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Width: 2-3’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
A gem Box Inkberry Holly in a landscape with other shrubs
Ilex glabra
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Width: 2-3’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade 
A Squeeze Box Inkberry Holly in the landscape surrounded by other plants
Ilex glabra
  • Zones: 5-9 
  • Height: 4-6’
  • Wide: 2-3’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Chamaecyparis

False cypress adds a soft, lush texture to any landscape with its feathery foliage. They are great screening plants, but they’re also appealing specimen plants as well. And with a range of colors available, there is a false cypress for really any garden.

Check Out These False Cypress:

A young specimen of Cedar Rapids False Cypress in the landscape
Chamaecyparis pisifera
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 30’
  • Width: 12-15’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
A group of three Soft Serve Gold False Cypress in a garden
Chamaecyparis pisifera
  • Zones: 4-8
  • Height: 6-10’
  • Width: 6-10’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
A Soft Serve False Cypress in a garden
Chamaecyparis pisifera
  • Zones: 4-8
  • Height: 6-10’
  • Width: 5-6’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Rhododendron

Rhododendrons are stunning evergreen shrubs that are covered in delightful blooms in spring. Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous and also bloom in spring, with reblooming varieties such as Perfecto Mundo® reblooming in summer into fall. The Perfecto Mundo® azalea series are all evergreen, though they may be semi-evergreen in their northern hardiness zones.

Check Out this Rhododendron and Azaleas:

Close up of Dandy Man Color Wheel blooms
Rhododendron x
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 4-8’ 
  • Width: 4-8’ 
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Perfecto Mundo Double Purple Azalea blooming in the landscape
Rhododendron
  • Zones: 6b-9
  • Height: 2.5-3’ 
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Perfecto Mundo Double Pink Azalea blooming in a garden
Rhododendron
  • Zones: 6b-9
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Juniperus

Junipers are extremely durable shrubs with lovely green foliage that add a nice texture to the garden. You are sure to find a juniper that fits your garden, as they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These hard-working shrubs are deer-resistant and drought-tolerant.

Check Out These Junipers:

Gin Fizz Juniper with blue berries in the landscape
Juniperus chinensis
  • Zones: 4-8
  • Height: 10-18’
  • Width: 7-10’
  • Exposure: Full Sun
a row of Tortuga Juniper in a garden
Juniperus communis
  • Zones: 2-7
  • Height: 2’
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun
A fluffy Montana Moss Juniper in a landscape
Juniperus chinensis
  • Zones: 4-9
  • Height: 2-4’
  • Width: 3-5’
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Loropetalum chinense

Chinese fringe-flowers are a truly fun evergreen for warm climate gardens. They provide bold color and texture all year long with vibrant evergreen foliage and streamer-like spring flowers. These showy shrubs are easy to grow, and once established, they will tolerant some drought.

Check Out These Chinese Fringe-Flowers:

Jazz Hands Variegated Chinese Fringe Flower with purple, pink, and white foliage
Loropetalum chinense
  • Zones: 7-9
  • Height: 4-6’
  • Width: 4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Close up of the pink flowers and dark foliage of Jazz Hands Bold Chinese Fringe Flower
Loropetalum chinense
  • Zones: 7-9
  • Height: 5-6’
  • Width: 5-6’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Close up of the flowers on Jazz Hands Pink Loropetalum
Loropetalum chinense
  • Zones: 7b-9
  • Height: 3-5’
  • Width: 3-5’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Rhaphiolepis indica

Indian hawthorns are delightful warm-climate evergreen shrubs that are easy to care for. In spring, sweet flowers emerge atop the handsome green foliage, and pollinators love them. Once established, Indian hawthorns are drought and heat-tolerant. 

Check Out These Indian Hawthorn:

La Vida Grande Indian hawthorn with rich pink flowers
Rhaphiolepis indica
  • Zones: 8-10
  • Height: 4-6’
  • Width: 4-6’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
La Vida Mas Indian Hawthorn with showy pink flowers in the landscape
Rhaphiolepis indica
  • Zones: 8-10
  • Height: 1-2’
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenias are also warm-climate shrubs that boast lovely white blooms in spring. The wonderfully fragrant blooms contrast beautifully with the glossy, dark evergreen foliage. Gardenias are deer-resistant and have good heat tolerance as well. 

Check Out These Gardenias:

Pillow Talk Gardenia with big double white blooms and dark evergreen foliage
Gardenia jasminoides
  • Zones: 7-10
  • Height: 2.5-3.5’
  • Width: 3-4’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Steady As She Goes Gardenia with big white flowers and dark green foliage
Gardenia jasminoides
  • Zones: 7-10
  • Height: 3-5’
  • Width: 4-7’
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Check out this blog on creating a four-season garden, and check out more evergreens here!

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Samantha Huisman

I’m still pretty new to gardening, but I’m eager to learn more as I grow my USDA Zone 6a garden. I share my space with two very energetic German Shepherd dogs, and I'm happy to share my experiences building a garden that is beautiful and safe for my pups. As I learn and grow in the gardening world, I’m excited to give you tips and inspiration that may just help you on your gardening journey.

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