One of the quickest and easiest ways to add some interest to your landscape is with evergreen bushes. With shrubs, there are several varieties to choose from so you can plan your landscape design based on when flowers bloom or when shrubs are at the peak of their color.
Unlike trees, evergreen bushes offer small, medium, and broadleaf varieties, as well as needle-leaf kinds. While most people think of evergreen trees, such as pine and Christmas trees, there are so many other different types of evergreens out there.
Evergreens bushes and shrubs range from tall trees to wide bushes to the tiniest evergreen dwarf shrub, and each one serves a different purpose when it comes to landscaping the garden or your whole property. These bushes not only add character to an otherwise dull yard, but they also enhance your landscape.
Evergreens are often used for windbreaks and privacy screens. They can add texture and a variety of colors to the edges of your landscape or planted right in the middle as a statement piece.
Types of Evergreen Bushes
When it comes to evergreen bushes, there are three main types – needled, broadleaf, and flowering shrubs. They may or may not offer berries or flowers in addition to their green colored foliage. Understanding the different types of year round shrubs ensures you have color all year.
Needled Evergreens are often used to fill in low or empty spaces in the landscape. These large or small evergreen shrubs make great background plants for flowering evergreens. Two of the most popular type of needled evergreen bushes are junipers and yew.
Broadleaf Evergreens are shrubs that feature leaves of various sizes. The leaves on these bushes come in a variety of sizes but are not needle-shaped. These plants do not flower but may produce berries or different colored foliage. Examples of this type of evergreen bush are boxwood and holly.
Flowering Evergreens produce blooms of color in addition to their beautiful foliage. This is where flowering hedges come in. These bushes bloom at different points of the season, so for year-round color, plant a variety of shrubs with different blooming times. Examples of this type of evergreen bush include rhododendron and camellia.
How to Care for Evergreen Bushes
A great thing about evergreens is that very few of them require comprehensive care. As long they are planted in the necessary light and the right kind of soil, once they are established, they will thrive. A few evergreen bushes require pruning or trimming every year. Care of evergreen bushes often requires regular watering along with fertilization once annually.
What Evergreen Bushes Work Best for Me?
Evergreens come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and leaf types. Before you head out to purchase any hedges, figure out what ones will work best for your yard. Look into their chance of survival in your area, so knowing your USDA growing zone will help determine what evergreen bush will work best for you. Soil type is also essential, but you can amend your soil by adding coffee in soil as a fertilizer.
If you only have a small area that you need to fill, or if you live in an apartment or condo where you have no actual growing space, you can add dwarf evergreen shrubs for full sun to a large pot or other container. These plants can easily be moved around from outdoors to indoors when the weather gets too intense as long as they get the sunlight they need and you can move them about on your deck or patio, too.
Top 15 Evergreen Bushes for Vibrant Color
Always read the product description and label of the evergreen bushes you are considering, as some types of plants are better suited for specific climates. When planting your evergreen bushes, pay attention to height and width. Planning for the maximum size ahead of time saves you landscape remorse later.
Castle Spire Holly (llex x meserveae) – Red Berried Evergreen Bush
A narrow shaped evergreen bush, the Castle Spire Holly is an excellent addition to winter landscapes. The deep green leaves sport red berries that easily stand out on the dreariest of days. To produce the bright red berries, plant the Castle Spire near a male pollinator, such as the Castle Wall Blue Holly.
With a width of about three feet, this evergreen bush is excellent as a hedge or as a foundation planting. Growing up to heights of ten feet tall, the evergreen shrub produces white flowers that bloom best in full to part sun in the early to late spring.
Since the holly shrub remains green all year, it works well as one of the bushes for more privacy. Consider planting it on the edges of your property to create a colorful screen between you and your neighbors. You can let the bush grow naturally or keep it trimmed to a rounded or box-shaped plant.
Bird’s Nest Spruce ( Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’)
A species of Norway Spruce, Bird’s Nest Spruce grows in the shape of a flat sphere, providing it with an exciting look that adds dimension to any landscape. The name Bird’s Nest comes from the slight depression found in the top of the shrub. Only growing to be about three feet wide and three feet tall, this evergreen bush is ideal for rock gardens or a foundation plant, but you will want to look into how to get rid of yellow jackets.
The conifer shrub produces no flowers but does require full to partial sun for optimal growing. The curving branches are decked with dark green foliage that requires weekly watering to stay looking beautiful all year. The compact shape doesn’t require much maintenance and can stand up to harsh winter winds.
October Magic Ruby Camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Green 02-003’) – Evergreen Flowering Shrubs
A semi-dwarf evergreen shrub, October Magic Ruby Camellia features a deep olive green color with glossy evergreen leaves as the backdrop for small Christmas-red double blooms. The flowers bloom heavy in the early fall to provide a burst of color before winter sets in. The compact plant works well in containers, as a hedge for privacy or as an accent in other flower gardens.
The October Magic Ruby Camellia needs full to partial sun to reach maximum growth of four feet high and five feet wide. This plant requires feeding throughout the growing season and needs medium watering. If shaping this plant, do so in the early spring.
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This species of Lavender plant is known as “Silver Mist,” thanks to its silvery leaves, which are topped with spikes of deep purple blooms late spring until early summer. English Lavender is often incorrectly referred to as an herb. It is an herbaceous perennial and a member of the mint family.
Woody stems need to be cut back to ground level once a year to encourage new growth. English Lavender typically reaches three feet tall, while the gray-green leaves are considered evergreens in warmer climates. The plant is often used as a perennial border in gardens, but pairs well with small annuals in front and larger shrubs in back.
Sprinter Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) – Fastest Growing Evergreen
The Sprinter Boxwood is one of the best fast growing shrubs for full sun or partial shade that is extremely hardy. A new and improved version, the Sprinter Boxwood replaced one of the most popular types of evergreen bushes called the “Winter Gem.”
The shiny green foliage provides color not only in the spring and summer but throughout the fall and winter when landscapes need it most. The Sprinter works well in various landscapes and containers, but its upright nature makes it an excellent choice for privacy hedges. It’s easily pruned into all kinds of shapes.
This boxwood is sturdy enough to require only an average amount of water and a lot of neglect. The bush should be fertilized in the spring, and any trimming should take place in the summer.
Kramer’s Red Winter Heath (Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Rote’)
One of the best mounding evergreen shrubs, the Kramer’s Red Winter Heath, works well as a border or ground cover. The magenta flowers begin blooming in winter and continue until early spring. The shrub thrives in unimproved soils or rocky soil and once established, requires very little work.
For a dramatic splash of color in your evergreen garden, pair this shrub with dwarf conifers. The mounding evergreen shrub will grow up to twelve inches tall and thirty-six inches wide in partial to full sun areas. The bush does best with weekly watering but will need more water during extreme temperatures.
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) – Flowering Evergreen Bush
One of the prettiest flowering bushes, the Mountain Laurel features pink buds in the springtime that bloom into white flowers. The Mountain Laurel tolerates shady areas, but for optimal flowering, plant it in an area that receives light shade. You can find many bloom colors with different varieties of the Mountain Laurel.
Deadheading or pinching off the spent blossoms prevents the flowers from reproducing, allowing more energy to go into next year’s blooms. The slow-growing bush can reach 15 feet tall once matured. Dwarf varieties of this bush are available and only reach four feet tall.
“Valley Valentine” Japanese Pieris (P. japonica)
A broadleaf evergreen, the Japanese Pieris takes a bit of care to grow well. The shrub does best in slightly acidic, well-drained soil. When choosing a planting location, opt for something in full sun that is protected from high winds and provides afternoon shade.
The Japanese Pieris is a dense, upright evergreen shrub with drooping clusters of white flowers set against orange-bronze to dark green leaves. The bush provides winter coloring as buds bloom in the late winter to the early spring. The slow-growing shrub can reach up to seven feet tall and seven feet wide and works well as a border or hedge.
Mr. Bowling Ball Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
The most common type of evergreen bushes, Mr. Bowling Ball Arborvitae, is a favorite as it never needs pruning unless you are worried about shaping. Once maturity is reached, this spherical shaped bush stands at 30 inches tall and 30 inches wide. The dwarf shrub offers dense, rich green foliage all year long.
This shrub works best as a foundation planting or a low hedge in gardens where space is limited. The slow-growing evergreen shrub requires full sun and needs weekly watering.
If planted in a container or extreme heat is present, water the plant more frequently. The bush needs to be protected from harsh winds and does not do well in dry conditions.
Tuscan Blue Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
This evergreen hedge is packed with fragrant blue flowers from late in the winter until early spring. The needle-like leaves add to the aroma of this bush and may also be used in cooking. The Rosemary hedge is one of the popular drought plants and works well as an informal hedge. Although the plant’s USDA Hardiness zones are 8 through 11, some areas are too cold and require a different variety of rosemary to survive the winter.
Once fully established, this moderate-growing shrub needs minimal water. If extreme heat is an issue or the bush is in a container, it requires more water. When planting evergreens, choose an area that receives full sun and expect its growth to top out at six feet tall and four feet wide.
Low Maintenance Evergreen – Sunkist Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
The golden tips of the leaves of the Sunkist Arborvitae make this one of the best bushes around, as the gold color makes the bushy evergreen shrub appear to glow. For the best leaf color and growth, the Sunkist Arborvitae needs full sun. In Zone 3 you will need to protect it from winds, but it is fully hardy in zones 4 through 8, making them the best evergreen bushes for cold areas.
The Sunkist Arborvitae is quickly grown and reaches its maximum height of ten feet tall in just a few years. The evergreen can grow in almost all soil and will tolerate damp conditions. The Sunkist can be trimmed to form a hedge, turned into formal shapes, or left to its own devices where it grows as a dense, upright evergreen.
This bush is one of the most popular low maintenance evergreen shrubs, both for its color and ability to survive in all types of climates. Use several for a lovely hedge or plant one or two as a statement plant in strategic areas of the yard, like at the entrance to a patio or deck.
Southgate Brandi Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Brandi Michele Raley’)
One of the few heat-tolerant bushy evergreens that grow well in gardens throughout the Deep South up to Pennsylvania, the Southgate Brandi Rhododendron stays on the small side. Maximum height is about four feet tall and four feet wide, which makes it an ideal choice for containers or edging along the walkway or driveway. This rhododendron requires regular watering.
Although these plants thrive in the hot weather, they need to be planted in areas that provide part sun to part shade. The deep pink flowers are abundant during the spring, but as an evergreen, it still adds color to your landscape during the cold winter months.
Maney Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Maneyi’)
This rugged-looking evergreen bush works in just about any landscape, including drought-tolerant gardens and foundation planting. Once established, the Maney Juniper can tolerate salt, freezing winters, and droughts, making it the hardiest of the junipers. The bushy evergreen spreads outward rather than up, reaching heights of about four feet tall while the width can be as much as six feet wide.
The blue-green foliage is found on ascending branches with blue-green berries. The Maney Juniper requires full sun to partial shade and grows quite well in zones 3 through 7 in normal soil conditions.
Taunton Spreading Yew (Taxus x media ‘Tauntoni’)
If you are after an evergreen that serves as ground cover plants for full sun, you need to consider the Taunton Spreading Yew. What makes this evergreen shrub so hardy is its short needles that can tolerate summer heat and wind burn during cold, harsh winters. The Spreading Yew only grows about four feet tall at maturity, but can grow up to six feet wide, making it an excellent choice for ground cover, privacy screens, or foundation plantings.
No flowers bloom on this evergreen bush, but the dark green needles provide plenty of color year-round. For optimal growing, plant the Spreading Yew in partial sun to full sun and water weekly.
Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Mountain’) – Bright Green Evergreen Bush
One of the most common evergreen bushes, the Green Mountain Boxwoods offer bright green foliage that retains its amazing color all through winter. These leafy evergreen bushes are the best kinds of bushes for creating topiary forms as they feature a natural upright cone-shape that is ideal for clipping and shaping. Plant them in masses to create sculpted or free-form hedges.
The bright green bushes require at least partial sun but thrive when planted in full sun. For optimal growth and amazing color water, these bushes weekly, but more frequently if they are in containers or dealing with extreme heat.
Evergreen bushes are a great way to add vibrant color to your landscaped yard all year long. Many evergreen bushes can be paired with other evergreens to complement one another. Sizes, shapes, and colors all play a role in designing your perfect yard.
Thank you for reading our evergreen bush post. If you have found any of our recommendations for evergreen bushes that provide vibrant color useful, please take a minute to share these eye-catching colored evergreens with others on Facebook and Pinterest.