We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Shrubs are the foundation planting of your home’s landscaping. Evergreen shrubs are a common choice due to being low and their consistent look all year round. However, a lot of home’s facades are facing a street and are in full sun, which may leave you looking for cultivars that can withstand these conditions, especially in the heat of summer. We have tracked down 19 of the best dwarf evergreen shrubs to get you on your way to pristine-looking landscaping.
1. Arborvitae “Berkman’s Gold”
This shrub is a slow grower, but can eventually reach a height of 6 feet with a width of 3 to 4 feet. It has fern-like vertical growing sprays of leaves. Its color is a vibrant greenish-yellow with golden tips.
It grows exceptionally well in the heat and humidity. This shrub works great when used as a border and many species of birds make their homes in its dense foliage.
Berkman’s Gold tends to not do very well in drought conditions, so keep it well watered. It’s prone to come under bagworm attacks in the summer, which leads to foliage and bud reduction.
2. Arborvitae “Fire Chief”
This globe-shaped shrub adds vibrant color and texture to any garden. Its bright green foliage transitions to gold during the spring, and then a deep orange and red during the fall. Its foliage has a fine texture and doesn’t need pruning. The shrub grows up to 4 feet at maturity, which takes over 10 years to reach. However, it will reach a height of 2 feet by the time it is 10 years old.
This shrub is great for lining walkways, creating low growing hedges, and for filling containers with color. It needs weekly watering to maintain its vibrancy.
3. Arborvitae “Mr. Bowling Ball”
It’s no surprise that this shrub is naturally very round in shape. It grows slowly and only reaches a height and width of 24 to 30 inches. Its foliage is light and feathery in appearance, but exceptionally dense. It retains its vibrant green color year-round.
It needs plenty of water, sunlight, and moist, well-draining soil to thrive and keep its color.
Be creative and put together these shrubs with these bamboo gardens ideas.
4. Arborvitae “Sunkist Gold”
This shrub has dense foliage and creates a compact pyramid shape. At maturity, this shrub can reach a height of 10 feet with a width of 6 feet. It broadens as it ages. It’s recognized by its golden-green foliage; the foliage closest to the center of the shrub is fully green and transitions into a golden yellow at the tips of the foliage.
The Sunkist Gold needs regular care and upkeep, particularly in its young developmental stage. Once it has been established, it can tolerate periods of dryness.
5. Boxwood “Baby Gem”
This shrub has densely branching foliage which takes on a rounded mound shape. Its eye-catching glossy green foliage is small and oval-shaped. It has a slow growth rate but can reach a height of 3 feet and a width of 3 feet by the age of maturity.
The Baby Gem is a great choice for lining walkways or for use as a small formal hedge. It is easy to prune, so you are able to maintain your desired shape. It is also deer resistant, helping to protect the garden.
6. Boxwood “Green Mountain”
This shrub’s upright habit is unique amidst the other boxwood varieties that tend to be round and have habits of spreading. It is cone-shaped, adding structure to a garden landscape. You can prune it to make its shape even more dramatic. It has small bright green leaves. When it has reached maturity, the Green Mountain can stand between 3 and 5 feet in height and spread 2 to 3 feet in width.
7. Cypress “King’s Gold”
This shrub has a thread like scaly golden-green foliage year-round. Its most golden hues last through the summer months. At maturity, it can reach between 3 and 6 feet tall and spreading the same width. It grows slowly but requires very little maintenance.
The King’s Gold needs weekly watering to ensure that the soil remains moist. It’s also heat and humidity resistant, thriving in the summer. This shrub is deer resistant as well.
8. Euonymus “Emerald ‘N Gold”
This evergreen shrub is rich in color. Its leaves are vibrantly green edged by gold, which turns to a brilliant reddish-pink in the fall and winter months. With the changing colors of leaves, it adds a sense of cheer to any winter landscape. This shrub spread when its stems creep along the ground and root itself. It will climb if it has the necessary support, like a wall. It grows at a moderate pace and can reach 2 feet in height and 5 feet in width at maturity.
The Emerald ‘N Gold attracts butterflies to itself, adding even more color and life to a garden.
9. Holly “Burford”
This shrub has beautiful pointed, glossy, dark green leaves and vibrant white and red berries that emerge in the fall months. This variety grows between 5 and 8 feet in height and out to 10 feet in width by the time it reaches maturity. This medium-sized holly works great for hedges and borders.
The Burford is a low maintenance shrub, but make sure not to allow it to dry out. Birds and bees are attracted to this plant and will help in the pollination process.
10. Juniper “Golden Creeping”
This is a fantastic low growing evergreen ground cover shrub. It shows off vivid golden-yellow foliage in the spring and summer months then turns to mauve overtones in the winter. It thrives in the sunlight. By the age of maturity, it can be 4 inches tall and up to 4 feet wide. It spreads at a slow rate of about 4 to 6 inches each year.
The Golden Creeping boasts of being deer and disease resistant. It is also drought tolerant. This shrub works well for erosion control on steep banks and slopes.
11. Juniper “Blue Star”
This easy to maintain shrub is slow-growing, reaching between 2 and 3 feet tall and spreading between 3 and 4 feet in width. It has striking silvery-blue foliage growing on very dense spreading branches. Its needles are highly ornamental in appearance.
It’s very adaptable to dry and moist conditions, making it a hardy plant. The Blue Star works well as a low border plant or in a rock garden.
12. Juniper “Sea Green”
This fragrant evergreen displays dark green foliage that deepens in color during the winter months. At maturity, this shrub can reach between 4 and 6 feet in height and out to 8 feet in width. It has soft foliage and an arched, fountain-like pattern of growth.
Do not overwater the Sea Green since it’s prone to root rot in wet conditions.
13. Pine “Dwarf Mugo”
This is a low growing, spreading pine that gives off the fragrant smell of pine year-round. This pine only grows about 3 to 6 inches per year. It has rigid dark green needles, ranging between 2 and 3 inches in length. Light green cones develop and transition into a hazelnut color at maturity. The Dwarf Mugo has a dense branching habit. It can reach a height between 3 and 4 feet and can spread to a width from 6 to 8 feet.
This plant is very tolerant and hardy; it can adapt to a variety of changing conditions (water, wind, soil).
14. Spruce “Dwarf Alberta”
This spruce appears fuzzy due to its dense growth. Its aromatic brilliant green needles reach a length of 3/4 inches. This variety rarely produces cones. It reaches between 10 and 13 feet in height and a spread between 7 and 10 feet in width by the age of maturity. This slow-growing plant only grows 2 to 4 inches each year.
The Dwarf Alberta thrives the best in cooler climates and grows best in full sun exposure. This variety, due to its slow growth, is sometimes grown in containers and utilized as small living Christmas trees.
15. Spruce “Bird’s Nest”
This spruce’s name connotes to the way in which it grows and is shaped. It is a flat-topped evergreen with a spreading habit of growth. At maturity, it reaches 18 inches in height and about 4.5 feet in width. It has dense, horizontally layered branches with light green foliage. This slow-growing variety grows at a rate of 3 to 6 inches each year and very rarely produces cones.
Remove any dead, diseased, or dying branches each year to ensure a long life.
This is a medium-sized shrub that has dark green foliage of needles and bright cherry red berries. At maturity, this plant can reach a height of 5 feet and spread a width of 10 feet.
This shrub works well as a hedge and for lining walkways. Overall, it is a low maintenance plant and is drought tolerant. If overwatered, it is susceptible to root rot.
Many parts of the Yew are toxic to both humans and animals, so be mindful of where you plant this shrub. The red fleshy berry is the only part of this plant that isn’t toxic.
17. Azalea “Encore”
This flowering shrub has 25 different varieties that have been developed within the last 50 years. This flowering shrub grows to be between 2 and 3 feet in height, around 4 feet in width, and has 3-inch flowers. It comes in various shades of white, red, pink, purple, coral, and bi-color. It has a multi-season flower display lasting from the spring and into the fall. It has vibrant green leaves that can turn into brilliant fall foliage.
The Encore needs full sun or highly filtered shade in order to flourish. It will need 4 to 6 hours of daily sunlight.
18. Loropetalum “Purple Daydream”
Also known as the “Chinese Fringe Flower,” this shrub boasts its deep plum-colored foliage all year round. Stringy pink clusters develop each spring, beautifully contrasting the dark foliage of the plant. At maturity, it can reach a height between 2 and 3 feet and spread to a width between 3 and 4 feet.
The Purple Daydream looks great in beds and when used for borders or hedges. It is also drought tolerant and deer resistant.
This shrub has over 200 different varieties. It is an ornamental plant that reaches between 2 and 3 feet in height and spreads between 4 and 5 feet in width. It has glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant, soft, waxy white flowers. It has a rounded habit of growth.
The Gardenia needs full sunlight or partial shade and is a heat-loving plant.
These low maintenance evergreen shrubs might impress you.