15 Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrubs For Your Garden
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Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, the place you come home to after a long day's work to relax, unwind and prepare to keep working at your best. Keeping your yard looking it's best can be a lot of, well, work. Even more so, you want your yard to look it's best all year round, not just amid spring blooms.
Planning what, and where, to plant in your yard is a crucial part of any landscaping project. Choosing the right plants for your property or project can be confusing, and that's why we've compiled this list of 15 Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrubs to help you along in your landscaping project.
Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron, native on several continents including Europe, Asia, and North America. Evergreen Azaleas are a popular choice for their year-round foliage and abundant spring blooms. This ornamental plant requires at least partial shade, and cannot be grown in climates where winter temperatures regularly drop below freezing. They can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4-9 but will do best in warmer climates. Evergreen Azaleas prefer well-drained, acidic soil.
You can find a soil amendment designed for Evergreen Azaleas on Amazon here.
Inkberry Holly can be slow-growing compared to other evergreen shrubs, but is easy to grow and provides good color throughout the winter months. Its name comes from it's small, inky black fruits that mature by early fall. This ornamental shrub can grow up to eight feet in both heights and spread, usually taking on a slightly rounded shape in its overall growth pattern. It is often used as a hedge to provide privacy or separate different sections of a yard.
This hardy plant is a popular choice for damp areas of a yard, preferring acidic, moist soils. They prefer to be planted in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Found natively in the coastal plains of North America from Nova Scotia to Texas, Inkberry Holly's can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4-10.
You can find 1-gallon sizes of Inkberry Holly's on Amazon here.
When you think of the classic manicured lawn with neatly trimmed shrubs, you're most likely picturing Boxwood shrubs. Boxwood shrubs are renowned for their densely-packed leaves, and neat-rounded shape. They do require a high level of maintenance, mainly in the form of regular pruning, and as such many landscapers and property owners have begun to switch to alternatives. Still, Boxwoods bring an elegant and classic look to any yard, and function well as hedges or grouped in foundation plantings.
Boxwoods grow best in well-drained soil, and with partial shade. They can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 6-8.
Winter Heath is an early-blooming, dense shrub typically reaching heights of 6-12 inches. Preferred for its vibrant winter color, Winter Heath is a great groundcover and can be grown alone or in conjunction with other acid-loving shrubs and ornamentals.
Like other evergreen shrubs, Winter Heath prefers well-drained, acidic soils that are relatively low in nutrients. Provided the soil conditions are appropriate, Winter Heaths can be grown in a variety of climates, but perform best in USDA hardiness zones 5-7. Additionally, Winter Heath is well-known as an ornamental plant requiring relatively little care once established.
The Oregon grape, sometimes known as the Oregon Grape Holly, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that is native to western North America and is the state flower of Oregon. While not a true grape, it derives its name from its purple clusters of berries which closely resemble, well, grapes. It provides color throughout the year and blooms in spring with bright yellow flowers.
The Oregon Grape can grow 3-10 feet tall and stretch to a width of 2-5 feet. The Oregon Grape requires well-draining, acidic soil for optimal growth, and can be grown in full sun or full shade. This ornamental can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
You can find Oregon Grapes for sale on Amazon here.
The Bearberry is a smaller evergreen shrub, typically grown as a groundcover. In addition to its foliage, it is renowned for its clusters of small, red berries that provide color and texture throughout the winter months. It can grow 6-12" in height, and its shape tends to resemble that of a dense mate.
While preferring similar soils to other evergreen shrubs, Bearberry is uniquely noted for its salt tolerance, and as such can be grown in coastal gardens or near roadways in urban areas where salt may be applied in the winter months. The Bearberry prefers to be grown in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Bearberry can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 2-6.
The Blue Holly, also known as the Blue Princess Holly, is a broadleaf shrub often used as a hedgerow in ornamental plantings. When pollinated by a male Blue Holly, or Blue Prince Holly, this shrub produces the bright red berries commonly associated with holly plantings in landscape and garden design. When mature, the Blue Holly can grow up to 15 feet tall, and stretch to a width of 10 feet.
Blue Hollies grow best when planted in full sun, but can tolerate up to partial shade. This ornamental is tolerant of a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay, but grows best in slightly acidic soils. Compared to other evergreen shrubs, the Blue Holly prefers a slightly more humid environment. The Blue Holly can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-8.
You can find the Blue Princess Holly for sale on Amazon here.
Leucothoe is a broadleaf, low-growing shrub native to the southeastern United States. It is noted for it's dense, shiny foliage, and for the fragrant white flowers which bloom in spring. Leucothoe grows from 2-4' tall and up to 3-5' wide. Leucothoe is noted for being an especially low-maintenance addition to any landscape planting and requires little to no pruning or other care to remain abundant and beautiful throughout the year.
Leucothoe prefers soils much like other common evergreen shrubs; well-draining, and slightly acidic. Leucothoe grows best in full to partial shade but can be grown in more sun if sufficient irrigation is provided. This ornamental grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5-8.
The Cherry Laurel is an upright shrub or small tree native to the Eastern Mediterranean. The Cherry Laurel has been noted for its abundant spring blooms which fill the air around them with their fragrance. The Cherry Laurel can grow from 15-40' in height, and stretch to a 10-35' width. The size varies widely with type, so make sure to choose one that is the appropriate size for your project.
Requiring only occasional watering once established, the Cherry Laurel is a beautiful, and fragrant, ornamental for any garden. The Cherry Laurel prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soils with high fertility, and grows best when planted in full or partial sun. The Cherry Laurel is hardy from USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
You can find Cherry Laurel's for sale on Amazon here.
Yew is a common name given to a variety of shrubs and small trees. As a coniferous shrub, Yews produce cones instead of flowers. Female Yew plants will also produce small red berries when pollinated by a companion male Yew plant. Yews are an especially hardy plant and can thrive in a wide variety of climatic and soil conditions.
For optimal growth, Yews should be planted in full sun, but with proper care, they can be planted in full shade as well. Yews can grow up to 20' tall, and a width 0f 4-20' depending on the variety. Yews can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4-7.
Euonymus, sometimes called Wintercreeper, is easy to grow shrub native to East Asia. This ornamental can be grown as a shrub, a climbing vine, or as ground cover depending on how it is cared for. It climbs, or creeps, as a juvenile, and can reach heights of up to 15' if grown as a vine. Once it reaches adulthood, however, it ceases it's creeping. When grown as a shrub, Euonymus typically reaches 2-4' tall, and when grown as a ground cover, often grows to only 2-6" in height.
Euonymus is sometimes classified as an invasive plant, and thus special care must be taken to make sure it does not spread or climb into areas beyond its planting zone. This ornamental prefers partial to full sun and can tolerate a variety of soil types. Unlike most of the other evergreen shrubs we've mentioned, Euonymus prefers alkaline soils. Euonymus can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
The variety of Mugo Pine typically used in landscaping is a dwarf variety known as Mops. The Mugo Pine, native to mountainous regions throughout Europe, is often used in place of Juniper in landscaping and is noted for needle density and low growth pattern. When mature, the Mugo Pine can grow 3-5' tall and spread up to 10' wide. It is due to this quality that it is highly lauded as a relatively carefree ornamental shrub.
Mugo Pines can be grown in full sun to partial shade, and in soils that are well-draining but slightly moist. The Mugo Pine is in the middle of the road as far as soil acidity, preferring neutral to slightly alkaline or neutral to slightly acidic soils. Mature trees are quite drought-tolerant and can thrive with only occasional waterings. The Mugo Pine grows best in USDA hardiness zones 3-7.
You can find dwarf Mugo Pines for sale on Amazon here.
Viburnum, commonly known by the family name of Honeysuckle, are widespread shrubs popular with wildlife, and humans. As one of the most popular ornamental shrubs available, Viburnum's come in a wide variety of cultivars suited for all sorts of climatic and soil conditions. While variances exist, most Viburnums have white to pink flowers which are often fragrant. Viburnums work great as hedges, or in mass groupings.
Generally speaking, this plant prefers slightly acidic, fertile soil. Along with the hundreds of cultivar comes a wide variance in where they can be grown, but varieties exist that can be grown from USDA hardiness zones 2-9. You can find Viburnum for sale on Amazon here.
Leatherleaf Mahonia, also known as Beale's barberry, is a flowering shrub native to China. While having naturalized itself across much of the south and the southeastern United States, it is listed as invasive in several states, so be sure to check with your local USDA extension office before planting.
When mature, Mahonia can grow to heights of 8-12'. Bright yellow flowers develop in clusters in late winter or early spring, giving way to berry-like fruit that can vary in color from blue to red. Mahonia prefers full sun to partial shade and is tolerant of a variety of soil types.
You can find Mahonia plants for sale on Amazon here.
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of low-maintenance evergreen shrubs is Juniper. Perhaps best known as the flavoring in gin, Junipers come in an enormous variety of shapes, sizes, and foliage types. Junipers can be grown as ground cover, shrubs, or even small trees depending on which cultivar is selected. Hardy and tolerant of many soil conditions, Junipers grow best in well-drained soil, and when planted in full or partial sun.
While the specific zone varies with the cultivar, Junipers, in general, can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. Due to the number of varieties available, Juniper is an especially versatile and low-maintenance shrub for any landscaping project.
You can find ground cover Junipers for sale on Amazon here.