Beyond Conifers: 10 Evergreens You Should Try

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Think winter and immediately the forest greens of pines and spruces come to mind. But as beloved as these evergreens are, they aren’t the only plants that offer year-round color. Here are ten evergreens that aren’t the usual conifers but should find a place in your winter garden:

1. Lenten or Christmas rose

(Helleborus species)

Helleborus - Lenten or Christmas rose

These evergreen perennials have it all going for them: they love shady spots, they bloom with large colorful flowers in late winter or early spring, and they hold onto their graceful green foliage year-round. The beautifully cut foliage of the Lenten rose adds wonderful texture and interest to shaded spaces.

2. English ivy

(Hedera helix)

Hedera helix - English Ivy

A quick growing evergreen great for covering walls and fences. English ivy stays green even if the ground around it is covered with snow.

3. Pieris

(Pieris japonica)

Pieris japonica - Japanese Pieris, lily of the valley shrub

This evergreen shrub, also known as the lily of the valley shrub, brings a touch of the exotic to the garden year-round. It cascades with red, pink, and white flowers in early spring then, depending on the variety, bristles with interesting new growth. And, of course, it keeps its verdant foliage through all seasons.

4. Holly

(Ilex species)

Ilex species - Holly

Most gardeners looking for year-round color turn to holly, many varieties of which are evergreen with glossy leaves and bright fruits.

5. Golden euonymus

(Euonymus fortunei)

Euonymus fortunei - Golden Euonymus

Like English ivy, the golden euonymus is a wonderful way to bring winter color to your groundcover, walls, and fences.

6. Boxwood

(Buxus species)

Buxus species - Boxwood

A dense evergreen shrub, available in a variety of leaf patterns and colors, boxwood is prized by gardeners as an easy-to-care-for addition to any landscape, no matter the season.

7. Wintergreen

(Gaultheria procumbens)

Gaultheria procumbens - Wintergreen

Like the name says, this low-growing shrub keeps its glossy leaves year-round, and an added bonus: wintergreen shrubs produces attractive bright red berries.

8. Dwarf myrtle

(Myrtus communis compacta)

Myrtus communis compacta - Dwarf myrtle

Dwarf myrtle is a compact evergreen shrub, beloved for centuries for its summer flowers and berries, but equally valuable for the green it adds to the winter landscape.

9. Bearberry

(Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Bearberry

Bearberry loves the colder growing regions. It blossoms in delicate pink flowers in spring followed by attractive red berries, all against glossy green evergreen leaves.

10. Pyracantha

(Pyracantha hybrids)


And for those regions too warm to sustain bearberry, why not grow pyracantha, another evergreen that sports flowers followed by colorful berries?

Of course, winter is the time for the greens of the conifers to shine. But you’d be making a mistake if you limit the evergreens in your landscape design to these bushes and trees. Mix it up with one or more of these ten evergreens to create a cold season garden that is both green and varied in its textures and patterns.

Looking for a great
way to add structure, flowers and fragrance to a landscape? The answer is
shrubs! Click here to learn more about how to identify, grow and maintain shrubs. There are lots of choices, whether you have a large landscape or just a small space.


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