Even the lushest garden can disappoint in the winter after plants lose their blooms and drop their leaves to the ground. To avoid these winter doldrums, experienced gardeners add some evergreen bushes to their landscape. Flowering evergreen shrubs bloom along with other plants in the spring, summer and fall but keep their green foliage all year long. Adding them to your garden will give you something attractive to admire through your window until the weather warms enough to get back to playing in the dirt.
Privacy Screening Pros
Because they keep their leaves year-round, evergreen shrubs make great natural privacy fences and hedges. Reaching heights of 8 to 12 feet, you can grow scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) as a stand-alone hedge or easily train it onto a chain link fence.
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In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, this sun-loving evergreen produces white flower clusters in summer and bright berries in the fall. Its leaves remain all winter to protect your privacy, as do its thorns, which may help convince the neighbor's cat to stay out of your yard.
Growing 10 feet tall, Japanese pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira) also makes a great privacy hedge. Found in zones 8 through 10, the pittosporum isn't particular about its soil and tolerates salt spray when planted near the coast. This evergreen bush produces heavily scented white flowers in the spring but is prized for its attractive green and white leaves. Plant your Japanese pittosporum in full sun or part shade.
Shade-Loving Evergreen Shrubs
If you're looking to fill a shady spot, look no further than the beautiful pieris (Pieris spp.). If you plant a pieris in a shady spot and keep its soil constantly moist, the pieris will give you long cascades of white and pink flowers every spring. Perfect for acidic soils, the pieris is a perennial in zones 4 through 8, depending on species, and requires very little care.
Another shade lover that thrives on acidic soil is the azalea (Rhododendron spp.). Although there are also deciduous azaleas, such as Florida azalea (Rhododendron austrinum, zones 7-9), which lose their leaves in autumn, evergreen azaleas maintain their rich green foliage in the winter and produce bright flowers early in the spring that are nothing short of stunning. Hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, depending on species and cultivar, azaleas work quite well as foundation plantings but work anywhere you want a pop of spring color. Camellia (Camellia spp., zones 5 to 10, depending on species and cultivar) is another shade-loving evergreen flowering shrub.
Dwarf Evergreen Shrub
Gardeners who want to get a big impact from a small space often plant daphnes (Daphne spp.). While its mature height is between 1 to 5 feet, depending on species, a daphne puts on quite a show each spring and fall by producing copious amounts of sweet flowers. Daphnes grow best in sun or part sun and are perennials in USDA zones 4 through 9, depending on species and cultivar. If you want to plant daphne as an evergreen shrub addition to your landscape, make sure it's an evergreen species or cultivar, because some selections are deciduous.