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Evergreen shrubs belong in every normal garden. When all the flowers have withered and the autumn wind has swept the last leaves from the trees, they provide color in the dreary gray.

In a nutshell

  • evergreen and hardy shrubs are very durable
  • they keep their green foliage even in winter
  • thrive in different locations
  • some are toxic to humans and/or animals

Ground-covering species

Ground cover yew (Taxus baccata) 'Repandens'

  • flat, almost creeping, horizontally branched
  • up to 60 cm high and 180 cm wide
  • good tolerance for shade, endangered by late frost
  • dark green shoots, needles
  • fresh to moist soil in sunny locations
  • protect from extreme frosts and intense winter sun

fat man (Pachysandra terminalis)

  • Ground cover for semi-shady and shady locations
  • low, mat-shaped, spreading growth
  • tolerates strong root pressure
  • blooms from April to May
  • white spike-shaped flowers

Tip: The fat man reacts sensitively to compaction of the topsoil.

Large-leaved periwinkle (Vinca major)

  • mat-like growth, upright, arching, forming runners
  • about 20-30 cm high
  • Flowering time April to May
  • Cup-shaped, violet-blue flowers
  • Winter protection recommended in particularly rough locations

Tip: Both the greater and lesser periwinkle are poisonous.

Honeysuckle 'May Green' (Lonicera nitida)

  • fast-growing, tolerates pruning
  • ideal for shape cuts
  • Growth height up to 100 cm, up to 45 cm wide
  • cup-shaped creamy white flowers in May
  • locations that are as sheltered from the wind as possible

Tip: As an evergreen shrub, honeysuckle is an attractive substitute for boxwood.

Creeping honeysuckle (Lonicera pileata)

  • creeping ground covering growth
  • about 15-20 cm high, 30-40 cm wide
  • blooms from July to August
  • yellowish-white flowers with a delicate honey scent
  • Winter protection recommended in particularly rough locations

Creeping Spindle 'Emerald'n Gaiety' (Euonymus fortunei)

  • broad bushy, dense growth
  • up to 60 cm high and 80 cm wide
  • green and white variegated leaf dress
  • blooms from June to July
  • umbel-shaped, greenish-yellow flowers
  • inconspicuous fruits after flowering

Lavender (Lavandula)

true lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
  • bushy, richly branched semi-shrub
  • up to 40 cm high and wide
  • Leaves narrow linear, gray felty
  • Flowering period July-September
  • single, spike-shaped, violet flowers
  • Plant intensely fragrant

Lower Gaultheria (Gaultheria procumbens)

  • runner-forming with growth heights of up to 20 cm
  • dark green, reddish foliage in winter
  • Flowering time July to August
  • small, jug-shaped, white to pink flowers
  • red, berry-like fruits from autumn to spring

Snow Heather 'Antje' (Erica carnea)

  • new snow heather variety with unusual foliage colour
  • pure yellow in summer to bronze yellow in autumn/winter
  • creeping to ascending shoots
  • Growth height up to 30 cm, width up to 40 cm
  • Flowering time December to March
  • single pink bell-shaped flowers

Cotoneaster 'Radicans' (Cotoneaster dammeri)

  • creeping, densely branched growth
  • Growth height up to 15 cm, width up to 70 cm
  • Flowering time May to June
  • single, cupped, white to reddish flowers
  • red to light red fruits in late summer
  • Plant and fruits slightly poisonous

dwarf shrubs

Yellow-leaved Mountain Ilex 'Golden Gem' (Ilex crenata)

  • slow and wide-growing
  • up to 80 cm high
  • Leaves golden yellow when they shoot, later turning green
  • inconspicuous flowers from May to June
  • protect against draughts, especially in winter

Green cushion barberry 'nana' (Berberis buxifolia)

  • densely bushy, rounded up to 50 cm high
  • very compact, easy to cut
  • Flowering period from May to June
  • forms small clusters of yellow flowers
  • fruits rather rare

Slimeberry (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis)

  • flat, densely bushy growth
  • slow-growing, runner-forming
  • up to 40 cm high, 60-80 cm wide
  • dark green shiny leaves
  • Flowering period January to March
  • white, fragrant flowers
  • dark red to black fruits in summer, not edible

Snowy barberry (Berberis candidula)

  • densely bushy, hemispherical, cushion-like growth
  • up to 100 cm high and 160 cm wide
  • Leaves dark green, undersides snow-white
  • partly yellow-red in autumn
  • Flowering time May to early June
  • Flowers golden yellow, bell-shaped

Silvery santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)

  • bushy clump-forming growth
  • up to 50 cm high and wide
  • heavily pinnate, grey-white leaves
  • Flowers from July to August
  • single yellow umbellate flowers
  • protect from severe frosts

Grape Heather (Leucothoe) 'Scarletta'

  • bushy, densely sprouted dwarf shrub
  • Growth height up to 40 cm, width up to 80 cm
  • Foliage scarlet in spring, green in summer, burgundy in fall
  • reddish-bronze shoots
  • blooms from May to June
  • fragrant white flower clusters

Dwarf Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) 'Lodense'

  • low, dense growth
  • robust and site tolerant
  • up to 100 cm high and wide
  • red-brown foliage in late autumn
  • Flowering time June to July
  • single white paniculate flowers
  • Alternative to the boxwood hedge

Dwarf Rhododendron (Rhododendron impeditum)

  • densely branched growth
  • up to 45 cm high, 80 cm wide
  • Leaves are bluish when they shoot, later grey-green to blue-grey
  • exudes a spicy scent
  • Flowering period early to late May
  • small light purple flowers

small shrubs

Sacred Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

  • loosely upright growing
  • up to 200 cm high, 180 cm wide
  • multipinnate foliage
  • slightly reddish in winter
  • Flowering time June to July
  • single white paniculate flowers
  • red berries in winter

Evergreen magnolia 'Summer Snowflake' (Magnolia dianica)

  • Jewel with compact growth
  • Growth height maximum 200 cm
  • dark green foliage
  • graceful white, porcelain-like flowers from May to July
  • give off an enchanting scent
  • protect young plants from severe frost

Tip: This pretty evergreen shrub should not be pruned.

Bay Cherry 'Etna' (R) (Prunus laurocerasus)

  • Grows upright, branched
  • up to 200 cm wide, 150 cm wide
  • Leaf surface smooth and glossy
  • Shoots bronze, later dark green
  • blooms from May to June

Bay viburnum 'Eve Price' (Viburnum tinus)

  • densely bushy, well-branched shrub
  • up to 200 cm high
  • dark green, narrow, ovate leaves
  • blooms from January to March
  • simple, slightly fragrant, white-pink umbrella clusters
  • from August oval, blue-grey fruits

sack flower (Ceanothus)

  • bushy, branched subshrub
  • Height from 100-200 cm
  • dark green glossy foliage
  • blooms tirelessly from July until frost
  • deep blue globular inflorescences

Shadowbell 'Mountain Fire' (Pieris japonica)

  • slow-growing, compact, height of growth 120-160 cm
  • Shoots in different shades of red, later turning green
  • Flowering time late March to May
  • single white paniculate inflorescences, pendulous
  • sheltered location recommended

Shrub Ivy 'Arborescens' (Hedera helix)

  • erect, compact, non-climbing form of ivy
  • Growth heights up to 200 cm
  • Foliage heart-shaped, glossy, slightly wavy
  • simple yellow-green umbel-shaped flowers from September to October
  • slightly toxic

medium-tall species

Firethorn 'Orange Glow' (Pyracantha coccinea)

  • sparse, narrow, upright, up to 350 cm high
  • glossy dark green, ovate, leathery leaves
  • Flowering period late May to June
  • single white cupped flowers
  • decorative, orange-red fruits from late summer

Spring osmanthus (Osmanthus burkwoodii)

  • broad bushy, densely branched, up to 300 cm high
  • dark green foliage
  • Flowering time April to May
  • single white, racemose flowers with an incomparable fragrance
  • sheltered location recommended

Wrinkled viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum)

  • Loose, stiffly upright, up to 400 cm tall
  • arching overhanging branches
  • Leaves dark green, undersides felted
  • Flowering time May to June
  • up to 20 cm wide, flat white umbrella panicles

Holly 'Silverqueen' (Ilex aquifolium)

  • elegant slim growth
  • at the age up to 400 cm
  • Leaves mottled gray-green, with white serrated edges
  • creamy-white flowers from early May to early June
  • decorative orange-red fruits
  • Light coverage recommended in very cold winters

Star Jasmine 'Star of Toscane' (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

  • well-branched, upright, dense, bushy climber
  • up to 300 cm high
  • blooms from May to September
  • simple small, pinwheel-like flowers
  • initially white later bright yellow
  • give off an intense, lovely scent

Tip: This evergreen climbing shrub needs a trellis.

Evergreen hardy large shrubs

Cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii)

  • Large shrub or tree up to 500 cm tall
  • smooth, white-green bark
  • Foliage silvery-blue to green, unmistakable scent
  • young leaves rounded, older ones lanceolate
  • Flowering after seven years at the earliest
  • creamy-white scented, in umbels
  • Winter protection in severe frost

Shrub Scots Pine 'watereri' (Pinus sylvestris)

  • broadly conical when young
  • later irregular, dense, umbrella-like, more rounded
  • Branches prostrate to arching upwards
  • Growth height 400-600 cm
  • Needles shimmering gray-blue to steel-blue
  • elongated cones

White holly 'Argentea Marginata' (Ilex aquifolium)

  • compact, sprawling, pyramidal growth
  • slow growing wild form
  • up to 700 cm high
  • dark green leaves with white serrated margins
  • creamy white flowers from May to June
  • from October red fruits

frequently asked Questions

Do evergreen shrubs need pruning?

While ornamental trees such as magnolia or Japanese maple should not be pruned at all or only in exceptional cases, others need regular pruning, for example to be shaped, to stimulate growth, to rejuvenate or to bloom more lushly.

When is the best time to plant shrubs?

In general, most shrubs can be planted in autumn and spring. Planting in spring is ideal for somewhat more frost-sensitive shrubs, and in autumn for hardy species. Planting in summer is not recommended.

How often should new plantings be watered?

New plantings have a higher water requirement. The soil should be noticeably damp. In the first year you water once a week with at least ten liters, from the second as needed.

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