Dwarf evergreen flowering shrubs are excellent for planting around a house foundation or creating low-growing borders. Finding a shrub that fits the criteria of being dwarfed, evergreen and flowering may seem daunting, but you’d be surprised at how many different varieties exist. Many of these shrubs are also quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of environments.
Dwarf Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)
Many different cultivated varieties of azaleas are dwarf, offering white, pink and purplish flowers. Dwarf azaleas are early-spring bloomers with evergreen foliage that usually grow to less than 4 feet tall and wide. Dwarf azaleas are best planted in groups of three, as foundation plantings or as low borders. Most azaleas are extremely hardy and can withstand temperatures well below 0 degrees F.
Dwarf heather (Calluna sp.) offers flower colors ranging from white to reddish and evergreen foliage that changes color in autumn. Growing to less than 12 inches tall, heather blooms throughout the summer and early fall. You can plant dwarf heather as groundcover or a foundation plant, in full sun or partial shade. Most heather shrubs can tolerate minimum annual temperatures down to -15 degrees F (U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone 5).
Balkan Spike Heath (Bruckenthalia spiculifolia)
Balkan spike heath grows to only 10 inches tall with needle-like evergreen leaves. This dwarf shrub blooms in mid-June with pale-colored, pinkish or white flowers atop spikes. The flowers are bell-shaped and can bloom full sun or partial shade. Balkan spike heath shrubs look best in a trough planter or rock garden and can withstand winter temperatures down to -5 degrees (Zone 6).
Rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum)
Also growing to only 10 inches tall and spreading to create a dense mat is rose daphne. Rose daphne is an evergreen shrub that blooms in clusters of fragrant, bright rosy-pink flowers. This dwarf shrub is best for groundcover, low-growing foundation plantings or rock gardens and can grow in climates down to USDA Hardiness Zone 5.
Spring Heath (Erica carnea)
Reaching only 6 to 12 inches in height is the spring heath, a dwarf evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves. Spring heath blooms from January until May with upright racemes of white to pink or red flowers. Spring heath can grow in full sun to light shade and tolerates winter temperatures down to -15 degrees (Zone 5).
Irish Heath (Daboecia cantabrica)
A 1 1/2-foot flowering evergreen, Irish heath has purple or white blossoms that bloom throughout the summer months. This shrub has glossy upper leaf surfaces and white fuzzy undersides. Irish heath is hardy down to about -10 degrees (Zone 5b or 6a), but only if the shrub is planted in a protected location. This shrub flourishes in bog-like, moist soils.
Compact Oregon Hollygrape (Mahonia aquifolium ‘Compactum’)
The compact Oregon hollygrape has evergreen leaves that turn bronze in winter and produce spike-like, bright-yellow flowers in early May. This dwarf shrub produces bluish-black fruits during the summer and autumn. The compact Oregon hollygrape grows up to 3 feet tall at most, but it can spread up to 5 feet wide. This shrub can tolerate winter temperatures as cold as -10 degrees (Zone 5b).
Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)
The sheep laurel shrub blooms in June and July with clusters of bell-shaped, pink and purple or sometimes white flowers. Reaching a height of 3 feet, the sheep laurel has evergreen foliage and can grow easily in wetter soils. The sheep laurel tends to resemble the mountain laurel, bog laurel and pink azalea. This open-crowned shrub is native to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, withstanding temperatures below -50 degrees (Zone 1).
Dwarf Drooping Leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Nana’)
If you’re searching for a dwarf evergreen flowering shrub that will grow well in the shade, the dwarf drooping leucothoe is the plant for you. The dwarf drooping leucothoe blooms in early June with small, white waxy flowers and its evergreen leaves turn bronze in the fall. This shrub reaches just 2 feet tall. Native to the mountains of the southeastern United States, the dwarf drooping leucothoe tolerates winter cold down to -25 degrees (Zone 4).