Types of Evergreen Trees and Plants

Evergreen trees and plants retain their needles and foliage all year to provide warmth to the landscape. Grown in a vast range of varieties, shapes and sizes, evergreens create a commanding landscape presence that often complements surrounding plants and flowers. Evergreens help to bring in height and fill in areas of the garden with fullness. For optimal growth, ensure the evergreens have excellent soil drainage.

Cedars

Blue atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'), an evergreen cedar variety, has a rapid growth rate and medium to fine texture. Growing 60 to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide, blue atlas cedars cast dense shade to the garden below. As a young tree, the blue atlas has a stiff, open habit that, as the tree matures, changes to a pyramidal flat-topped shape. The narrow spiraled needles grow up to 1 inch long and are thicker than most other cedars. Blue atlas cedar trees require full sun to part shade and tolerate a wide range of soil varieties including, clay, dry and sandy soil. They do not tolerate wet soil. Plant in USDA zones 6 to 9. Another cedar tree variety is the Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodora). Growing 40 to 70 feet wide and 30 to 40 feet tall, deodar cedar trees have a pyramidal shape with pendulous branches and fine texture. The blue to green needles on deodar cedars have sharp pointed needles that grow 1 to 2 inches long. Deodar cedars grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Plant in USDA zones 7 to 8.

Spruces

Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) trees are slow to medium growing evergreen trees. Growing 30 to 90 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide, Colorado spruce trees have a dense, pyramidal shape with horizontal branches that are stiff and narrow. The prickly blue to silver-green needles are four sided and grow over 1 inch long. Drought-tolerant, Colorado spruce trees grow best in full sun and require well-drained, moist soil. They tolerate a wide range of soil types. Plant in USDA zones 2 to 7a. The red spruce (Picea rubes) has a slow to moderate growth rate and medium texture. Growing 60 to 70 feet tall, red spruce trees have a conical crown that is broad. The green, four-sided needles grow ½ inch long, and the green to purple cones grow up to 2 inches wide. Red spruces trees do not tolerate summer heat and grow best in full sun and well-drained soil that has a moderate amount of moisture. Plant in USDA zones 2 to 5.

Boxwoods

Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs with a wide range of varieties. Green gem boxwood (Buxus 'Green Gem') is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with medium texture and a dense, rounded form. Growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, green gem boxwoods have shiny, dark green leaves. They require full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soils to thrive. Plant in USDA zones 7 to 9. English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa') is an evergreen shrub with a very slow growth rate and dense, rounded form. Growing 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide, English boxwood shrubs have lustrous dark green foliage that grows just under 1 inch long. In winter, English boxwood foliage often casts an orange tinge to each leaf. English boxwood requires part shade and well-drained soil. Plant in USDA zones 5 to 8.

Keywords: types of evergreens, blue atlas cedar, deodar cedar tree, Colorado spruce, English boxwood

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in Travels.com and GardenGuides.com and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and Forbes.com.