The Best Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs create year-round beauty to the landscape because they retain their colorful foliage when most other plants die down for the season. Grown in a wide range of shapes and sizes, drought- and heat-resistant shrubs are ideal. Also, choose evergreen shrubs that tolerate and grow well in a wide range of soil types.


Nandina (Nandina domestica) is an evergreen shrub that is drought-tolerant and has a moderate growth rate, creating an ideal evergreen shrub. It grows up to 8 feet tall and has a spread of 2 to 3 feet wide. Nandina shrubs have early summer-blooming white flowers that grow on erect 8- to 15-inch-long panicles that are followed by their bright red fall berries that persist into winter. The metallic blue to green bipinnate or tripinnate leaves grow 12 to 24 inches long and cast a red tinge in winter. Nandina shrubs require full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. They tolerate a wide range of soil varieties. Plant nandina in USDA zones 6 to 9.

Littleleaf Boxwood

Littleleaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla = B. sinica) is suitable to grow in USDA zones 6 to 9. As an evergreen shrub, it retains its foliage color all year long. Littleleaf boxwood has a compact, rounded form that is dense. It also has a slow growth rate to keep pruning down to a minimum. Littleleaf boxwood shrubs reach a maximum height and width of 4 feet, an ideal size for an evergreen landscape shrub. Littleleaf boxwood has spring-blooming, fragrant flowers that attract bumblebees to the garden. The bright green leaves grow up to 1-inch long and remain vibrant in the winter. Littleleaf boxwood is both drought-tolerant and easy to transplant. It requires full sun to part shade and well-drained soil to thrive.

Carissa Holly

Carissa holly (Ilex cornuta 'Carissa') is an evergreen shrub with a compact, dense form and mounded shape. It grows between 3 and 4 feet tall and has a spread of 4 to 6 feet wide. Carissa holly shrubs are both drought- and heat-tolerant, two ideal qualities in an evergreen shrub. The leather-like olive green leaves grow 2 to 3 inches long with a single terminal spine on each leaf. Carissa holly requires full sun to part shade and grows in a wide range of soil types, creating a versatile evergreen variety. Plant Carissa holly in USDA zones 7 to 9.

Keywords: best evergreen shrubs, nandina, littleleaf boxwood, Carissa holly

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.