Top Evergreens for Landscaping

Evergreen trees and shrubs are among the most popular ornamental landscaping picks because they provide year-round color and require little care. The Arbor Day Foundation offers several suggestions on the most popular evergreens for landscaping. If you have identified the U.S. plant hardiness aone where you live and the height and width of the area you want your evergreen(s) to fill, selecting the evergreens that will meet your needs and satisfy your taste can be an adventure in landscaping. The top evergreens for your land will depend on size, location, climate and the site, according to the University of Minnesota.

Norway Spruce

The Norway spruce grows naturally into its Christmas tree shape. This drought-tolerant giant reaches around 50 feet at maturity. It will grow in just about any soil conditions and thrive in full or partial sun. It is tolerant of frigid weather and grows best in zones 2 through 7. For a wind barrier, plant Norway spruce trees 8 to 10 feet apart.

Douglas Fir

A popular Christmas tree known for its soft blue-green needles and marvelous scent, the Douglas fir is native to rocky mountain conditions. Its average maturity height is over 60 feet if planted in a landscape, but it will grow much taller, to more than 100 feet, in its natural setting. The Douglas fir prefers well-drained acidic soil in a sunny spot. Plant in zones 4 through 6.

Eastern Red Cedar

Also known as the Red Juniper, the Eastern red cedar is actually a member of the cypress family. These drought-tolerant trees mature to an average height of 45 feet and grow at a rate of about a foot each year. They produce berries, which serve as a favorite food for birds. Eastern red cedars require acidic soil to flourish and prefer full sun. Plant in zones 2 through 9.

Leyland Cypress

Planted 6 feet apart, this giant cypress will create a privacy wall in your yard in just a few years. They grow three to four feet each year, until they reach a mature height of 60 to 70 feet with an average 20-foot spread. The Leyland has feathery, soft needles on flat branches and grows into a pyramid shape. It will adapt to any soil and is drought-tolerant. It grows best in zones 6 through 10.

Bar Harbor Juniper Shrub

This low-growing juniper's colors change with the seasons. Its natural blue tint turns red to purple during the colder months. A creeping, spreading shrub grows approximately a foot per year. It is tolerant of most soil conditions and enjoys full sun. The Bar Harbor Juniper is an excellent choice for ground cover or landscape borders in zones 3 through 9.

Azalea Formosa Shrub

This flowering evergreen shrub is a favorite in the South. The formosa variety blossoms with 3-inch magenta flowers each spring; however, other varieties of azaleas bloom in white, pink or lavender. Azaleas prefer rich, well-drained, acidic soil, and thrive in partial or full sun in zones 8 through 10. Without pruning, azaleas will reach 6 to 8 feet in height with a 6-foot spread.

Common Boxwood Shrub

This boxwood is often used for hedges, as its dense growth makes it easy to shape. Its naturally round shape will reach around 15 feet in height and diameter at maturity if you don't shear it. It tolerates a variety of soil conditions if the soil drains well. The common boxwood flourishes in zones 8 through 10.

Golden Globe Arborvitae Shrub

This naturally round shrub makes a striking impression when planted in a row. Its outer foliage is golden, while the inner foliage is bright green. Reaching a mature height of about 3 feet, the Golden Globe grows an average of 6 inches per year and thrives in zones 5 through 9. It prefers well-drained, average to acidic soil.

Keywords: evergreen shrubs, evergreen trees, evergreen privacy screens

About this Author

Susan Steen graduated from the University of New Orleans, where she earned a B.A. in sociology and a certification in social work. She has been a freelance and contract writer for 22 years. Her work has been published in “Evidence Technology Magazine,” “Louisiana Bar Journal,” the Cobblestone children’s educational publications “Faces” and “Appleseeds,” the Waterford Literacy Program, and a variety of websites.