Evergreen plants are a staple in nearly any garden or landscape. These plants, whether needled or leaved, have foliage that does not drop. Many are blooming plants. The most well-known outdoor evergreen plants are trees, such as the pine tree--but there are many small, less-well-known evergreen plants that will make a wonderful addition to your outdoor landscape.
Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
Mugo pine (Pinus mugo) is unusual in that the same species can show widely different growth habits. Most mugo pine plants ground as a small, needled, rounded shrub. Some will spread in odd shapes, so pruning is recommended to keep the plant's neat form intact. Mugo pine plants with densely packed, numerous stems are considered to be the best when choosing one to purchase.
Wintergreen barberry (Berberris julianae
Wintergreen barberry (Berberris julianae) is popular for its hardiness and ease of growth. This small shrub, which blooms with tiny yellow flowers in the spring, has narrow, evergreen leaves. In the fall, the plant produces small dark blue berries. Wintergreen barberry has thorns on its branches, making it a nice barrier or hedge that will help keep unwanted intruders away from your garden.
This yew cultivar is a spreading variety, growing only about 3 feet tall at its maximum height. Densiformis is a needled evergreen and performs very well as a hedge. These outdoor evergreen plants are quite hardy and prefer moist, partially shaded soil.
Creeping and Spreading Junipers
Both of these types of junipers are small, outdoor needled evergreens. Creeping junipers creep along the surface of the land and are usually grown as a ground cover. They rarely grow more than 18 inches tall, but they are very wide and have rapid horizontal growth. The Blue Rug variety only grows to a height of 6 inches, but has a maximum width of 8 feet.
Spreading junipers are taller, with either arching branches or branches that extend straight out, giving them a flattened appearance. These junipers have an average height of 3 feet, and spread rapidly. The popular Blue Pfitzer will grow 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Both types of small junipers can have needles ranging in color from blue to green to silvery-gray, and even gold.