Evergreens are plants that keep their color throughout the year. Many of them thrive in shade, ranging from flowering dogwoods to hostas, which have colorful, interesting foliage in any season. If you have a shady area in which to plant, choose from many evergreen selections that enjoy shade. In particular, azaleas, which are part of the larger rhododendron family (all of which love shade), can give you year-round foliage and a showy bloom in early spring.
A popular flowering, shade evergreen, particularly in the South, azaleas (Rhododendron) are available in many varieties, ranging from dwarf versions to tall, hedge-like plants. Azaleas remain evergreen through the winter and flower in early spring. Blooms range in color from pink and purple, to white. Some varieties, including Kaempferi hybrids, have been bred to survive in Zone 5, but azaleas are most common in zones 7 and higher.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a tree native to the Eastern Seaboard, from New England to Florida. Flowering dogwood may reach 40 feet and is available with blooms in white, pink or red. The state tree of Virginia, this tree produces a profusion of blooms before leaves expand. The oval-shaped leaves are green and glossy before turning to red in the fall and dropping. An inedible, red fruit is then produced. Cherokee Chief (red blooms), Rainbow (white blooms) and Pendula, which has a weeping look, are available. Flowering dogwood is hardy in zones 5-9a.
A tried-and-true shade evergreen, hostas (Funkia) are a member of the Liliaceae family and are available in an enormous number of varieties, including Antioch (green leaves with cream-colored edges), Frances Williams (blue-gray leaves with yellow edges) or Krossa Regal (frosty blue leaves). These leaves on these perennials may be heart-shaped, lance-shaped, oval or round and grow on individual stalks. A mounding plant, hostas can grow to 5 feet. Though hostas are shade lovers, they can survive in the sun in cool-summer areas. Hostas perform well in zones 3-9.
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