Broad-leaved evergreens are a beautiful addition to the landscape for all season interest and are an excellent addition to just about any space. There are numerous varieties to choose from, ranging in color, size and shape, with several dwarf varieties available. Mainly known for their attractive foliage, many also produce springtime blooms for additional interest. Here are ten of my all-time favorite broad-leaved evergreens with descriptions, planting requirements and hardiness.
Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
'Gold Dust' Japanese Aucuba displays striking gold variegated foliage and is perfect for shadier areas in the garden. Hardy in USDA zones 6-10, Aucuba grows to a height and width of 4-6 feet and prefers to be grown in partial to full shade. The beautiful bright green foliage is so heavily speckled with gold that it displays an overall yellow-green appearance. Female plants may produce berries if a male pollinator such as Aucuba 'Mr. Goldstrike' is planted nearby.
|Ilex crenata Hoogendorn (Holly)|
There are many varieties of holly available in a range of shapes and sizes to choose from. An excellent choice for use in foundation plantings, shrub borders, as a low hedge or in mass plantings, Ilex ‘Hoogendorn’ is a dense low growing and compact evergreen with excellent dark green shiny flat leaves. Hardy in USDA zones 6-9, this species of holly has impressive cold resistance and is very reminiscent of boxwood. Ilex ‘Hoogendorn’ is a moderate grower, displaying a mounding habit, while reaching a mature size of just 2 feet high by 3 feet wide.
|Leucothoe 'Axillaris' (Coast Leucothoe)|
Leucothoe is an attractive low-growing, evergreen shrub displaying a spreading, vase-like shape with arching branches. Hardy in USDA zones 5-8, this shrub features thick, shiny, dark green leaves with clusters of slightly fragrant, heather-like, white flowers which appear in mid-spring. In winter, leaves turn a purplish-bronze hue, adding even more interest to the landscape. Leucothoe matures to a height of 2-4 feet tall and width of 3-5 feet wide, and prefers to be grown in partial to full shade.
|Buxus 'Green Gem' (Boxwood)|
Boxwood is an easy to grow evergreen, available in many shapes and sizes, and suitable for a range of conditions from full sun to partial shade. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, this variety, 'Green Gem’, is a more compact slow-grower, reaching a height of just 2 feet tall by wide. This mounding evergreen displays an almost perfectly round-naturally oval form and dense foliage makes it perfect for low hedges or for use in a foundation planting. Oval glossy dark green leaves hold their color well in winter.
|Euonymus 'Silver King'|
There are many varieties of Euonymus and ‘Silver King’ is one of the most versatile. Hardy in USDA zones 6-9, ‘Silver King’ displays silvery white margins on glossy green leaves in an upright narrow habit that adds unique color and texture to the landscape. Euonymus prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade with moderate watering. Shrub size averages 5-9 feet tall by 2-3-foot wide and can be maintained at a desired height. This shrub serves nicely being grouped to form a low screen and tolerates poor soils and heat.
|Skimmia japonica (Female plant bears berries)|
Skimmia japonica is an excellent small evergreen shrub for shady areas, especially where deer damage can be an issue. Foliage is dark green with bright red berries that form on female plants in fall and often last throughout winter. Foliage turns to a bronze hue in autumn, adding color to the landscape. Skimmia is hardy within USDA zones 6-9, prefers partial to full shade, a moist acidic soil rich in organic matter and moderate watering. The plant stays compact at 3-4 feet high by wide and has a low, mounding habit. A male pollinator is required nearby for the female plants to bear fruit.
Azalea 'Gumpo' is a dwarf compact evergreen hardy in USDA zones 7-9 that displays showy salmon-pink blooms in late spring. This low growing hybrid reaches a compact height and width of just 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide, making it an excellent candidate for use in foundation plantings, woodland settings and in planters. 'Gumpo' prefers to be grown in filtered sun, such as an area with morning sun and afternoon shade, and requires moderate watering. This versatile plant can have a range of uses in the landscape.
|Rhododendron catawbiense 'English Roseum'|
Rhododendron is a popular dense-growing evergreen shrub which is highly valued by many. Rhododendron 'English Roseum' displays oblong leathery dark green foliage which is accompanied by large trusses of trumpet-shaped lilac-pink showy flowers in mid-late spring. This variety of rhododendron is hardy in USDA zones 4-8, prefers full sun to partial shade and moderate watering. ‘English Roseum’ is a moderate grower, reaching a height and width of 6-8 feet in the landscape.
Skip Laurel is a popular evergreen shrub with a narrow habit, making it an excellent choice for backdrops and screenings where space is limited. Skip Laurel is hardy in USDA zones 6-8, can be grown in a variety of conditions ranging from full sun to full shade and prefers moderate watering. White spire-like flowers accompany the dark foliage in mid-spring, adding excellent interest, especially in shady locations. Skip Laurel grows to a height of 8-10 feet tall by 4-8 feet wide and should be provided with adequate drainage.
|Pieris Cavatine (Dwarf Andromeda)|
Japanese Andromeda ‘Cavatine’ is a cold hardy, dwarf version of Andromeda. This small, low mounding evergreen is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and provides year-round interest in the landscape. In early spring, the shrub is almost completely covered with bell-shaped, creamy white blooms that resemble Lilly of the Valley, followed by attractive dark green foliage throughout the rest of the season. ‘Cavatine’ is slow growing, reaching a height of just 18-24 inches tall by 24-30 inches wide and prefers partial to full shade.
For information on winter care of broad-leaved evergreens, visit
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Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,©Copyright 2010-2019. All rights reserved.