Evergreen Shrubs

Many evergreen shrubs are easy to grow and provide form and structure to the garden. Because evergreens are always in leaf, they add garden interest all the year round without too much hard work.

As with all shrubs, there is a significant variation in size even within the same group of shrubs, such as the Rhododendron group,  so before you buy it's best to check the eventual size of that variety. Shrubs can grow large and overgrow the border crowding out other plants.  Many evergreens have excellent foliage such as Euonymus, Escallonia and Camellia, others are grown for their flowers, such as the stunning blue of the Ceanothus.  The lovely Choisya has it all, attractive foliage with lovely creamy white flowers which are sweetly scented, making it a must for any garden.

Most evergreen shrubs are low maintenance and easy to grow, which is why they are so popular.  Some shrubs are totally evergreen but others such as the Hypericum may vary depending on growing conditions and be deciduous in colder areas. Many of the familiar evergreen shrubs also have deciduous varieties, I have included some for ease of reference.

The other point to check when buying evergreen shrubs for your garden is the hardy rating, whilst many evergreen shrubs are fully hardy some are less hardy. The Ceanothus illustrated is lovely but only  H3 hardy and so not suitable for all gardens, but ideal for coastal and sheltered gardens.  

Below are images and links for easy to grow Evergreen Shrubs and Bushes with advice on what to pick for your garden.

What does frost Hardy Mean?



Although Euonymus has flowers as in the image, it is generally grown for its bright foliage which can really lift a gloomy corner of the garden. There are a number of Euonymus to choose from.

Illustrated is E. fortunei 'Emerald n Gold' Very easy to grow, tolerant of most conditions, soils and maintenance free.

Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica

Another Evergreen Shrub not grown for its flowers is Garrya elliptica common name Silk Tassel bush, which has lovely long tassels in winter. It is easy to grow and whilst often described as not fully hardy I have seen it growing in cold areas of UK as long as it is not waterlogged. 



Ceanothus produces blue flowers and is teamed up here with Clematis montana, an ideal combination both flowering late spring. Ceanothus is slightly tender and dislikes cold drying winds, more advice and growing tips.



Escallonia illustrated here and top right is a lovely evergreen, with glossy leaves and attractive flowers in the late spring early and summer. Escallonia also makes a lovely hedge.

The only drawback is Escallonia is slightly tender and needs a sheltered spot.



There are so many Rhododendrons to choose from, ranging from small Azalea to large Rhododendrons so big as to be small trees.  Rhododendrons will respond well to a hard prune if they overgrow their space. Generally, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are easy to grow their only requirement is acid soil and they have bright, strongly coloured flowers.


Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium, common name Holly, is another bright evergreen with the additional benefit of berries. It is slow growing and varieties need to be picked carefully to ensure berries are produced. You need a mix of male and female and the names are confusing -  for tips and advise. 



Choisya is a great garden shrub.It combines many virtues being easy to grow, evergreen with glossy leaves and lots of sweetly scented flowers in late spring and early summer.

It's common name is Mexican Orange blossom because of its very lovely scent.



Cistus common name Rock Rose is a small to medium sizes shrub evergreen in most areas but may be semi-evergreen in colder areas.

It has a preference for sunny dry growing conditions and rewards with many flowers over a long period in the summer.

Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo,  latin name Nandina domestica  is not a bamboo at all but a lovely well behaved evergreen with white flowers followed by red berries. 

Many varieties have a delicate arching habit. 

viburnum tinus


There are many Viburnums to choose from, many of which are evergreen. This is V. tinus, very easy to grow maintenance free and which has lovely white flowers and dark green foliage. 


Mahonia in flower

A tough shrub ideal for growing in difficult places. Mahonia has spikey foliage and yellow flowers in the winter, with some scented varieties. 


Pink Camellia with leaves

Camellia when planted in the right place has lovely glossy leaves and beautiful flowers. Camellia must be grown on acid soil and have particular growing requirements. Camellia are tricky to get right and the flowers  can look blighted by bad weather.


Pittosporum tenifolium 'Gold star'

Pittosporum is a compact evergreen shrub, which is slightly tender. Many varieties have variegated leaves, illustrated is Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Gold star' and some have scented flowers. Pittosporum is an ideal garden sized shrub for a mixed border and easy to grow.

last updated 03.11.2021