Three Evergreen Ornamental Shrubs

Evergreen Ornamental Shrubs: 3 Garden Favourites

Shrubs with evergreen foliage and attractive flowers are the bones of good landscaping. But do you know which ones will do well with your climate and conditions? If you are looking for evergreen shrubs that are versatile, beautiful and easy to grow, here are three of my favorites.

Pieris Japonica

One of my favorite landscaping shrubs is Pieris Japonica. A part of the heath or Ericaceae family, this medium sized evergreen shrub is best planted in a semi-shady spot that receives only partial sun. However, I have two specimens that have for thrived for several years in a sunny spot.evergreen ornamental shrubs

One of the first shrubs to flower in spring, its drooping clusters of pink buds form during fall and winter and open to clusters of white bell-like flowers. Once the shrub flowers, the new foliage emerges from the leaf buds as a bronzy red or creamy pink cluster. The brightly coloured new leaves darken as they age,  through a light green to their permanent dark green.

Its pretty spring foliage colors and attractive pendulous flower clusters make Pieris a good ornamental. Larger varieties will grow slowly to a height of eight feet. The branches tend to mound, filling in space right to the ground. Smaller varieties do well in containers.

Here are two of my favorite varietals:

Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’: New foliage growth is a brilliant red that turns dark green as it matures. In spring, expect drooping clusters of white flowers.

Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’: This has green leaves with white margins, giving it year round interest. Its drooping flower clusters are white.

If you live in zones 5 and above, consider adding Pieris Japonica to your landscaping.


Escallonia-Pink-Elle-lades-plantThe top favorite evergreen shrub in my garden is Escallonia, native to South America. This fast growing species loves a sunny spot, and responds well to frequent pruning. Indeed, pruning is necessary, since they can grow up to four feet in one season!

They have glossy deep green leaves and 5-petaled small flowers that grow in clusters.

Escallonia prefer a mild climate, and winters with extended freezing may kill them. However, two of mine froze to the ground in one of our cold coastal winters, and during the next summer they sprang back. Once again, they are gorgeous mounds of glossy green and pink.

Escallonia has many species, all with blossoms that will often appear continuously. Pink Princess has small clusters of pink flowers at branch tips throughout the year, even during our mild west coast winters.

Red Elf is another variety, with a looser habit, smaller leaves and tiny clusters of deep red blooms. The blooms are attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

It is easy to propagate Escallonia by taking semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer, setting them into potting soil and keeping them in a sun-free and moist environment. Most will root by fall, or at least by the following spring, and you’ll quickly have new plants to give away or place in your own garden.

Plant these gorgeous evergreen ornamental shrubs if you live in zones 5 and above.


One last favorite evergreen shrub in my gardens is Ceanothus, the most common variety often called California lilac. This is another quick growing shrub, with small dark green leaves and masses of deep blue flower clusters in late spring through early summer. I have found this shrub to be fairly hardy, but, like Escallonia, extreme periods of frost are not well tolerated.

CeanothusCeanothus likes a spot in full sun, and will not tolerate over watering. It thrives in dry summers, and I have found that sandy well drained soil, with some humus added as they are planted, is the best situation for them.

Some Ceanothus can grow up to ten feet, with a dense and bushy growth. They can also be pruned as a small tree. Other varieties are recumbent, never growing more that a foot tall, but spreading over several feet.

Depending on your needs, you can choose Ceanothus as specimen plants, hedge plants or even ground covers. Truly a versatile and very attractive choice of shrub.

If you haven’t yet become familiar with these three shrubs, and are looking for additions to your yard, then visit a nursery and check these out.

Ceanothus, native to areas in western US, will be hardy to zones 6 and above.

These three evergreen ornamental shrubs are great choices for the landscape, and will add not only summer colour, but rich greens throughout winter months.


Leave a Comment: