New Top Evergreen Shrubs for Small Gardens


As gardens continue to shrink, plant breeders have responded by developing a wide range of compact varieties. Designed to thrive in narrow borders or containers, these compact evergreen shrubs take up a fraction of the space of their parent species. Whether you are looking for extravagant flowers or fabulous foliage, here are ten of our favorite Evergreen Shrubs specially selected for small gardens:

1. Pieris japonica ‘Little heather’

Pieris is an acid-loving shrub, but if your soil is not suitable, it is also a good potted plant. Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’ has a dense and bushy habit with striking variegated foliage. This creates a great focal point and there is also a lot of seasonal interest. New spikes appear in pink and generous clusters of cream bell-shaped flowers appear from March to May. With a height and a spread of only 60 cm (24″), this small evergreen shrub is perfect for a sunny or slightly shaded place!

2. Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis is at its best in the depths of winter and early spring, when the white spider-shaped flowers release the most exquisite honey fragrance. The scent is powerful, so plant it near the house where you can enjoy it every time you pass by. The nectar-rich flowers and the following glossy black berries are loved by wildlife, making them an excellent choice for bringing nature into your garden. It is one of the most compact Sarcococci, reaching only 1 m (3′) in height and spreading.

3. Dwarf Rhododendrons

It is easy to dismiss rhododendrons as too large for a small garden, but recently a wide range of compact varieties has been developed. Dwarf rhododendrons remain neat and compact, but still produce the showy flowers that make these acidophilus evergreen shrubs so dazzling in spring. They make fabulous little conifers for pots!

Rhododendron ‘sapphire tit’ reaches an mature height of only 90 cm in height and spread and if you have a large container left, the magenta pink flowers of Rhododendron ‘Amoena’ make for a bold spring display!

4. Nandina domestica “firepower”

If you like to see leaves change color in the fall, the small semi-evergreen Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’ is an excellent choice. This dwarf variety grows only 45 cm high (60 cm wide), but retains some of its foliage during the winter, especially in milder places after a good autumn show.

Nandina is famous for its spectacular color changes – new foliage appears in gold before aging to green. In autumn, it turns into rich reds and mahogany. Add to this a beautiful display of starry white flowers and shiny red berries in the summer, and you have the perfect little shrub for all seasons!

5. Euonymus

Few shrubs can surpass Euonymus for a constant, robust and evergreen color and, with the exception of an annual increase in size, remain practically unchanged throughout the year. Many varieties have shiny and shiny foliage that gives a touch Of gold, such as Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ or Euonymus fortunei ‘blonde Beauty’. For a more subtle and elegant variation, try Euonymus fortunei ‘Harlequin’, which has an irregular cream border on each dark green leaf. These small shrubs reach no more than 1 m (3′) in height and spread out, making them a useful ground cover or a pretty evergreen potted plant.

6. Dwarf conifers

Dwarf conifers may have gone out of fashion since the 1970s-but don’t dismiss these hardworking plants. Conifers are the ultimate low-maintenance evergreen shrubs and hardly require additional care once established. Their variety of colors, textures, shapes and shapes is awesome! Try the Thuja occidentalis ‘Tiny Tim’ in containers on either side of a door – with naturally rounded growth, they are a great alternative to the traditional boxed topiary.

Cryptomeries are useful for providing seasonal evergreen colors, turning bronze in the fall and turning green again in the summer. For a more robust look, look for dwarf pine for its needle-shaped foliage. If you prefer to stick to a more traditional conical shape, then Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’ is hard to smack.

7. Lifting

Hebes come in all shapes, colors and sizes, making them the best little evergreen shrubs for the sun, especially on free-draining soils. With their nectar-rich summer inflorescences, these compact evergreen shrubs are perfect for also attracting bees and butterflies to the garden. There are many varieties that grow to less than 1 m (3′) in height and spread out.

Hebe ‘Silver Queen’ has variegated and variegated foliage and purple inflorescences. For a more elegant variation, try Hebe ‘Silver Anniversary’, which has thin gray-green leaves with irregular and silvery edges. The winter cold brings a soft purple hue, which is a nice feature when there are few other colors in the garden.

8. Mahonia ‘Gentle Caress’

Mahonia is definitely not the first evergreen shrub that you would think of for a small garden, especially with those thorny stems! This is what makes Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ so different. This is the first variety of dwarf Mahonia without a back to reach a height and a spread of only 120 cm (4′).

The foliage is slender and elegant, reminiscent of bamboo, but when the golden flower tips appear, its species cannot be ignored! The fragrant flowers appear in the fall, just when the fading garden needs a touch of color. An excellent little evergreen shrub for sun or partial shade!

9. Daphne

No List of small evergreen shrubs would be complete without the beautiful Daphne! The richly scented flowers are a feast for the senses from spring to autumn.

Daphne ‘ Eternal Fragrance’ and Daphne x transatlantica’Pink Fragrance’ are both blooming on new growth, so the flowers keep coming. With a compact habit of less than 1 m (3′) high and wide, these glamorous conifers are perfect for a container or a border next to a well-used seating area.

10. Leucothoe

Now here’s one for the gardener who likes something else! The leucothoe is rarely seen in British gardens because it enjoys rich, acidic soil, but it is just as happy in a container of Erika’s compost. It is the perfect small evergreen shrub for shade, which makes the difficult and dark areas of the garden interesting.

With variegated stem tips when the new growth appears, and later in the fall, the leaves take on bright autumnal hues. Clusters of urn-shaped white flowers cascade from its stems in spring. Try Leucothoe axillaris ‘Little Flames’ for a dynamic explosion of colors. For a more subtle display, discover the soft and colorful tones of Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Whitewater’.

So there you have it-our selection of the best Evergreen shrubs for small gardens. By incorporating just a few small evergreen shrubs into borders and containers, you can keep your garden fresh and colorful all year round. For more Inspiration and tips, visit our dedicated shrubs page now.

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