The Q&A Archives: evergreen shrubs

Question: My son just bought a house. I would like to do some landscaping to the front of the house. Maybe shrubs that will stay green in winter. Please give some suggestions.

Answer: Here are a few suggestions:
Groundsel bush is a finely branched evergreen shrub that reaches twelve feet in height and approximately six feet wide. It is an early colonizer plant of the wet soils of marshes, fields, and swamp areas. This shrub has a loose irregular form reminiscent of wax myrtle. It blooms in early fall with numerous billowy white flowers that cover the plant. These flowers are a favorite nectar source for many butterfly species. Tolerant of both salt- and freshwater areas, this shrub readily adapts to any sunny site.

Star anise is an evergreen shrub that grows to eight feet in height and six feet wide. It is commonly found growing in dense thickets along streambanks and moist woods. Star anise has an upright oval form with deep green leaves of coarse texture. The leaves are heavily scented and noticeable when encountered. Deep maroon starry flowers cover the plant in early spring. This plant is a good landscape plant for shady well-drained or moist soils.

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia Linnaeus) is an evergreen shrub that often reaches ten feet in height and width. It grows on the slopes of rivers and creekbanks across the eastern United States. Mountain laurel has an open broad spreading form with multiple branches. The foliage is dark green of medium texture, and is slow growing. Exquisite pink wheel-shaped flowers cover the plant in spring. Older plants exhibit an attractive reddish brown exfoliating bark.

Leucothoe is a small evergreen shrub that grows to three feet in height and width. It is a low spreading shrub with arching stems of loose form. It is found growing in wet acid soils near swamps, bogs and creekbeds. Small white fragrant flowers cluster along the flower stem from late winter to mid-spring. This evergreen shrub has few insect or disease problems and is well suited to the home landscape.

Lyonia lucida; This evergreen shrub averages three feet in height and spread. Found growing along well-drained sandy woodlands and streams, it is widely tolerant of many growing conditions. Small nodding bell-shaped white flowers cluster along the stems in late spring. Lyonia has a low mounding form with arching branches. There are few problems associated with lyonia, and it is useful as an understory shrub.

Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor); This versatile evergreen shrub grows to six feet in height and four feet wide. Found primarily in river floodplains, this shrub can grow in a wide variety of wet or dry soil types. Dwarf palmetto has a tropical leaf, and is an excellent understory shrub groundcover or focal plant. Round black fruits appear on long stems in late summer, and persist through winter. Few insects or diseases are associated with this species.

Hope one of these suggestions is just right!

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