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Evergreen’s are often more expensive than regular trees, mainly because they remain green all year long. It is this factor that makes them worth the extra cost, as well as thier hardiness and longevity, and they go well with statuary as well. Evergreens encompass broadleaved shrubs like rhododendron and laurel to the tall-needled cone-bearing pines and stately spruces. The giant spruces and firs are perfect for privacy and screening.

Spreading evergreens are great choices because they do well in the shade, and can be easily trimmed and maintained.

The most common evergreen is pine. White pine is characterized by its long, soft, light silvery-green needles and rapid attainment of its 60 to 80-foot maturity. Red pine is also a wonderful choice for backgrounds and windbreaks.

Ponderosa pine, a broad, compact tree, is often chosen for protection or to create ornamental screens. Austrian pine (black pine) has a rich, green color with spreading branches and is great for the Midwest. Globe mugho pine is a small, rounded tree used for ornamental planting. Norway spruce is probably the most widely planted evergreen, used as a windbreak, as it is quick growing and hardy with a solid shape like a pyramid. 

Black Hills spruce is a good choice because it resists drought. It growls slowly, so it can stay in close quarters for a long period of time. White spruce features short, thick, light blue-green needles. It matures at 60 to 70 feet, perfect for landscaping and screens. Colorado blue spruce Is a hardy tree, but it suffers in heat and drought. Of the cedars, red cedar is a fine ornamental evergreen for hedges and windbreaks.

Cedar withstands dry weather and the thick green foliage is a stunning bronze in winter. Douglas fir is the best fir for windbreaks and screening. It is a hardy, healthy, drought-resisting breed that grows quickly and compactly, and its lofty pyramid makes a good lawn specimen. Balsam fir, best known as the Christmas tree, has a lovely fragrance and lustrous foliage. White fir has an attractive silvery color. Arbor vitae, like cedar, provide the flat evergreen branch that can cling without aid to concrete, brick, and stone.

Evergreen climbers include Chinese trumpet creeper, English ivy, Lowe ivy and Virginia creeper, sometimes called woodbine or American ivy. Virginia creeper is the ivy that winds about trees and covers the ground in woodlands. While it does make good building cover, it can be quite heavy and has to be thinned regularly. Virginia creeper is a wonderful shade provider. Other shade producing vines include Dutchman's pipe and silver vine.

Vines that cannot support themselves can be trained with a trellis, adding color and variety to you setting. Among the more showy varieties are:

  • Wisteria, with its clusters of white to purple blossoms
  • Clematis, which has a large flower appearing from early summer until fall
  • Trumpet creeper, with its tropical-looking clusters of big scarlet and orange flowers during late summer

Trumpet honeysuckle is another option, featuring clusters of red and yellow perfumed flowers. Climbing hydrangea is a beautiful choice with its large white clusters. Some annual vines, such as the hyacinth bean which grows on strings and has many flowers, or the scarlet runner bean which has showy flowers, are good for shade, too.

For ground coverings, in areas where grass does not seem to do well, you might try periwinkle (also called running myrtle), an evergreen with lovely blue flowers all summer. Other evergreen choices are pachysandra and moneywort, which flatten against the ground. Some attractive and fragrant blossoming annuals that you might also consider are:

  • Nasturtium
  • Balloon vine, which is good to cover fences
  • Cypress vine, with a large number of small star-shaped flow ers in orange, red, and white
  • The familiar morning-glory
  • Moonflower plants