Evergreen shrubs are often used as ornamental plants. Widely used for borders and hedges, they are also essential in French gardens. It’s a relatively easy-to-grow plant that only requires very little maintenance apart from regular pruning to maintain its beautiful shape and keep it healthy. These shrubs bloom in spring, producing beautiful colourful and fragrant flowers.

Evergreen shrubs, of which the most common species is boxwood, are perennials from the Buxaceae family. They are mainly found in the Mediterranean basin and are widespread in continental Europe. There are several types of evergreen shrubs; however the variety grown most often is the common boxwood, also known as Buxus sempervirens. There are many existing varieties and those with variegated leaves, such as “Aureo-variegata” or “Argentiovariagata,” are ideal for hedges. Shrubs with pyramidal bearings (Pyramidalis) are suitable for topiary art. Rotundifolia, with its fast-growing large leaves, is used for borders.

The different types of foliage

Evergreen shrubs are known for their noteworthy foliage that comes in different shades of colours. There are several types of foliage. One can mention the golden evergreen shrubs of which the leaves are dark green, variegated with yellow. These shrubs are very well suited to dark corners, because they perfectly brighten up shaded areas. If you plan to plant and develop this type of shrub, it is advisable to place it in the background. Then, there are silver variegated varieties with evergreen foliage that can be grey, blue, silver or cream variegated. They are often used to decorate gardens and are known for their soothing properties. Silver variegated species are often present in cold areas that receive little sunlight, as coloured shades take on added value in such settings. Cream variegated species are often located in the garden’s dark areas and are often used to mask colours that seem too bright. Rose variegated species are pretty rare, their foliage are often tricolour with a tinge of pink. Rare shrubs such as “Stranvaesia davidiana Palette” or “Leucothoe walteri”, commonly called Rainbow, are of this species.

Growing evergreen shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are perennial plants that take their time to grow, but they have a long lifespan. By adulthood, they can easily reach a height of about 13-16 feet and some rarer species can reach up to 33 feet. To grow evergreen shrubs, a well-drained calcareous soil is needed as well as a relatively shaded spot sheltered from the wind. If you place it in a location that is too sunny, the shrub’s leaves may soon turn yellow and lose their beautiful colours. Ideally, evergreen shrubs must be planted in spring or autumn. If you intend to plant them in hedgerows, allow for a 12-inch space between seedlings.

You can propagate your shrubs, especially the cultivars, by the taking of cuttings which is mainly carried out in September. Wait for the plant to reach at least 2 years of age before starting the taking of cuttings. Plant the cuttings about 4 inches apart and transplant them from time to time to allow the roots to grow better. For species such as Balearic Box, which is quite hardy, you need to provide the cuttings with a warm planting layer. You can also propagate your plants by air layering or grafting. If you want to sow, you must replant your seeds several times in a mixture of sand and peat under a cold frame. After they grow to about 12 inches, you can plant your young seedlings.

A very popular shrub of various characteristics

Evergreen shrubs can be pruned in late summer to give them a new look. Evergreen shrubs are very appreciated by topiary lovers and are often used to adorn gardens by giving them a more classic and sophisticated style. You can prune them as you wish, giving them geometric shapes like that of a ball, cone, pyramid, cube or even stairs. You can also use some dwarf species to adorn the garden’s edges. Evergreen shrubs are plants that do not absolutely require an annual pruning; it’s just a matter of choice. The wood of evergreen shrubs is also used to produce works of art or sculptures, because their wood is hard and when it is properly worked and polished, it can also be used for cabinet-making.

Related posts:

  1. Choosing, maintaining, and planting ornamental shrubs
  2. Flowering shrubs
  3. Flowering shrubs
  4. Acacias: trees, shrubs or plants that have multiple uses

Published in Trees and shrubs by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011