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Evergreens provide year-round interest, especially in winter
Jill Odom | December 21, 2016
Snow Covering the Lawn and Trees in the Woods

Photo: Rachel Kramer/Flickr

Today is the first official day of winter but for most people the landscape has already been quite barren as plants have gone dormant to conserve energy.

One foliage type that can still provide some color and winter interest is the dependable evergreen. They vary from trees to shrubs and their textures and shades span a spectrum of choices.

Adding an evergreen to the landscape can help add structure and they are commonly utilized for their natural privacy screen abilities. Here are a handful of popular evergreen options.

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Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Glauca’)

colorado-blue-spruce-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

One of the most popular ornamental conifers, this evergreen has a natural conical shape and sports lovely gray-blue needles. It is commonly used as a wind break, privacy screen or specimen plant in larger landscapes. It has a slow to medium growth rate and is deer-resistant. Grows 40-60 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide at maturity.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-8
  • Partial to full sun

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Soft Serve False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Dow Whiting’)

soft-serve-false-cypress-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

For smaller landscapes, this compact conifer is a good alternative for a dwarf Alberta Spruce. It has bright green foliage that is silver-blue on the underside. Its branches have a soft, cuddly appearance. It can be used in containers or borders. It does not flower and is deer resistant. Grows 6-10 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-7
  • Partial to full sun

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Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’)

emerald-green-arborvitae-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

Another popular evergreen for its screening potential, Emerald Green Arborvitae has a narrow growth habit. Its lustrous color stands out in the winter and it is quite tolerant of the heat and humidity of the south. Once established, it is drought-resistant. Can be used as a topiary, windbreak or hedge. Grows 15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Full sun

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Red Beauty Holly (Ilex x ‘Rutzan’ Plant Patent #14,750)

red-beauty-holly-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

This evergreen pulls double duty by producing both bright red berries and dark green foliage. It has an upright, pyramidal growth habit. In the spring, it produces small white flowers. The berries attract birds but a compatible male holly must be nearby for the female to bear fruit. A ‘Blue Prince’ holly is one option. Deer resistant. Grows 7-10 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-10
  • Partial to full sun

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Black Dragon Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’)

black-dragon-japanese-cypress-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

Black Dragon is the Goldilocks of the Japanese Cedars being not too big nor too small. It has spring growth that changes from a light green to a black-green by the summer. It works well as a specimen plant in Asian or formal English gardens. It prefers slightly acidic soils and is deer resistant. Grows 6-7 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Partial to full sun

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