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.
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.
Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Glauca’)
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.
Soft Serve False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Dow Whiting’)
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.
Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’)
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.
Red Beauty Holly (Ilex x ‘Rutzan’ Plant Patent #14,750)
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.
Black Dragon Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’)
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.