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The Best (Mostly) Evergreen Plants For Your Winter Garden

By December 7, 2022Landscape Design
The Best (Mostly) Evergreen Plants For Your Winter Garden

There are myriad plants that will add color, texture, height, depth, and motion to your winter garden. From the charming tufts of Miscanthus Giganteus to the striking branches of Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood, you won’t have to look far to find something to liven up a sleepy landscape.

But if you still miss the verdant foliage of warmer seasons, there are lots of evergreen and semi-evergreen plants and shrubs that will bring the color you crave to your garden throughout winter.

And we’re not even talking about pine! Of course, we wholly advocate for including some gorgeous fir, cypress, and spruce in your master plan. But if you really want a creative, four-season space, here are some other options to consider. Not only will they bring green to your winter landscape but they evolve throughout the seasons, offering color, texture, privacy and beauty all year long.

bamboo privacy screenBamboo

This evergreen is a true winter gem, not only bringing you cool, soothing greens, but offering the perfect low-maintenance privacy screen.

It works as well along a fence as it does on its own along property borders. In addition to its all-season foliage, it is a natural habitat for birds, which will add much-needed life and color to your winter landscape.

This versatile plant can grow in a variety of conditions, from wind and salt air, to sun or shade. Choose a variety that works for you and you’ll be rewarded with visual interest all winter long.

Spotlight On: Hellebores, Bringing Miracles And Magic To Your Winter GardenHellebore

You may know this wintertime bloom as Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, depending on the variety and the time of year that you can expect to see its flowers.

In addition to seasonal petals in gorgeous shades of pink, white, green, purple, red and yellow, its foliage remains green all year long. Enjoy its dark green clusters of palm-like leaves as ground cover all winter.

These beauties are so hardy that they’ve been known to survive generations of gardeners. And they are self-seeding, so plant a few in close proximity and they will propagate on their own in unique hybrid colors.


There are deciduous varieties of holly, like the elegant Winterberry, which drops its foliage but leaves behind stems ripe with clusters of gorgeous red berries. For winter color, its hard to beat!

But if you’re still yearning for that pop of green, choose an American Holly typical of the spiky-leaved variety you’re probably most familiar with. This versatile tree (yes, it’s a tree!) can grow as much as 50 feet in height with a 40 foot spread! Keep it pruned if you’d rather contain it to garden-size.

Birds love its berries, and bees love its flowers, making this year-round tree both beautiful and a great addition for attracting wildlife.


Falling into the “almost” evergreen category, Rosemary looks great, smells great, and makes a mean garnish for everything from cocktails to roasted potatoes!

Its aromatic, deep green foliage is accompanied during spring by bunches of tiny flowers in shades of pink or blue depending on the variety.

In New Jersey, you may want to move your plant indoors during winter, but this winter-hardy herb stays strong in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. With our mild winters lately, you may be able to enjoy its greenery all season long. Just watch out for those below-zero temperatures and if you see your plant getting a bit too brown, consider enjoying it from a kitchen countertop.


The star of this plant may be its delicately oversized blooms of pink, red, yellow, white and purple, but its deep green foliage will stick around all winter for you to enjoy. Like its cousin Azalea, there are multiple varieties of Rhododendron, some of which are deciduous, so be sure to choose a variety that suits your craving for year-round greenery.

Growing as tall as 15 feet, it makes a great privacy screen or border plant, and works well along an outside wall or fence. In fact, it actually thrives quite well against buildings, making it perfect for adding charm and coziness to your home during the coldest months of the year.

creeping myrtleCreeping Myrtle

You may know this plant more commonly as Periwinkle, for the miniature blue-purple flowers that bloom each spring. But it’s the glossy, dark green leaves of this evergreen that make for great ground cover year-round.

It works just as well in a container or raised bed as it does in the ground, and is the perfect choice for controlling soil erosion. It thrives under trees and in spots where other plants and grass struggle. And it’s hardy enough to survive damp soil or drought, sun or shade, stone or clay.

Don’t confuse this variety, known as “lesser periwinkle” with its relative “greater periwinkle”, which can be aggressive and invasive. Plant Creeping Myrtle in your garden and you’ll be rewarded with four seasons of low-maintenance beauty.

sweetspire bloomSweetspire

Not-quite-evergreen, this shrub is native from New Jersey to Texas, evolving throughout the seasons from deep green leaves in spring to its signature bottlebrush flowers in summer, and an even richer green and bold autumn colors during fall.

It is considered semi-evergreen because while it will eventually drop its leaves, it lasts much farther into the season than most plants, surviving temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sweetspire is a magnet for birds, bees and butterflies, adding another layer of delight to your outdoor experience. Enjoy this plant as a border, at pond’s edge, or anywhere that soil erosion is a concern.

cabbageOrnamental Cabbage

One of winter’s most visually stunning plants, Ornamental Cabbage is not-quite-but-almost evergreen. Recognizable by its smoothly rounded, light green leaves and creamy white center, this ground-loving plant can survive in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes it a pretty good bet to stay evergreen here in New Jersey!

In fact, this particular plant only gets more gorgeous as the temperature drops, and cold weather discourages pests, making it a low-maintenance garden garnish.

Take your color scheme a step further and add flowering kale, too, which differs in the shape of its leaves (frilly and crinkly as opposed to smooth) and its striking purple center.

Alternate cabbage and kale along borders, embed them into rock gardens, or enjoy them in containers, and you can appreciate their striking greenery all season.

These are a few of the evergreen and semi-evergreen plants that offer beauty and visual interest all year, and bring exceptional foliage to your garden all winter.

If your eye craves greenery, and you want to add more color and beauty to your outdoor space for all four seasons, book a consultation with us. We’ll work with you on a master plan and turn your outdoor space into an extension of your home that you can enjoy all year long.