Evergreen trees and shrubs retain their leaves during all seasons. Although most evergreen are conifers, not all fall into this category. Examples of non-coniferous native and moderately to highly drought tolerant evergreen plants include:
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron species) with species native to California and the Northwest, Northeast, Midwest, South and Southeast US
- Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus species) native to the Western US
- Live oaks (Quercus species) native to California, Texas, the South and Southeast U.S.
Most evergreens require well drained soil and full sun. Not all evergreens are drought tolerant, however. For instance, pines tend to me more drought tolerant than spruces. Be sure to group trees and shrubs with similar water needs together.
Design Characteristics of Evergreens
- Provides a year-round green or blue backdrop for other plants
- Provide year round color and textural interest
- Some species have showy flowers
- Available in a variety of shapes and sizes
- Can be used for screening undesirable views
Things to Avoid
- Evergreen trees planted on a south facing side of a building will restrict light from entering in the winter
- Planting too close to a structure. Some species of evergreen trees will become very large with age