Landscaping serves many purposes. It can shield us from the elements, hide us from prying neighbors, help sustain our ecosystem and most importantly… transform a blank canvas into a work of art. Properly planning a landscape design can change the way we interact with our environment, creating a space we want to be a part of. The backbone of most every landscape design should be the selection of evergreen plants.
What does it mean that a plant is evergreen?
In botany, one way to classify a plant is to designate it as either Evergreen or Deciduous. An evergreen plant does not lose its leaves…meaning it is forever green. On the flip side, deciduous plants will shed their leaves, typically during the winter. In every plant type: trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers, you can select from a large variety of Evergreen plants.
Why should I select evergreen plants for my landscape?
If your working with a local landscaping company, whether it is for a residential home or a commercial property, you should discuss when and how people will be interacting with the space. If the entire garden space used only deciduous plants, it would offer quite a different experience during the winter months showing only bare branches. Including evergreen plants in your landscaping plan will allow you to enjoy your plants throughout each season. In fact, certain evergreen plants put on their greatest show during the cold season while everything else is bare.
Should I only choose evergreen plants for my landscape?
As the photo above illustrates, evergreen gardens can be beautiful. There is a wide variety of evergreen plants available in many plant types, so you certainly can create a garden using only evergreen plants. However, there are many glorious deciduous plants as well and it would be very limiting to discount them. For example, one of our favorite deciduous trees to plant in the North Texas area is the crape myrtle. While most other plants are struggling to make it through the summer heat, the crape myrtle goes into full bloom, providing one of the only splashes of color all season. It would be a shame to miss that.
What is the best way to use evergreen plants in my garden?
The key to most great landscape plans is thoughtful plant placement. If you are going to include deciduous plants in your design, consider what your garden will look when the deciduous plants shed their leaves. Plant a variety of evergreen plants near the deciduous ones so even when they are bare, there is still something to look at.
If you are shopping for your own plants, most nurseries will have their plants labeled as either Evergreen or Deciduous. This is a very common plant characteristic and all nursery staff should know as well. The following is a list of common evergreen plants for the North Texas area.
Eastern red cedar
Japanese black pine
Southern wax myrtle (can be grown as shrub)
Loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica)
Dwarf and standard burford holly
Dwarf Chinese holly
Heller’s Japanese holly
Dwarf yaupon holly
Oregon grape mahonia
Wheeler’s dwarf pittosporum
Gulf Stream nandina
Gold Dust aucuba
Little red holly
Variegated privet or Ligustrum
Sky pencil holly
Spring bouquet viburnum
Weeping yaupon holly
East Palatka holly
Mary Nell holly
Nellie R. Stevens holly
Southern wax myrtle
Carolina cherry laurel
Texas mountain laurel
Indian Hawthorn (Rhapiolepsis indica)
Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’)
Climbing fig ivy
Confederate star jasmine
*These plants often maintain their leaves during a mild winter season. They can also shed their leaves briefly right before a bloom cycle.
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Purple Japanese honeysuckle
Confederate star jasmine
Liriope (Liriope muscari)