Evergreen Shrubs To Bring Color To Your Southern Yard All Year Long

Pink Frost Hellebore Flower Close Up
Photo: Getty/Sandra Standbridge

There is no place nicer than a Southern garden in springtime. Summer and fall aren't too shabby, either, but come winter most gardens are a little past their prime looking brown, wilted, and maybe a little sad. That doesn't have to be the case, though. Gardeners who plan ahead and plant evergreens can have gorgeous, verdant gardens year-round.

While picking a shrub, refer to the USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map that can help determine which plants will thrive in your corner of the South. Here are some of our favorite evergreen shrubs to make your garden look good all year round.

01 of 09


White Gardenia Flowers
© Santiago Urquijo / Getty

This essential Southern plant has dark, evergreen leaves, brilliant white blooms, and a heady fragrance. These gorgeous plants are also hardy enough to withstand a Southern summer—heat, humidity, and all. In winter, the deep color of the leaves offers a jewel-like pop of color.

02 of 09


Boxwood Hedges on Stone Garden Path Leading to White Picket Gate
Getty/Kim Sayer

These versatile evergreen shrubs have small, dense leaves that can be carved into sculptural shapes or coaxed into sophisticated hedges. They are also the key ingredient to making a classic formal garden with its low parterres that can create pathways and separate plant beds. These old-world, elegant beauties make a welcome addition to most gardens.

03 of 09

Silver Ponyfoot

Silver Ponyfoot

This evocatively named Texas native has a silver-gray foliage that pops in the sun. The leaves keep their metallic hue all-year round, making them a unique ground cover that can tolerate drought and direct sun.

04 of 09

Inkberry Holly

Closeup shot of an Evergreen winterberry or Inkberry Holly
Getty/Diane Labombarbe

This smooth-leafed cousin of the prickly Christmas-style holly blooms into whitish-green flowers in spring, before the berries that give the shrub its name appear in late summer and early fall. The richly colored evergreen shrub can grow up to eight-feet high, making it a good option for privacy.

05 of 09

Mirror Bush

coprosma virescens evergreen bush in early spring
Getty/Catherine McQueen

This New Zealand import, also known as Coprosma, can fill almost any spot in your garden as it can grow as a ground cover, a good-sized shrub, and in some cases reach tree height. Whatever your patch needs, the plant has green, rounded white, green, yellow, or reddish leaves that are glossy enough to explain the name. The leaves offer a pop of color all year, but the mirror bush also produces flowers and berries.

06 of 09

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel Flowers
Getty/Picture by Tambako the Jaguar

These plants have the best of both worlds—attractive evergreen foliage and gorgeous blooms that arrive in late spring and summer. These shade-tolerant plants can handle the coldest winter weather in style, but also do well in the Florida heat or throughout a Louisiana summer.

07 of 09

Bottlebrush Tree

Bottlebrush Plant with Red Flowers

This gorgeous shrub blooms beautiful red or crimson flowers that resemble its namesake bottle brush that are a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies. Its evergreen foliage can be used to create a year-round privacy hedge that is both effective and attractive.

08 of 09

Thorny Olive

Thorny Olive Plant Bright Green Leaves
Getty/Raj Kamal

Also known as Thorny elaeagnus, silverthorn, or spiny oleaster, these adaptable shrubs can tolerate heat, cold, and wet soil. The unique two-tone green-and-silver leaves are eye-catching in a winter garden, but the bush also has fragrant flowers that bloom in the fall.

09 of 09

Pink Frost Hellebore

Pink Frost Hellebore Flower Close Up
Getty/Sandra Standbridge

One of Southern Living's favorites, hellebores are distinctive plants that add a splash of color to the garden in those cold winter months, with the Pink Frost variety offering a pale blush bloom. While their delicate flowers are a joy in February, their attractive, slightly shiny evergreen foliage make them an excellent year-round addition to the garden whether used as an accent or groundcover.

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