With their year-round appeal, evergreen shrubs can be a great addition to your landscaping design—but how do you know which ones will work best in your space?
When it comes to softscaping (the living, growing elements of your landscape design) there are some important factors to keep in mind. In our previous article, we talked about the importance of knowing your space, knowing your environment, and knowing your plants.
Once you’ve figured out what role you want evergreen shrubs to play in your landscaping design and what kind of space you’re working with, you’ll want to pay special attention to the shrub’s hardiness, and whether it fits with your local environment.
Hardiness zones are areas on a map that show the coldest it gets in that particular area. Depending on what zone you live in, you should be able to incorporate evergreen shrubs that are generally hardy enough to thrive in your climate.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, there are two main zones. Bucks, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks (except the southeast tip), and the eastern edge of Montgomery Counties are part of Zone 6, where the coldest temperatures range from -10 to 0 degrees.
The remaining areas of Berks and Montgomery, plus most of Lancaster County fall into Zone 7, where the coldest temperatures range from 0 to 10 degrees.
The lower the number, the colder the zone. Generally speaking, plants that can flourish in colder zones can flourish in warmer ones, so if you live in Zone 7, a plant that flourishes in Zone 6 should still work for you.
The following are just a few of the evergreen shrubs that can thrive in southeastern Pennsylvania:
Japanese Holly: This evergreen bush is mound-shaped, and is generally under three feet in height fully grown. It thrives in Zone 6, so it is generally adaptable to Zone 7 as well. Japanese Holly likes a lot of sun and slightly acidic soil; its leaves can range from a lustrous green to yellow, and it has small flowers.
White Spruce: This evergreen bush is cone-shaped, and is generally between three and five feet in height fully grown. It is extremely hardy and will thrive in both zones in southeastern Pennsylvania. It likes a lot of sun, but is very tolerant of cold and dry conditions. The needles of a White Spruce are green to blue or grey green.
Chinese Holly: This evergreen bush is round-shaped, and is generally between five and fifteen feet in height fully grown. It thrives in hardiness Zone 7. Because it’s susceptible to damage during colder winters, it is only supportable in the southeast tip of Pennsylvania, but once it’s taken root Chinese Holly is prized for its dense green foliage and resistance to dry weather.
Talk to a professional landscaper for more ideas about how to use evergreen shrubs in your landscaping!