Needled Evergreens for a Shady Space

Evergreens are a very important addition to the winter landscape. During the coldest months of the year, when most other plants have been stripped of their leaves or have died back to the ground, evergreens are the stronghold in the garden that provide stunning texture and color, shelter for winter wildlife and the hope of spring for everyone.

Choosing a broad-leafed evergreen for a shady location in the garden is simple. There are so very many to choose from: Rhododendron, azalea, camellia, aucuba and cherry laurel are just the beginning, and there are many more options for any size or shape of shady space. It’s a different story when it comes to hunting for a needled evergreen for that darker corner of the landscape, but it is not impossible.

Popular needled evergreen options for shady spaces include…

  • Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canandensis) – Broadly conical and gracefully branched, reaching up to 75 feet high.
  • Dragon’s Eye Pine (Pinus densiflora ‘Oculus-draconis’) – Part shade. A very unique, asymmetrically shaped pine with a pale halo on the needles.
  • Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtuse ‘Nana Gracillis’) – Slowing growing, compact plant with dark green scale-like leaves.
  • Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) – Light shade. Graceful, pyramidal tree with bluish-green scaly foliage and exfoliating cinnamon-colored bark. Growing to 65 feet tall.
  • Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) – Light Shade. Needles are thick and succulent, whorled around the branches.
  • Nootka False Cypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) – Light to part shade. Narrowly pyramidal growing up to 60 feet tall.
  • Russian Cypress (Microbiota decussate) – Part shade to full shade. Low to the ground forming a rosette of soft, graceful branches. Great ground cover for a shady location.
  • Spreading English Yew (Taxas bacata repandans) – Part shade to full shade. Three feet high and mounding. Great foundation plant in front of windows or at the back of borders.
  • Upright Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’) – Part to full shade. Four foot tall, stiff, linear form.
  • American White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) – Light to part shade. Scale-like foliage formed into flat plane fans. Grows up to 40 feet tall.
  • False Arborvitae (Thujopsis dolabrata) – Light to part shade. Pale green leaf scales with white undersides. Grow up to 65 feet tall.

Not sure which of these evergreens may do well in your landscape? There are different cultivars to explore, and our experts can help you make the best choice for your landscaping needs.