How to Identify Broadleaf Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen viburnum shrub branch with small red berries and veined leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Broadleaf evergreen shrubs provide color in the garden year round. They are a popular landscaping trick because they provide such a simple backdrop to all your other plants and flowers. Broadleaf evergreen shrubs provide color year round, making winter interest in the garden easy. The following evergreen shrubs are all broadleaf shrubs with foliage in shades of green.

Evergreen Viburnum (Viburnum Pragense)

Evergreen viburnums are beautiful broadleaf evergreen shrubs that provide four seasons of interest in the garden. Viburnum pragense is hardy to zone 6 and has shiny green leaves with white felt undersides all year providing plenty of winter color. Large white flower clusters appear in the summer and are followed by bright berries lasting through the winter. This broadleaf evergreen shrub is a medium to large shrub and prefers sun to part shade.

Evergreen viburnum shrub with small red berry clusters in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Camellia Shrubs (Camellia spp.)

Camellias are charming shrubs with glossy evergreen broadleaf foliage. Some camellias are hardy to zone 6 but some are only hardy through zone 8 so see the more about growing Camellia for more information. Here's a list of some cold-hardy Camellia varieties that will tolerate a little more cold weather than the typical Camellia. These evergreen shrubs prefer slightly acidic soil and are covered in large flowers fall through spring depending on the variety. Plus, with these plants, you can have rose-like flowers in October or November, not just in the spring.

Camellia shrub branch with small pink flower with waxy leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Mountain Laurel ‘Freckles’ (Kalmia latifolia ‘Freckles’)

A native evergreen shrub, the mountain laurel prefers acidic soil with good drainage and part shade to full shade. The mountain laurel is a broadleaf evergreen shrub and ‘Freckles’ has white flowers with maroon specks on the petals that truly look like freckles. ‘Freckles’ is a compact evergreen shrub growing only 3 to 6 inches tall. Native varieties tend to be very loose in form, but some of the named varieties are a little more compact and upright growing. 

Mountain laurel shrub with small white blossoms and buds closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Green Gem Hardy Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Gem’)

One of the hardiest broadleaf evergreen shrubs, the ‘Green Gem’ boxwood is hardy to zone 3b with protection or zone 4 unprotected. A fragrant shrub, this boxwood is a compact 2 by 2 inches and keeps its rounded shape with little to no pruning. Glossy evergreen leaves and inconspicuous but fragrant white blooms are added features of this broadleaf shrub. Protect the shrub from drying winter winds.

Green gem hardy boxwood shrub with small glossy leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Hardy Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim Hardy’)

Gardenias are broadleaf evergreen shrubs but are not typically as hardy as this ‘Kleim Hardy’ which will survive winters to zone 7. The jasmine scented flowers make excellent cut flowers each spring and are pure white, single form blooms. This compact evergreen shrub grows 3 by 4 inches and prefers part shade. This gardenia variety is used in china for tea flavoring. Such a flexible plant deserves a place in any heirloom or fragrance garden. It is one of my favorite shrubs because of the amazing, fragrant flowers. 

Other evergreen shrubs that add winter interest to the garden include shrubs with variegated foliage, evergreen shrubs with colored foliage, not the typical green color. Other evergreen plants that create a beautiful backdrop and long-lasting interest are conifers. Weeping form evergreens also add winter interest to both color and silhouette. Combined with winter-friendly ground covers, these can create lots of interest in the garden. There are so many ways to use long-lasting, evergreen plants in your organic garden for year-round interest, this is just the beginning of the possibilities.