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The 5 Best Evergreen Shrubs for Small Gardens

Published on April 19th 2020

Beautiful veronica flowers

by lenta. All rights reserved

A close up of a flower
Small growing evergreen plants are a must for all gardens, no matter what size. Many are perfect subjects to grow in large containers and so are especially suited to those who have a balcony as a garden.
There are many evergreen shrubs to choose from, but I've highlighted some of my favourites here.
If you're looking for fast-growing or flowering evergreen shrubs, check out my other articles highlighting some of my favourites:
A close up of a flower

The Best Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs For Instant Impact and Vibrant Colour


A close up of a flower

The 6 Best Flowering Evergreen Shrubs


Explore the full collection of evergreen shrubs below:


  • Cistus is also known as Sun or Rock Roses.
  • They thrive in full sun, which is where they get their common names.
  • There are many varieties with colours varying from white through to soft pink and purple.
White flowers of Cistus corbariensis
White flowers of _Cistus corbariensis_
  • Cistus are small growing evergreen shrubs that need good drainage to thrive. They also relish when planted in poor soil.
  • They grow quickly and tidily but can develop woody stems as they mature.
  • When Rock Rose begins to mature and becomes woody, you can root a shoot tip and start the plant off again.
  • Leaves are often hairy and packed with scented oils. Both the hairs and oils help to prevent water loss, allowing the plant to withstand summer droughts.
Where to buy Cistus:


A close up of a daphne flower
_Daphne odora_ 'Aureovariegata'
  • Most Daphnes have sweet-scented flowers that bloom in winter or early spring.
  • Although they can be challenging to establish and are sometimes short-lived, Daphne are prized and sought after by keen gardeners.
  • Well-drained soil that retains moisture well in the partial sun would be the perfect place to plant most daphne types.
  • Some varieties have beautiful variegated foliage.
A close up of a variegated Daphne flower
_Daphne odora_ 'Rebecca'
  • The most sought after varieties are difficult to propagate, which means they can be on the more expensive side when compared to other shrubs.
Grab yourself a Daphne plant:


  • There are lots of evergreen Euonymus, with many varieties growing quite large.
  • Although, varieties of Euonymus fortunei are not only low growing, but are also very easy to grow.
  • Frequently planted to provide colourful evergreen ground cover, Euonymus frotunei varieties are happy to grow in various soil types.
  • Euonymus frotunei will tolerate shade, part shade or full sun.
  • It's also a great plant to grow in containers, either alone or with other small growing evergreen shrubs.
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety' plants
_Euonymus fortunei_ 'Emerald Gaiety'
  • Most Euonymus fortunei only knee-high, but you can regularly prune them back if necessary.


  • Hebes are lovely, small flowering evergreen shrubs. They often have beautiful and colourful foliage too.
  • All Hebes are evergreen and originate from New Zealand, but many new varieties have been bred in the UK.
  • The flowering period for this lovely versatile evergreen is long-lasting. The first blooms appear in spring and continue through to autumn.
A close up of a pink hebe flower
_Hebe_ 'Rosie'
  • Due to climate change, it is now possible to grow Hebes in areas that would have been too cold for them 20 years ago.
  • Hebes are very wind tolerant and grow quick. You can prune them hard if necessary, although you should try to do this in spring.
  • Flower colours range from shades of white, pink, red, purple and even blue!
  • Removing spent blooms ('dead-heading') will encourage plants to bloom for longer.
  • Many of these small Hebe varieties grow well in large containers.
  • If you want to increase your stock or perhaps give away a cutting to a friend, Hebes are very easy to root from softwood or semi-ripe cuttings.


A field of lavenders in flower
  • You could say that out of all the small growing evergreen shrubs mentioned here, Lavender is the most popular.
  • There are many varieties of this scented, summer-flowering, evergreen shrub.
  • Most varieties have flowers that are shades of blue or purple, but some can be white or cream, too.
  • The dense foliage of Lavender is often grey coloured and frequently aromatically scented too.
  • English or Dutch Lavender (Lavandula spica and angustifolia) are hardier than the French type (Lavandula stoechas).
  • All Lavender need well-drained soil in a sunny position to grow well.
  • Prune English or Dutch lavender varieties as soon as the colour fades from the flowers.
  • To prune Lavender, cut the flower stems along with a bit of the stem below. This keeps the plant compact.
A pink flower on a French lavender plant
_Lavandula stoechas_ 'Kew Red'
  • French Lavender has flowers on shorter stems that flower over a more extended period than the more common Lavender.
  • French Lavender is also less hardy and can be severely damaged or killed by very harsh, cold winters.
  • French Lavender also tends to resent pruning. A light trim will improve it after most of the flowers have faded.

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