Border plants are often used to delineate a specific feature or section of the yard. Sometimes, plants as hedges and borders may be primarily ornamental, and at other times they have a specific functional and structural purpose.
Border plants act as living plant walls or hedges, and incorporating them into your landscape is an excellent method for establishing shape and organization.
They offer a natural alternative to physical walls, which lets you create garden designs that open out toward other outdoor gardens and landscapes in your area.
Evergreen border plants have also long been used as a wind and weather break, just as a physical wall might be. Evergreen border plants are perfect for wind and snow breaks due to their year-round greenery.
It is important to realize that most evergreen trees love the sun, so if they are planted in a line that runs North and South, the plants on the North end of the line will tend to get less sun, so they will tend to be thinner and may start to lose lower branches.
How should you choose evergreen border plants? Continue reading to learn and explore various evergreen border plants that will make an excellent addition to your landscape.
Table of Contents
Classic Evergreen Border Plants
The plants below are the most traditional and mostly entirely evergreen plants in all climates.
This article about border plants won’t be complete without the classic boxwood hedge. Boxwoods are used to create the ideal border hedges, and for the perfect reason: boxwoods in residential landscaping produce lovely defining lines. They delineate any space and give it a more sophisticated appearance.
Boxwoods are simple to raise and thrive in sunny or shaded areas. They can also withstand high temperatures, drought, and pollutants and are resistant to deer. Boxwoods are flexible, adaptable, and low-maintenance plants. Boxwoods are indeed excellent landscape plants for a border or hedge due to their finely textured leaves.
Furthermore, these classy evergreen border shrubs can be shaped to your preference. They can be arranged in a curving manner or angled a certain way, depending on your taste and scenery. The best bushes for this landscaping activity withstand trimming well enough and grow slowly, rendering them simpler to care for.
Boxwood has long been used in the formal gardens of Europe due to its longevity and how well they take to shearing.
Junipers are known for their berries and their prickly foliage.
These plants come in the upright variety and can get quite tall, or they can be creeping along the ground and only inches tall, so depending on what type of border you are trying to create, you will want to choose your plants accordingly.
Juniper will grow in many climates and is quite possibly the most widely distributed tree in the world.
The Juniper is popular in areas with a high deer population since the deer typically shy away from the prickly foliage.
This plant has also been used as a border plant for its ability to discourage humans from crossing due to its prickly foliage. Some people will develop a rash from getting pricked by the foliage of the Juniper.
Juniper berries have long been used in the production of gin.
The Juniper can range in color from grey-blue to dark green and everything in between.
The Hemlock is a well-known evergreen tree with an elegantly branching shape and delicate texture. For a nice privacy screen, the Hemlock is a good choice.
The Hemlock can be sheared to a hedge shape but does not take to it as nicely as the boxwood, cedar, or Yew.
The Hemlock is an upright and large tree that grows in most of North America. This is one of the few evergreen plants that can do well in partial shade.
The spruce tree is a tall and wide tree that comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors, but it is mainly thought of as the classic Christmas tree shape.
These evergreen plants do well in most of North America.
Their needles are sharp and prickly, so they make a great deterrent to animals passing through your evergreen border. Deer will almost always avoid spruce as the needles are not very palatable.
The pine is typically a more lightly branched plant than the spruce, but it can still make for a nice border plant depending on your situation.
The needles of the pine are typically less stiff and sharp than the spruce, and the White Pine is well known for its soft flowing needles and flexible smooth branches.
Once again, the pine is a very large tree and should only be considered in a large border setting.
The pine branches and cones are widely used as Christmas decorations, and lumber from the pine is widely used as a construction material in buildings of all sizes.
The Yew is another evergreen that does reasonably well in lower-light situations, so if you are looking for an evergreen border plant to use in a partially shaded area, the Yew might be a great choice.
The needles are typically somewhat flat and soft. The Yew is not prickly like the Juniper or spruce, although the needles look fairly similar.
Hungry deer often eat yews, so when planted in a location with a large deer population, the Yew can take significant damage over the winter months when the deer’s other food is hard to find.
Yews are typically smaller trees and shrubs and have long been used as foundation and border plants that are often sheared to shape. Yews take well to shearing, are hardy plants, and survive well in most of the world.
The cedar is, again, a large tree.
One big difference between the cedar and most evergreens is the deer love to nibble on cedar tree foliage. If you have many deer in your area, staying away from cedar would be a good idea unless you like to feed the deer.
Be aware that many people refer to arbor vitae as cedar trees. While they are very similar in appearance, the Arborvitae is actually a type of cypress.
Due to the very similar look, Arborvitae and cedar are almost used interchangeably.
The following plants are considered evergreen in some climates but will not be evergreen in the coldest of climates.
Evergreen Hydrangea (Dichroa febrifuga, syn D. versicolour)
Hydrangeas are lovely plants with large, lush green leaves and bunches of colorful, long-lasting flowers. Evergreen hydrangea grows around 6 feet tall in highland China, Nepal, and Vietnam; with broad serrated leaves and gorgeous blue or purple, pH-dependent blooms arranged in enormous spherical groupings, you’ll think it’s a spectacular showy border plant.
We recommend trimming and fertilizing the evergreen hydrangea frequently to keep it healthy after the evergreen hydrangea blooms.
Some consider the climbing hydrangea to be an evergreen plant that grows readily in most of North America.
Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’)
Tricolor sage is a herbaceous plant at the cooler extreme of its hardiness spectrum. However, its leaves are evergreen in the warmest sections of its distribution. This evergreen perennial has a distinct, strong taste and fragrance produced by its pale, cool green foliage.
Tricolor Sage looks fantastic in perennial borders because of its softly colored leaves and an abundance of stunning purple-blue flower spikes. It naturally occurs in groups of plants around a foot to 1.5 feet tall and broad, and it’s very easy to cultivate. It prefers direct sunlight in ordinary, dry to damp, well-drained soils, although it considers shade acceptable too.
Snowbank False Aster (Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’)
Near the end of summer to the start of fall, Snowbank False Aster produces a blanket of finely textured, dainty, starry white flowers resembling daisies. A single plant provides a spectacular display, and a line of them might be utilized as a blooming hedge. This tall, typically erect perennial plant is ideal for grassy settings and the rear of a sunlit border.
A tip to preserve Snowbank False Aster’s short height: you can prune it back to a third of its original size early in the growing season. To decrease its propagation, discard wasted flowers from this plant. This plant enjoys direct sunlight, withstands humidity, heat, and drought, and thrives in clayey soil and damp environments.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia)
Lobularia, often known as Sweet Alyssum, takes its name from its beautifully scented blossoms. The plant has been shown to thrive in a variety of situations, particularly high temperatures and severe drought.
While many species of plants will stop flowering in the blazing summer heat, some, such as the Snow Princess, have been intentionally designed to bloom continually, irrespective of the weather.
Lobularia loves soil that is fairly damp and entirely well-drained. If you reside in a temperate climate, try growing it in a location that receives full sunshine. It’s known to lure in beneficial insects.
California Lilacs (Ceanothus x pallidus)
If you’re looking for a pleasant-smelling, pollinator-attracting border for your yard, you should consider California Lilac bushes. Linearly plant multiple California Lilac shrubs to form a border. These flowering plants flawlessly fit in any size of garden or yard, and you’d want to have them bordering your residence.
California Lilacs are evergreen hedging plants that look stunning when they’re flowering. Lush California Lilac blossoms come in a variety of brilliant colors, including blue, white, and purple. To stay healthy, they need full sunlight and like well-draining soil.
California Lilacs look especially striking, blanketed with beautiful blue flowers. When the plant does this, it adds so much color to your garden’s borders while functioning as a wonderful privacy barrier.
Azalea’ Hot Shot Girard’ (Azalea x ‘Girard’s Hot Shot’)
Hot Shot Girard Azalea is a tough, attractive shrub with showy blooms and tiny, shiny leaves that turn a deep yellow-green shade in the winter. This lovely azalea is an excellent size for bush borders, short hedges, or foundation planting. It is an evergreen with vibrant, deep fiery red-orange blooms spotted with dark red, and it usually grows in a spherical compact form factor to 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet broad throughout time.
Plantain Lilies (Hosta)
The Hosta plant may be your smartest choice if you live in USDA Zones 3-9 and you’re seeking a gorgeous decorative evergreen plant. These plants make a great border plant in partial and complete shade environments thanks to their distinctive leaf variegations.
Hosta plants are incredibly adaptable, and you may select from various types. Every one of these cultivars and varieties has pretty foliage colors, forms, and patterns. There are several variegated kinds with various colors of green with yellow, cream, and white highlights. Usually, hostas can reach up to 10 inches tall; other times, they can get as tall as 2 feet.
The Hosta is a blooming plant with bright white, blue, and purple blooms that entice birds and butterflies near the end of summer and early in the spring. To add dimension and intrigue to your border, you can combine various hostas and shade plants with vibrant colors, leaf designs, and forms.
Some consider a hosta to be evergreen, but in the colder climates, it certainly is not. Indeed, in zone 5 and below, it will die back to the ground.
Evergreen abelia (Abelia floribunda)
Evergreen abelia’s shiny deep green foliage seems like they’ve been covered with a glossy coating. And right when you think this shrub can’t get much better, it delivers a spectacular floral show. Neighborhood butterflies and hummingbirds will like the bright pink blooms that adorn evergreen abelia at the start of summer.
It’s wise to select kinds that will match the dimensions of your landscape for borders. Use it as a hedge or screen in a diverse border situation.
Even though it is not native, it is not an invasive plant, so it’s ideal for your borders. This shrub grows at a moderate to quick pace, with annual height increases ranging from 1 foot to over 2 feet. Evergreen abelia is drought and deer resistant, tolerates pollution, and flourishes in breezy or sloping settings.
Privets (Ligustrum obtusifolium)
This heavily branched bush with fine foliage is incredibly adaptive to a broad range of environmental settings and is usually used as a decorative screen—an all-around excellent privacy wall. Privet plants can be quite high and broad, and because the foliage grows so closely around each other, they make excellent hedge plants. Privets can also serve as lovely leafy scenery for your bigger planting sections.
Barrenworts will undoubtedly fit your use case if you’re scouting for lively perennials for your border. These plants, which blossom with a gorgeous array of flowers throughout the Spring months, are among the most liked picks for shady landscaping borders. The blooms’ most distinctive feature is that they seem nearly spidery in various colors, such as violet, purple, pink, magenta, white, and others.
Many Barrenwort types are recognized for their gorgeous leaves, which turn coppery in the fall months. Barrenworts do well in hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)
Moss rose plants are often cultivated in pots arranged on the front edges of gardening area border lines, as lining along paved paths. It also looks wonderful in a variety of situations because of its trailing tendency and uninterrupted flowering output.
Moss rose comes in various hues; the variety of possibilities you may construct with this plant is nearly limitless. Moss rose flowers are often vivid, colorful, and rich colors, although there are also muted pale choices. Some varieties have multiple colors on a single flower.
Because moss rose plants are accustomed to arid climates, their stems and foliage are soft and juicy, and the foliage saves water for future consumption. Ideally, you should place them in well-drained rocky or sandy soil in bright sunlight.
Thrift (Armeria maritima)
Thrift (or sea pink) is a great border plant for anyone searching for a compact, thick mass of deep green, grass-like leaves. It has many uses in the landscape, and you can even grow it in containers! In the early summer and springtime, the foliage is adorned with small clusters of yellow, white, and pink blooms on thin, bare stems towering six to ten inches over the leaves.
In USDA zones 3 to 9, the plant grows best in bright sunlight and damp, well-drained soil. Thrift can grow in a variety of soil types, including clay, chalk, sand, and loam.
‘Somerset’ Daphne (Daphne × burkwoodii ‘Somerset’)
If you have a smaller garden, Somerset Daphne will be an excellent choice for a border plant, for it is a compact, rounded shrub. Everyone adores daphnes for their beautifully scented blossoms. ‘Somerset’ Daphne is a very hardy border plant with a delicate scent, and it makes anybody who gets a whiff happy. This daphne’s dense, pale green leaves lined with gold are an extra feature.
This lovely, tiny shrub yields rich pink blooms in mid-spring and occasionally throughout the summer, and it’s widely used as a bush edging alongside trees or as a foundation plant.