The 6 Best Flowering Evergreen Shrubs

Published on March 13th 2020
Honeybee on Ceanothus Blossom
Flowering evergreen shrubs are invaluable to a garden. Once a year they steal the show with their blooms but also add colour and character all year round. To help you find the perfect one for your garden, I've chosen six of the best to share with you.

1. Berberis

Prickly to handle, Berberis can have spines on their stems, on their leaves or on both.
They are a great choice to grow where soils are less than ideal as they grow well on heavy soils and will also take to thin sandy soils too.
In my old nursery, I used to grow over 30 species and varieties of evergreen Berberis in their 10s of thousands each year.
Of all the various species, Berberis darwinii is hard to beat!
Closeup of orange buds and flowers of Darwin's Barberry
Leaves are always small with Berberis and flowers are produced profusely.
Often, as with B. darwinii, the spring flowers are followed by berries in autumn.

2. Ceanothus

Fast and colourful; Ceanothus are justifiably popular evergreen flowering shrubs.
The common name is Californian Lilac, although they are nothing like a typical lilac tree.
Ceonothus originate from Californi, so it will come as no surprise that they like sunshine, so make sure you have sunny spot to plant it in.
a flowering Ceanothus bush with large blue flowers
Ceanothus also like fast drainage and do well in poor soils. An alkaline soil will suit these well. Find out more here:
On the downside, evergreen Ceanothus don't like being pruned so think carefully about the size before planting. If you must prune - do it as soon as the spring blooms fade and cut a little and often.
This is in total contrast to deciduous Ceanothus which are best pruned very hard every spring.
While being very wind tolerant (even those salty coastal winds), evergreen Ceanothus can have a very poor root system and might one day blow over.
Evergreen Ceanothus also dislike really cold temperatures.
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3. Cytisus

Commonly known as Brooms, Cytisus are very fast growing flowering evergreen shrubs and are suited to well-drained, impoverished soils.
Spring flowers are very prolific, sweetly scented and come in a wide range of colours.
A red flowered broom bush, Cytisus
Bright red Cytisus 'Boskoop'
Another shrub that's a sun lover, brooms won't tolerate shade very well.
Also, because of their relatively weak root system, they can be shorter-lived than other shrubs.

4. Escallonia

With their fast growth and mid-summer blooms; escallonias produce very fast results and are very easy shrubs to look after!
Pink flowers on an Escallonia Donard Seedling bush
Escallonia 'Donard Seedling'
Since salt-laden gales don't damage them, they are a great choice to plant near the coast.
You can prune Escallonia regularly, but to avoid missing out on flowers the following summer, prune immediately after the flowers fade.
Most flowers come in shades of red or pink, but there are one or two excellent white ones to look out for.
A close up of a white Escallonia flower
Escallonia x iveyii is one of them!
Unfortunately, in some areas, Escallonias have suffered from a leaf spotting disease that can cause defoliation. Regular fungicide spraying might check this, but it might be worth having a look around other escallonias in your area to see whether you might be at risk before buying.

5. Garrya

Like the Ceanothus, Garrya is another evergreen originating from south-west USA and central America.
They will grow well on poor, well-draining soil, and will tolerate soil with a high lime content and pH.
Catkins hanging from a Garrya bush
_Garrya elliptica_ 'James Roof'
Unlike the Ceanothus, you can plant Garrya in the shade and would be perfect for training on a north-facing wall.
The long catkins appear in mid-winter and, while not especially colourful, any flower in the garden at this time of year is valuable.
The longest and showiest flowers are on the male plants. It's well worth looking out for one of my favourite varieties - 'James Roof'.
Grown away from a wall, it can get rather large and untidy, so prune just as soon as the flowers fade.
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6. Hebe

There's a Hebe bush for every day of the year, and most of them are great garden plants.
Not all Hebe are grown for their flowers, and some have very showy coloured foliage.
All hebes are evergreen and originate from New Zealand. However, many new selections have been made here in Britain.
pink hebe flowers on a bush
Hebe 'Jane Holden'
The flowering period for this versatile evergreen bush is long with first blooms appearing on some varieties in spring and continuing right through until autumn.
Flower colours range from shades of white, pink, red, purple and even blue.
white flowers on a hebe plant
White flowered Hebe salicifolia
Hebes are very wind tolerant and grow rapidly.
As the climate changes, it has become possible to grow hebes in areas that would have been too cold for them 20 years ago.
Many of the small and medium-sized varieties are excellent subjects for growing in large containers.
You can prune them back hard in late spring if necessary, and removing spent blooms ('dead-heading') will encourage plants to bloom for longer.
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.
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