Tropical Style

Evergreen Planting Designs

Designing using evergreens means enjoying a house garden filled with year round color. Evergreen plants are available with many leaf colors, not just green. Variegated plants bring light to gardens, and other plant colors, such as gold, purple and blue, contrast with one another to create beautiful effects. Choosing perennials and shrubs well-suited to growing conditions provides structure and continuity, and assists your plants thrive with minimal maintenance.


Variegated silverberry (Elaeagnus pungens “‘Maculata”) is an evergreen tree which likes moisture-retentive soil. Growing 10 to 15 feet tall and wide, its bright yellow, green-edged leaves light up the backyard, and in autumn it consumes sweetly fragrant, miniature flowers. This tree grows best in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9. A green-and-white variegated perennial, Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius “Janet Starnes”) brightens a shady place, and its prolific yellow blooms also offer winter color. Increasing 1 to 3 feet high and 6 to 12 inches wide, Corsican hellebore is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9.


Golden paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera “Golden Shadow”) is an impressive evergreen shrub or small tree. Its golden leaves provide a glorious backdrop and highlight purple or blue evergreens in the foreground. Hosta “Piedmont Gold” echoes the golden impact with its wavy-edged, large leaves, measuring 10 inches long and 7 wide. This large, evergreen perennial prefers an east-facing place in well-draining dirt. Both plants are hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9 and grow happily in sun or part shade.


Digger’s speedwell (Parahebe perfoliata) is an evergreen shrub with blue-green blue and leaves, late-summer flowers. This Australian indigenous loves it bright and hot, and grows best in USDA zones 9 to 11. Yet another blue-leaved plant, Euphorbia rigida is an easy evergreen perennial for a dry place. It has narrow, pointed, leaves and spring to summer bears attractive yellow bracts. Suitable for USDA zones 7 through 11, this plant grows between 1 and 3 feet tall and wide. Care is advised when pruning euphorbias as their white sap is an irritant.


Purple goose leaf (Acaena inermis “Purpurea'” is a short, spreading, evergreen tree. Its purple leaves form interesting ground cover and highlight taller, golden-leaved plants. Hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9, purple goose leaf enjoys full sun and well-drained land. A purple-leaved, evergreen continued for comparable conditions, however also tolerating a colour, is Crinum “Sangria.” This plant’s 1- to 3-feet-long leaves create structure, and in spring it bears beautiful pink flowers. Crinum “Sangria” grows best in USDA zones 7 to 11.

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