Evergreens that Brighten the Winter Landscape

When you look out your window at the snow-covered winter horizon, feelings of melancholy or perhaps even depression may wash over you. Winter ‘tis the season for a disorder known by the acronym SAD.

Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) afflicts a multitude of people during the bleak, gray months of winter, and planting some evergreens with bright berries in your landscape to look at during the winter months will brighten the landscape and lighten your mood.

The pops of evergreen and berry color in the white/gray background attract wildlife for viewing pleasure to lift the boredom and ease the monotony of a white horizon. Consider planting some of these easy-to-grow evergreens to brighten the winter landscape, lift your mood and increase property value.


Boxwood bush

The boxwood (Buxus) has been aptly nick-named the most popular evergreen shrub in America because it shows up in so many landscapes across the country. Hardy in zones 5-8, easy-care growing habits, and evergreen leaves are the reason for its popularity. Boxwoods will reach a mature height of 15 feet tall by 15 feet wide if left untrimmed, but the evergreens are very easy to keep pruned and shaped to create an elegant hedgerow or living privacy fence.


The nandina (Nandina domestica) is a little and colorful shrub that produces year around color. The fern-like foliage starts out green in the spring, then changes to red, burgundy and bronze as the seasons change. Hardy in zones 6-10, nandina will reach a mature height of seven feet tall and four feet wide.

Washington Hawthorn

Not exactly an evergreen, but this medium-sized tree produces delicate white blooms in the spring and small, glossy red berries in the fall. The red berries remain on the tree all winter or until the wildlife eat them all off, whichever comes first. Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) grows to be about 30 feet tall when mature and is hardy in zones 3-8.

Abelia Shrub

A vibrantly colored semi-evergreen, the abelia (Abelia x grand flora) flowering shrub that grows in its own direction. The shrub reaches a mature size of six feet tall and six feet wide, with a few branches that may reach out to around ten feet in length.

In cold climates, the abelia shrub is a semi-evergreen and in warm climates, the shrub will drop all its leaves in fall. The green leaves and rose-colored, fragrant blooms borne on the long, arching branches of this shrub will brighten the early winter landscape in zone 3-9. Abelia is drought tolerant and grows well in poor soil.

Southern Wax Myrtle

Southern wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) is a large evergreen shrub that reaches a mature height of 20 feet. This fragrant shrub produces bluish-gray fruits in the fall and is hardy in zones 7-9.  Another attribute about the souther was myrtle is its natural ability to repel mosquitos in the summer.

False Cypress

False cypress (Chamaecyparis) is the evergreen shrub with golden foliage. This evergreen brightens the winter landscape with its fine-textured, yellow-green foliage and fills the cold winter air with its fragrance. Hardy in zones 5-9 and reaching a mature height of 40 feet tall with a 30 feet spread, this evergreen shrub is a bird magnet that provides winter shelter for traveling birds and visual interest for the bird watcher in your home.


The stately evergreen magnolia (Magnolia) tree grows in a conical shape and produces large, white fragrant blooms. The glossy green leaves are often used in wreaths and garlands and are borne on sweeping branches that start at ground level with a 30 foot spread across the bottom and end at about a mature height of 50 feet. A wide variety of the magnolia species is available and grows in almost all zones.

Pine Trees

The evergreen pine tree species range in size from dwarf to majestic, it all depends on the species planted. All pines have coarse-textured, fragrant evergreen needles that can be used in floral displays. Pine trees also develop various sizes of cones that wildlife finds tasty as winter treats. Hardy in zones 3-10, evergreen pine trees can be grown in containers or in the landscape.

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