The 9 Most Interesting Evergreens to Plant in Massachusetts

korean fir

Go beyond the mundane and try something new for an interesting backdrop or a focal point for your yard all year long. Interesting evergreens are readily available at garden centers—so be daring and plant one into an existing bed or border! Make sure to consider growth rate, though, as some take years to grow 6 inches and others will grow 2 feet per year. Slower, dwarf varieties work well in a small space or closer to the house where they can be seen.



Evergreens come in more colors than just green. Some striking varieties come in colors of gold, lime green, silver or a combination.

1. ‘Forever Goldy’ Arborvitae – Narrow growing stays golden all year round but with a more bronzy hue in winter. Plant it in front of a green backdrop to enjoy its dramatic color. Mix it into plantings with silver or burgundy hues. It looks great in winter containers as a young plant, too. ‘Forever Goldy’ has a columnar shape that mixes easily into small spaces. Give it a sunny location for the best growth.

2. Korean Fir ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ – A beautiful needled tree best seen up close. It is slow growing with needles that flex inwards revealing its silvery undersides. Its needles are soft, retaining the silver color all winter. Eye-catching, upright purple cones are produced on the branches. A pyramidal tree, it grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide in 10 years.

3. ‘Daub’s Frosted’ Juniper – A low spreading juniper is particularly unique among other creeping juniper. New growth is lime green above the bluish green interior foliage. Works well as a groundcover or on a difficult and sunny spot. It is more unique than most junipers on the market. The mature size is 8 feet wide by 2 feet high.

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Photo: Korean Fir 


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Photo: Korean Fir Cones


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Photo: Juniper Daubs


4. Dragon’s Eye Japanese Red Pine – Small specimen pine with butter yellow banding on the long needles. When you look down onto the tip of a branch, it looks like an eye, hence its name.  It has a very soft, fine texture and is slow growing,10 feet after 10 years of growth. The bark is scaly and fissured with colors in gray to rusty orange. It can look a bit floppy when its young, but give it time and it will be a graceful garden favorite.

5. Weeping  Sargent’s Hemlock – Softly textured, weeping form of our native hemlocks it is a graceful,  arching accent tree that grows in full sun to shade. Branches are broad and spread up to 5 feet tall by 8-10 feet wide. Don’t hide it behind bigger plants as it contributes a graceful element that needs to be seen.

6. Umbrella Pine – Pyramidal shape, needled evergreen, needles arranged in whorls like an umbrella, glossy needles 2 – 5 inches long, long-lived, slow-growing maybe 6 inches per year, is a “living fossil” as it has no known close relatives it’s history can be traced back to the Triassic period. Found in cool mountainous regions in central Japan.

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Photo: Umbrella Pine


Rounded, thin, arching and weeping…evergreens grow in so many shapes.

7. Dragon Lady Holly – Has a forbidding name but this super glossy evergreen grows into a lean, tall pyramid 15 feet high and 6 feet wide. Vibrant red berries accent deep bluish green foliage. It retains its elegant shape without pruning but will allow it if you want to keep it perfectly symmetrical. Dragon Lady holly is a lovely specimen holly suited to foundation plantings and borders.

8. Mr. Bowling Ball – Arborvitae is not what you would ordinarily think of as an arborvitae. Mr. Bowling Ball is dwarf, softly textured and never needs pruning. At 3 feet tall and wide its rounded form is suitable for foundations, along walkways, containers and more. Bright green, lacy foliage is retained all year.

9. Russian Cypress has low growing, arching branches with a feathery texture similar to arborvitae. It spreads 8 feet wide and only 1 foot tall so it makes a nice groundcover. Russian cypress is an effortless alternative to creeping juniper. It tolerates full sun and shade, moist soil. Give it room to grow without requiring pruning to appreciate the soft arching fronds.

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Photo: Russian Cypress

Call the experts at Land Design Associates to help you select and install wonderful plants for your garden.  Contact us or call 781-769-3286 to set up a no cost consultation.

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