The 5 low-growing evergreen shrubs every garden needs

They'll bring year-round interest, colour and character

low-growing evergreen shrubs Mid spring garden display made up of 3 colors of tulips surrounding a low growing Daphne plant
(Image credit: Alamy)

Low-growing evergreen shrubs are an essential part of garden design. Providing year-round interest, they create a backbone against which annuals and bulbs come and go as the seasons change.

Evergreen shrubs are available in a range of heights and widths, however, if you have a small garden, or are looking for something to line a path or define a border, then low-growing evergreen shrubs will be the preferred option.

Whether you are looking to frame a cottage garden or want to soften garden landscaping, low-growing evergreen shrubs are a valuable addition to a garden scheme. From plants that bring winter colour to those that will perfume your plot, there is a type of low-growing evergreen shrub for every style and space.

1. Hebe

Beautiful, vibrant, colorful Silver Dollar Hebe plant, a multi-stemmed evergreen bush

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Available with beautiful variegated leaves or in vibrant shades of pink and purple, hebes are perfect if you want low-growing evergreen shrubs that pack a punch.

'I particularly love Hebe ‘Kirkii’ with its delicate white summer flowers, planted in combination with the wispy Mexican feather grass, Stipa tenuissima,' says Isabelle Palmer, city garden designer and founder of The Balcony Gardener.

To keep hebes looking their best, prune in April

Where to buy hebe

2. Andromeda polifolia

'Blue Ice' Bog-rosemary, Rosling (Andromeda polifolia) Alamy M618NW

(Image credit: Alamy)

Reaching an average height of 15cm tall, these spreading low-growing evergreen shrubs are perfect for lining a path or framing a border.

Nicknamed Bog Rosemary, its leaves resemble those of the Mediterranean herb, however, come spring it erupts with a profusion of small pink bell-like blooms – perfect for brightening up a lacklustre garden border.

As if this wasn't enough, the blooms are also a favourite of pollinators and so are a welcome addition to wildlife garden ideas.

Where to buy Andromeda polifolia

3. Lavender

Lavender growing by a front fence on a coastal garden

(Image credit: Alamy)

Loved for its beautiful fragrance and towering purple blooms, lavender is a certain favourite. Before adding this plant to your garden, be sure you know how to grow lavender as this will help to give the plant the best start.

‘Lavenders simultaneously lend themselves to both formality and naturalness,' says Simon Charlesworth, owner and master grower of Downderry Lavender. 'There is nothing quite like a garden path bordered with just one variety of lavender. Equally a broad border with a mixture of lavenders of differing hues of blues, purples, pinks and whites, habits and flowering times can be an intoxicatingly beautiful blend.'

As a drought-tolerant plant, you don't need to be overly concerned about watering though it will thank you for an good drink during very dry spells. If you are looking for an especially compact variety, try L. Angustifolia 'Purple Treasure' (available from Coolings Nursery), which will reach an ultimate height of 50cm. 

Where to buy lavender

4. Winter heathers

Frozen heather flowers in the winter snow. This image was taken in a forest close to Drammen city Norway.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to winter flowering shrubs, winter heathers provide fabulous low-level ground cover. With colourful blooms ranging from the classic purple and vibrant pinks through to electric oranges or pure whites – there is a colour for every garden, and so is perfect for adding colour to a winter garden. The majority of winter heather plants reach around 25cm high. 

'Heather is also good for wildlife, being rich in nectar for bees to feast on before winter begins,' adds garden writer and photographer Nicola Stocken.

Where to buy winter heather

5. Daphne

Mid spring garden display made up of 3 colors of tulips surrounding a low growing Daphne plant

(Image credit: Alamy)

Daphne is slow growing, so makes the perfect easy garden idea – since it doesn't need regular pruning to maintain its compact shape. Planting daphne will help you create a fragrant garden as well as a beautiful one.

If height is a particular consideration, opt for Daphne cneorum 'Eximia' which grows to a maximum height of 50cm or Daphne sericea 'Collina Gardens' which reaches 60cm.

Where to buy Daphne

FAQs

Are there flowering evergreen shrubs?

Yes, there are plenty of flowering evergreen shrubs. Some of our favourite flowering low-growing evergreen shrubs include:

  • Winter heathers
  • Hebes
  • Lavender
  • Bog rosemary
  • Rhododendron

How do you look after evergreen shrubs?

Evergreen shrubs are, for the most part, hardy and very undemanding. Choosing the right shrub for the right place in your garden will make it easier to care for – take into consideration light levels and soil type. Opting for low-growing evergreen shrubs will also help to reduce the need for pruning.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor

Holly is one of Ideal Home’s content editors. Starting her career in 2018 as a feature writer and sub-editor for Period Living magazine, she has continued this role also adding regular features for Country Homes & Interiors and the Ideal Home website to her roster.  Holly has a passion for traditional and country-inspired interiors – especially kitchen design – and is happiest when exploring the countryside and hills of the Lake District. A keen gardener, she is a strong believer that you can never have too many houseplants.