By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Be careful about selecting evergreen shrubs for USDA zone 9. While most plants thrive in warm summers and mild winters, many evergreen shrubs require cold winters and don’t tolerate extreme heat. Read on to learn about just a few evergreen zone 9 shrubs.
Emerald green arborvitae (Thuja accidentalis) – This evergreen grows 12 to 14 feet (3.5 to 4 m.) and prefers areas having full sun with well-drained soil. Note: Dwarf varieties of arborvitae are available.
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea) – This plant reaches heights varying from 1 to 20 feet (30 cm. to 7 m.). Plant in full sun or partial shade in areas having moist, rich, well-drained soil. Note: Bamboo palm is often grown indoors.
Pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana) – Looking for a drought-tolerant evergreen specimen? Then the pineapple guava plant is for you. Reaching up to 20 feet (to 7 m.) in height, it’s not too picky about location, full sun to partial shade, and tolerates most soil types.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) – Not a plant for those with young children or pets due to its toxicity, but a beautiful plant nonetheless. Oleander grows 8 to 12 feet (2.5 to 4 m.) and can be planted in sun to partial shade. Most well-drained soils, including poor soil, will do for this one.
Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) – The shrub form reaches 3 to 6 feet (1 to 4 m.) and performs well in full sun to partial shade. As long as the soil is well draining, this barberry is relatively carefree.
Compact Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’) – This holly variety enjoys sun to partial shade areas with moist, acidic soil. This smaller inkberry reaches a mature height of around 4 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 m.).
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – This popular evergreen herb is actually a shrub which can reach heights of 2 to 6 feet (.5 to 2 m.). Give rosemary a sunny position in the garden with light, well-draining soil.
Although shrubs can be planted in early spring, autumn is the ideal time to plant evergreen shrubs for zone 9.
A layer of mulch will keep the soil cool and moist. Water well once or twice every week until the new shrubs is established – about six weeks, or when you notice healthy new growth.
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Read more about Zone 9, 10 & 11
Boxwood (Buxus spp.) – Zone 4-9, depending on the cultivar. Boxwoods are broadleaf evergreen shrubs that make great foundation plants because of their year-round color and ease of care. Boxwoods range in size from a diminutive 2’ tall to 7’ or more, so be sure you check out the exact cultivars and their expected dimensions. Boxwoods are also popular foundation plants because they tolerate part shade in addition to full sun conditions.
Red Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) – Zone 9-10. An annual ornamental grass, this beautiful plant is usually grown from new plants set out each spring, although some people dig the fountain grass up each fall and overwinter indoors. Burgundy foliage and ornamental seed heads make this grass an easy to grow accent piece that makes the best contrast against bold-textured foliage plants in full sun areas. If you leave fountain grass standing through the winter, the arching foliage and dried seed heads can create architectural winter interest.
Lavender ‘Munstead’ (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’) – Zones 5-8. A favorite plant for herb kitchen plots and cottage gardens, the lavender plant can also be an excellent addition to a basic foundation planting. The silver foliage combines easily with other plants drought tolerance means little watering time is needed, and the fragrance is nice to have near the house. Growing lavender is easy, and the plant can be added to any sunny border.
Rosa rugosa – Zones 3-8. This species of rose is more tolerant of part shade conditions than most other rose plants. Unlike fussier hybrid tea roses, the Rosa rugosa is fairly disease resistant, blooms spring through late summer, and has brightly colored fall foliage as well. Plant these 4-5’ tall deciduous shrubs in front of some evergreen shrubs to show off the colored flowers.
Christmas Rose (Hellebore spp.) – Zones 4-8. Hellebores are great for underplanting shrubs and larger perennials because of their tolerance for shade tolerance. Hellebores have year-round evergreen color and winter flowers, providing interest during a time when little else is blooming in the garden. Grow hellebores for easy-to-maintain color in the garden year-round.
Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine) – Zones 4-8. An herbaceous perennial known as lamb’s ear, this foliage plant has long, broad silver leaves. Lamb’s ear is a favorite choice for edging beds and borders because the silvery foliage combines well with other plants, and the long, fuzzy leaves are so much fun to touch. Lamb’s ear does best in full sun and is fairly drought tolerant making it a perfect addition to low-maintenance foundation plantings.
If you’re looking for more gardening tips and tricks, check out these host plants for nd butterflies and edible landscape plants that would be great additions to your outdoor space. These aromatic herbs may add a nice touch to your garden.
Ideally, the best low-maintenance shrubs should almost take care of themselves. Low-maintenance shrubs don’t need much pruning, watering, or feeding. It’s also a good idea to pick easy-care landscaping shrubs that grow in a variety of soils. This way, you will easily fill your yard with lush foliage and colorful blooms throughout the year.
Another consideration when looking for care-free landscaping bushes is sun requirements. Choose a type of shrub that grows well in the amount of sunlight your garden receives during the day. So, if your front of house gets all-day sun, choose landscaping foundation plants for full sun or partial shade.
To cut down on gardening work, it’s best to choose small or dwarf shrubs. These landscaping plants only grow a few feet (1 – 2 m) high and don’t require regular pruning to control their height.
Grow Photinia ‘Red Robin’ evergreen bushes for their beautiful red foliage in spring
This Photonia species is a shrub with red leaves that doesn’t shed foliage in winter. The evergreen shrub is an excellent hedging plant for front or back yards as it offers year-long protection. Stunning red foliage appears in spring that gradually turns to dark green. Grow in full sun to partial shade.