10 Small Evergreen Shrubs to Grow for Year-Round Curb Appeal

Updated: May 17, 2024

Small evergreen shrubs make your yard look great in every season. Dwarf evergreens also provide benefits for birds and wildlife.

Good things come in small packages, and these small evergreen shrubs and trees are no exception. Whether your space is itty-bitty or super spacious, these terrific dwarf evergreens add year-round interest and come in countless sizes, shapes, and foliage colors. Find one that’s a perfect fit for your yard.

Expert Tip: Before purchasing any small plant, be sure its mature size is what you need and want. Too often gardeners are frustrated that their “dwarf” plant covered a front window or overshadowed their house. According to the American Conifer Society, dwarf evergreen varieties can grow 1 to 6 inches per year, but make sure to check the tags on your specific variety for growth and mature size.Check out more dwarf conifers for small spaces.

DwarfbluespruceCourtesy of Monrovia

Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce

Picea pungens ‘Glauca Globosa’, Zones 2 to 7

Plant this small low-maintenance evergreen in full sun. Water it regularly while it’s young, but once it’s established, give it a good soak during dry periods. It adapts to most soils and tolerates air pollution and even some shade. Watch as new growth emerges a vibrant blue-green in spring. 

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide

Why we love it: Stiff needles offer birds excellent protection from predators.

Check out the best types of evergreen trees and how to care for them.

FirchiefwideCourtesy of Monrovia

Fire Chief Globe Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘Congabe’, Zones 5 to 8

Add a touch of red and gold to your collection of small evergreen shrubs. As seasons change, so does this dwarf evergreen: You’ll see new spring growth in bright gold, then deep red tips in fall. This perfectly shaped globe fits nicely in a rock garden, stands alone in a container or plays nice in a hedgerow. Grow it in full sun or partial shade. Also try these attractive drought-tolerant shrubs for your garden.

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Why we love it: No pruning is needed to keep up the round form.

Psst—we found 8 types of Christmas trees you can grow.

WeepingcedarcloseupCourtesy of Monrovia

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’, Zones 6 to 9

Sculpt this pliable beauty into a curtain, fountain or carpet of blue-green foliage that fits your space and landscape design. Train the main stem and prune the tree to create a one-of-a-kind focal point. Grow this gem in full sun or partial shade with moist, well-draining soil in a spot with protection from strong winds. 

Size: Variable

Why we love it: The swooping branches covered in bluish-green needles look like water cascading over stones.

Learn 7 fascinating facts about conifer trees.

Bright Gold YewCourtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder: Glenn Kopp

Bright Gold Yew

Taxus cuspidata ‘Bright Gold’, Zones 4 to 7

Add a splash of sunshine to your spring landscape with the golden needles of Bright Gold. Grow it in full sun with a little afternoon shade for the best color. Needles eventually fade to bright green as the season progresses. It tolerates urban conditions but needs moist, well-draining soil and protection from cold winter winds. 

Size: 3 feet tall and wide

Why we love it: Relish its naturally small scale, or prune it to fit your space. 

Here’s even more golden plants to make your garden glow.

Blue Shag, small evergreen shrubsPhotos courtesy of Iseli Nursery/Randall C. Smith Photographer

Blue Shag Pine

Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’, Zones 3 to 8

This pine’s short, soft needles are dusted with a tinge of blue. You’ll need to practice patience, though, because birds won’t find cones until the plants start to mature. This gem thrives in average, well-draining soil and full sun but tolerates partial shade. Grow these small evergreen shrubs in acidic soils and pollution-free areas for best results.

Size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 5 feet wide

Why we love it: Its texture, color and density make it a perfect addition to rock gardens.

Learn about these 19 things your landscaper won’t tell you.

BlueberrydelightjuniperPhoto courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Blueberry Delight Juniper

Juniperus communis ‘Blueberry Delight’, Zones 3 to 7

The silver, striped needles on this North American native appear powdery blue, making it a standout in the garden. In fall, the needles transform into a coppery bronze color. It’s tolerant of full sun, cold winters and, once established, drought. Check out our picks for the best fall shrubs.

Size: 1 to 2 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide

Why we love it: Bird activity picks up during cooler months. Feathered friends flock to feast on abundant blueberry-like fleshy cones on these small evergreen shrubs.

DwarfgoldenarborvitaeCourtesy of Monrovia

Dwarf Golden Arborvitae

Thuja orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’, Zones 6 to 9

The name may have changed (this small evergreen shrub is sometimes known as Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’), but its mass appeal remains. The pointed globe of golden-yellow foliage turns bronzy in winter. Grow this arborvitae in full sun or light shade, and shelter it from strong winds to prevent browning. Provide a bit of TLC during hot, dry weather with deep and regular watering

Size: 2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 5 feet wide

Why we love it: Birds appreciate the dense cover, and the brightly colored form will blow you away.

Dwarfscotchpine, small evergreen shrubsCourtesy of Monrovia

Dwarf Scotch Pine

Pinus sylvestris ‘Glauca Nana’, Zones 3 to 7

Strong winds are no match for this rugged beauty. It adapts to a variety of soils and tolerates urban conditions, but it does struggle a bit in the summer heat of the South. Enjoy the peeling orange bark that contrasts nicely with the bluish-green needles. 

Size: 5 to 8 feet tall and wide

Why we love it: This chameleon-like tree works well in Japanese and woodland gardens, either as a lone specimen or near a dry stream bed or boulder.

Psst—these are the best types of conifer trees to grow.

Moon Frost, small evergreen shrubsPhotos courtesy of Iseli Nursery/Randall C. Smith Photographer

Moon Frost Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis ‘Moon Frost’, Zones 4 to 7

Hemlocks are made for shade, and Moon Frost is no exception. Needles emerge white in spring for a frosty glow; in winter, look for a blush of pink. Grow these small evergreen shrubs in a cool location with partial to full shade and moist soil. 

Size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide

Why we love it: Hemlock’s graceful look is lovely to incorporate throughout the landscape.

Check out the top 10 small shrubs for small spaces.

small evergreen shrubs, Botanikfoto517261 japanese cedar, small evergreenHans-Roland Mueller/botanikfoto

Japanese Cedar

Cryptomeria japonia ‘Elegens Nana’, Zones 5 to 8

The soft, feathery texture of tiered branches creates an appealing overall irregular shape. Grow it in moist, rich, fertile soil and full sun. Japanese cedar tolerates light shade and actually appreciates a little afternoon shade.

Size: 4 to 6 feet tall and wide

Why we love it: The unusual shape combined with blue-green summer foliage and bronzy-purple winter color make these small evergreens a star in all seasons.

Backyard Tip: It takes a few years for seeds to develop and nestle in the cones, but in the meantime, birds use the trees as shelter from harsh weather and predators.