May 8, 2024

Evergreens for Shade

One of the most frequent questions we get at the Gardens is “What evergreen can I plant in my shady back yard?” This question is a hard one to answer because there are not a lot of evergreens that do well in the shade here in Michigan. However, there are some that will do well and even thrive in the shade.


Many arborvitaes will do well in the shade. Some arborvitae will stay small and compact such as the Grune Kugel Arborvitae and some will become tall and wide such as the Green Giant Arborvitae. Arborvitaes have adapted to grow under other trees and need about three to four hours of filtered sun to perform well. Everett’s Gardens carries many varieties of Arborvitae to suite your needs. Arborvitaes have a very soft texture to them and can vary in shades of green to yellow in color.


Yews are another great option for an evergreen that grows in the shade. Yews can be shorter and spreading like the Dense Yew, or can grow tall and skinny like the Capitata Yew. Yews can have a slow to medium growth rate and can be pruned to keep a specific shape. Yews will perform the same in shade or sun making them an ideal shade evergreen.

Russian Cypress

A great spreading evergreen that likes the shade would be a Russian Cypress. Russian Cypress reach a height of twelve to eighteen inches, but can spread to eight to fourteen feet making them a great ground cover evergreen.


Hemlocks are large evergreen trees that grow well in shade. The Hemlock have a light green color to them and a nice feathery texture. They grow well in slightly wet soils and preform will in the shade. They can reach heights of 75’+ and 35’ wide. Unlike other conifers trees, hemlocks tolerate shade very well.

Evergreen Perennials

There are even a few evergreen perennials that will do well in shade. These include Lenten rose and Pachysandra. Lenten Rose will keep their leaves throughout the winter and will even start blooming under the snow. They come in a wide variety of colors and add a nice pop of color in late winter and early spring in shady areas. Pachysandra is also a good shade loving perennial evergreen. Pachysandra will have a light green color and will spread throughout the landscape bed to form a nice groundcover.

Stop by Everett’s Gardens today and learn more about shade loving evergreens!

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