8 Best Evergreens for Containers - Backyard Boss
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8 Best Evergreens for Containers

If your dreams of growing towering, full evergreens are on hold because of a lack of space – don’t worry! Most evergreen trees grow amazingly well in containers. With their low-maintenance care requirements met, you can enjoy evergreens indoors and out. 

Tips for Healthy Potted Evergreens 

Get a big enough container – Although evergreens are slow to grow in pots, choosing a large container ensures the tree will be comfortable for many years, and adequate soil is an excellent insulator from varying temperatures. 

Switch up pot placement – Potted evergreens can be vulnerable to wind and freezing, so moving them to a covered area will help them stay healthy in cold conditions.

Insulate your tree’s roots – Potted tree roots need extra protection in winter, so layering the top and sides of your pot with dead leaves or mulch will help combat frigid temperatures if you live in a cold climate. 

Now that you have some tips to keep in mind, read on for the eight best potted evergreens that will add interest to your home or garden all year. 

The 8 Best Evergreens for Containers

1. Boxwood Shrub

four boxwoods in brown containers
Image credits: cocoparisienne via Pixabay

These ‘trees’ are shrubs known for pruning into any desired shape. ‘Green Mountain’ or ‘Green Gem’ is the container-friendly varieties you’ll want to consider.

The Boxwood is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and requires big, quick-draining containers for this plant’s shallow, wide-spread roots to be healthiest.

These shrubs are great low-maintenance additions to any landscape. Keep them watered well in their first year.

2. Yew Tree

close up of yew branches and berries
Image credits: Skylar Kang via Pexels

Yew trees are low-maintenance and need little to thrive; this is part of why they do so well in containers. Their growth will be slow once potted, but they can still reach heights of 20 to 30 feet.

Yews are hardy to USDA Zone 4 and need well-draining soil, as they can be susceptible to root rot if the earth is too damp.

You can trim Yews in the summertime, and they can live in either full sun or full shade. Unfortunately, the berries produced by Yew trees are poisonous to pets and people, so bear this in mind if you choose to plant them.

3. Juniper Tree

juniper seedlings in nursery pots
Image credits: Ivan Kovbasniuk via Shutterstock

Juniper trees are an excellent choice for a potted evergreen. There is a wide range of varieties you can choose from, depending on your preference. Whichever type you decide on, these trees don’t require a lot of maintenance and are an attractive addition to your outdoor space.

As with most evergreens, these will be slower to grow when potted. The ‘Skyrocket’ Juniper is hardy to USDA Zone 4, other Junipers are hardy in zones 3 to 9, and most don’t grow more than two feet wide, especially in a pot.

Junipers only need moderate water and well-draining soil and prefer full sun.

4. Pine Tree

close up of pine branch
Image credits: Irina Iriser via Pexels

The Bosnian Pine is an excellent option for a container. These trees are hardy to Zone 4 and grow into a pyramid shape. They are often planted in groups for windbreak and noise absorption or used for landscape accents.

The Bosnian Pine prefers full sun and needs weekly watering. If heat is extreme, it may need more frequent watering.

5. Italian Cypress Tree

italian cypress tree
Image credits: Kameleon007 via Canva

These columnal trees are iconic in the Italian countryside, dotting the landscape with heights up to 70 feet. The size would be considerably less when potted, but they are still a fast-growing tree, averaging 3 feet per year in ideal conditions.

This cypress is hardy in zones 8 through 10 and needs regular watering. Spider mites are a known pest for this tree, so routine inspection will allow you to deal with them if they become a problem.

6. Cotoneaster Shrub

close up cotoneaster leaves and berries
Image credits: _Alicja_ via Pixabay

The cotoneaster shrub provides beauty in every season. It produces small red, pink, or white blossoms in the spring, fall brings small red berries, and winter highlights its deep green foliage. It also has a vast range of hardy species in USDA zones 3 through 8, so wherever your climate is, there’s a Cotoneaster that will thrive!

The upright type of Cotoneasters works best in containers, and a great choice is the ‘Emerald Beauty’ variety. Although they cascade, you can trim them into hedge shapes.

These shrubs need full to partial sun, well-draining soil, and regular watering, and they don’t like to be transplanted, so make sure your containers will be suitable for them to grow.

7. Dwarf Conifer Trees

close up blue spruce branch
Image credits: Jeanettje via Pixabay

Dwarf conifers are slower growing than other conifers, so they’re the best variety for containers. The Dwarf Globe Colorado Blue Spruce is a mound-shaped shrub that will grow to 3 to 5 feet tall over 10 years and is hardy to zone 3.

It has blue/gray needles that are vibrant all year round and needs minimal care. Another great option is the Dwarf Mungo Pine, a round, gumdrop-shaped tree that is hardy in zones 3 through 7.

It takes 10 years to mature and needs moderate water, full sun, or partial shade.

8. Arborvitae Trees

close up arborvitae branch
Image credits: jdwc5 via Pixabay

The ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae is an excellent option for a large container. This Danish cultivar grows in a narrow, columnar shape with dense green foliage and is often used for privacy screens.

It has a beautiful, consistent green color and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This evergreen is hardy in zones 3 through 8 and needs full sun.

Find Your Favorite Tree and Go From There!

There are tons of options for evergreens that will thrive in containers for years to come! Choosing the right one for you comes down to the climate you live in and your preferred tree style.

Remember that although evergreens are all relatively low-maintenance and easy to care for, potting them requires a bit more watering when they’re new, so they have room to grow!

Let us know in the comments below what trees you’ve planted in pots or whether there’s a great one we didn’t mention here!

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