Gardening tips, Plants,

Top 20 Evergreen Plants for Pots: Your Ultimate Guide

Evergreen plants offer year-round colour, texture, and interest to your garden. But you’ll need the right soil type and optimal daylight conditions for best results. Find out which to choose for your garden.

13 MIN 11 Aug
Last update: 07 Aug 2023
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Are you looking for a way of brightening up your home, office, or patio? Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with potted plants, but it could be time to lick your wounds and start all over again. Because evergreen plants for pots are a fantastic choice for both indoor and outdoor gardening. 

Table of contents:
  • Evergreen Plant Basics: What You Need To Know
  • The Top 20 Evergreen Plants for Pots
  • Evergreens in pots: maintenance and care
  • Common issues with evergreen plants in pots
  • FAQs
  • Ready to get planting?

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to the world of greenery, these plants are sure to impress with their hardy nature and year-long beauty. 

From small shrubs to tall climbers, let’s delve into the world of evergreen potting plants and discover the top 20 evergreen plants that will add life to your garden or home all year round.

Evergreen Plant Basics: What You Need To Know

An evergreen plant in an ourdoor pot

As their name suggests, Evergreen plants retain their lush green foliage throughout the year, providing a constant splash of colour even in the cold, barren winter months. 

They come in various shapes and sizes, from towering trees to petite shrubs, making them a versatile option for any garden or indoor space.

The primary characteristics of evergreen plants for pots are:

Year-Round Foliage

Unlike deciduous plants that shed their leaves during certain seasons, evergreen plants maintain them throughout the year. 

This means they provide consistent colour and texture, making them ideal for adding visual interest to your garden or home regardless of the season. 

And while indoor plants are less vulnerable to the changing seasons, evergreens are often more resilient to central heating and the reduced daylight hours of autumn and winter. 

Low Maintenance

Evergreen plants are generally low maintenance, requiring minimal care beyond regular watering and occasional pruning. 

This makes them an excellent choice for both experienced gardeners and those new to plant care.

Diverse Varieties

The term “evergreen” covers a vast range of plant species, from robust outdoor trees to more sensitive indoor shrubs and vibrant climbers. 

This diversity means that there’s an evergreen plant to suit every garden and every gardener’s needs.

The Top 20 Evergreen Plants for Pots

Let’s dive into the top 20 evergreen plants for pots. Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance shrub or a robust climbing plant, you’re sure to find the perfect plant in my comprehensive list.

1. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Box wood in a ball
Boxwoods are equally happy in pots or in the ground!

Boxwood is a dense evergreen shrub known for its elegant aesthetic and easy-to-maintain nature. 

Ideal for creating hedges or topiary designs due to its dense growth habit, boxwood thrives best in sunny to partially shaded areas and requires well-drained soil.

However, boxwoods rely on the changing seasons to recharge over the winter, so they’re not generally recommended as indoor plants. The cold of winter encourages the boxwood plant into dormancy, when it rests and recharges, ready for bouncing back in spring.

Want to know more about boxwoods? Check out our expert articles about this enchanting plant. 

2. Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

Outdoor yucca plant in a pot
Everyone knows the famous Yucca plant, which grows happily outdoors in the UK.

Yucca is a striking evergreen plant, famed for its rosettes of spiky leaves and tall, central flowering stalk, bringing a tropical touch to your home. They’re generally more suited to living indoors in the UK but will survive outside if you keep them clear of wind and frost pockets. 

If positioning outside, choose a warm, sunny spot or a cool conservatory, and consider bringing the pot inside over the winter. Remove leaves damaged by wind scorch down to the central stem. 

Yuccas are incredibly drought-tolerant, making them ideal for novice plant owners, and they thrive in full sun and well-drained soil.

3. Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Evergreen heuchera

Heuchera (aka Coral bells) are herbaceous evergreen perennials known for their vibrant foliage and delicate bell-shaped flowers. They’re ideal for introducing a pop of colour to your garden and fare well in full sun and partial shade.

In general, heuchera will produce much better foliage and colour outside and aren’t typically considered good houseplants. 

These hardy plants are generally OK without winter protection and will maintain their colour and texture throughout the year. In colder regions, however, your plant may lose its leaves — but worry not: it will bounce back in spring. 

4. Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Bay tree up close
A beautiful (and delicious!) bay tree

Bay laurel is a popular evergreen plant known for its aromatic leaves, commonly used in cooking. 

Thriving in full sun to partial shade, bay requires well-drained soil and is perfect for adding fragrance to your garden or home.

Indoor bay plants need a well-draining potting mix and positioning by a south or west-facing window to maximise sunlight exposure. 

5. Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)

Close up of skimmia  buds
The stunning skimmia

Japanese skimmia is a compact evergreen shrub known for its glossy leaves, fragrant flowers, and vibrant red berries. Perfect for adding colour to your garden during the colder months, it thrives in partial to full shade.

Again, skimmia isn’t suitable as a houseplant — they require a cooler, damper environment than the average UK home can provide. Additionally, they benefit from the colder winter months to help recharge their vitality for the spring. 

6. Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)

Hart's tongue fern in a pot
The Hart’s Tongue Fern is a beautiful potted evergreen

Hart’s Tongue Fern is a unique evergreen plant known for its broad, tongue-shaped leaves. 

Perfect for bringing texture to your patio, it thrives in shady, damp areas found in woodland banks and gorges, as well as walls, on mossy branches and rocks. 

This hardy evergreen is excellent for the darker areas of your garden and shadier areas of the home. It enjoys bright indoor spots away from direct sunlight. But don’t forget — it prefers damp areas in the wild, so water it regularly — preferably using rainwater if possible.

7. Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio)

Dwarf mountain pine in the ground
A dwarf mountain pin works well directly in the ground or in pots

Dwarf Mountain Pine is a compact evergreen conifer known for its dense, bushy growth habit and striking pine needles. This stunning plant makes an excellent outdoor pine bonsai (if you’re looking for a new hobby!), remaining frost-tolerant and favouring the rigours of the UK weather. 

It’s perfect for adding texture and greenery to your garden and thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.

You can grow this dwarf pine easily from seed: spread around 25 seeds in a 10cm pot filled with good-quality compost, and cover with a further 3mm of compost. Firm the compost down and don’t allow it to dry out — keeping it constantly moist (never wet). The seeds will germinate within three weeks. 

8. Korean Fir (Abies koreana)

Korean fir pine cones close up
Korean fir – Image by 💚🌺💚Nowaja💚🌺💚 from Pixabay

The Korean Fir is a compact evergreen tree known for its stunning blue-violet cones and vibrant green needles. These gorgeous trees can grow up to 50ft in height — but don’t panic: they’re notorious slow-growing plants. In fact, it could take fifty years to reach its full potential size. 

Of course, the Korean fir isn’t recommended as a houseplant! Unless you have a 50ft atrium, of course! 

This striking fir is perfect for adding height and colour to your garden and thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.

9. Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’)

Emarald green arborvitae in pots

Emerald Green Arborvitae is a tall, narrow evergreen tree known for its vibrant green foliage and symmetrical growth habit. 

Ideal for creating a privacy screen or adding height to your garden, it thrives in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade, but requires at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. 

And while the arborvitae is happy in a pot, it will also thrive in the ground. 

10. Phormium (Phormium tenax)

Phormium in a pot
A lovely phormium in a pot

Phormium, also known as New Zealand Flax, is a large evergreen plant known for its striking, sword-shaped leaves. 

This tropical beauty is ideal for adding an exotic feel to your garden, thriving in full sun and well-drained soil.

11. Dwarf Conifers (Pinus mugo ‘Pumilio’ group)

A dwarf conifer
A dwarf conifer in a pot

Dwarf conifers are evergreen plants famed for their compact size and slow-growing nature, growing under 6 inches yearly. In fact, a 10-year-old tree is likely to remain less than 6ft high. 

These textural shrubs offer visual interest, especially during the winter months when other plants may lose their foliage. And in common with many other conifers, these dwarf varieties prefer acidic, loamy soil — mix ericaceous compost (such as well-rotted pine needles) into the planting hole if your ground is more neutral. 

12. Evergreen Trees for pots

Evergreen trees such as the Bay and Olive trees are classic choices for pots. And while olives are unlikely to ripen in the UK climate, bay trees offer a lifetime supply of fresh bay leaves, perfect for pepping up stews, pasta dishes, and barbecues. 

These trees introduce a dramatic touch to your garden or patio with their lush greenery and structure.

13. Evergreen Shrubs for pots

Shrubs like the variegated Fatsia japonica or the vibrant Azaleas are excellent evergreen plants for pots. 

They’re easy to maintain and can provide a beautiful backdrop in your garden.

Some of the best pot-appropriate evergreen shrubs include:

  • Rosa Munstead Wood
  • Luma apiculata
  • Rhododendron Dopey
  • Prestanthera rotundifolia
  • Kalmia latifolia
  • Hebe
  • Acer

14. Evergreen Climbers

Climbing evergreen plants can be a great addition to your garden, helping shield an ugly fence or wall. But more than that, climbers add life into shadier parts of your garden where not much else tends to grow. 

Examples of excellent shade-loving climbers include:

  • Climbing hydrangea
  • Honeysuckle
  • Jasmine
  • Clematis
  • Chinese Virginia creeper

15. Grasses

Evergreen grasses such as Festuca glauca or Miscanthus Sinensis are perfect for adding texture and interest to your potted plant collection. 

Most grasses are super-low maintenance and can provide excellent winter interest.

16. Herbaceous Plants

Herbaceous evergreen plants like Heuchera or Sage can bring colour and texture to your garden all year round. They are also known for their aromatic foliage, which can be a great addition to your garden.

17. Succulents

Succulents like Aloe or Echeveria are easy-to-care-for evergreen plants for pots. 

They are perfect for those who prefer a low-maintenance approach to gardening.

Some of the best outdoor evergreen succulents include:

  • Jade
  • Agave
  • Haworth is
  • String-of-Peals
  • Leatherpetal
  • Euphorbia rigidity

18. Variegated Fatsia (Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’)

A fatsia japonica in a tub
A stunning variegated fatsia

Variegated Fatsia is an evergreen shrub known for its large, glossy, palm-like leaves, which grows well even if planted in deep shade. 

The variegated version of this plant adds an extra touch of interest with its unique colouring while remaining relatively drought-tolerant and happy in any soil type. 

19. Ivy (Hedera helix)

Close up of ivy
Ivy – Image by Alexa from Pixabay

There are few of us who wouldn’t recognise ivy – a popular evergreen climbing plant known for its fast growth and ability to cover large areas quickly. It’s ideal for creating a lush, green backdrop in your garden.

One of the best things about ivy is its ability to grow in the shade, which brings textural interest over fences, trellis, and walls. 

20. Barbed Wire Plant (Calocephalus)

Barbed wire plant in a pot on a windowsill
The barbed wire plant

The Barbed Wire Plant is a unique evergreen perennial known for its silver, wiry foliage. It adds texture and interest to your garden and will survive most weather and soil conditions. 

Calocephalus is native to Australia, so it loves the sun and warmth. It can tolerate cooler temperatures but will always do better in full sun. 

Evergreens in pots: maintenance and care

Caring for evergreen plants in pots requires a specific set of practices to ensure their year-round beauty.

First, always use a high-quality potting mix that provides excellent drainage. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is a common issue with potted evergreens. Monitor the moisture level constantly, making sure the soil is moist but not sodden.

Provide the plants with ample sunlight, as most evergreens crave full sun to partial shade. It’s also vital to feed your potted evergreens with a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season to replenish nutrients.

Lastly, guard against extreme weather conditions like frost and excessive heat, as these can damage your plants. Regular pruning helps maintain shape and encourages bushier growth. Remember, with the right care, your potted evergreens can thrive and stay vibrant all year round.

Common issues with evergreen plants in pots

Addressing common issues with potted evergreen plants requires vigilance and understanding of the plant’s needs.

Yellowing or browning leaves

Yellowing or browning leaves are often a sign of stress and can be due to a variety of factors.

Overwatering is a frequent problem identifiable by symptoms like drooping foliage, yellowing leaves, leaf edema, brown spots, and a peculiar rotting smell from the soil.

Conversely, underwatering can also cause yellowing but is typically easier to rectify by resuming a regular watering schedule.

Insufficient light may lead to yellow leaves, as plants like Chinese Evergreens prefer bright, indirect light but can accommodate lower light conditions. Too much direct sunlight, however, can cause leaf burn.

Pests and diseases

Pests and diseases are common issues that can cause yellowing or browning leaves.

Monitoring your plant regularly for signs of infestation or disease can prevent further damage and promote healthier growth. In case of poor drainage leading to plant stress, it is advisable to use containers with drainage holes and regularly empty water from saucers beneath them.

By adjusting watering, lighting, and temperature conditions, and ensuring good drainage, you can effectively address the issue of yellow or brown leaves on your potted evergreens. Regularly checking for pests and diseases will also ensure your plant remains vibrant and healthy.


What kind of pots can survive winter?

The ability of a plant to survive outdoors during winter can depend on the care it receives, including appropriate potting mix, watering, sunlight exposure, fertilization, and protection against extreme weather conditions.

What plants look good in long planters?

Low-maintenance evergreen plants that would look good in long planters include yucca, coral bells, and bay laurel. Japanese Pieris, Nandina, Lavender, and Rosemary are also excellent choices for long planters due to their attractive foliage and growth habit.

What are the best privacy plants to grow in pots?

There are several plants that grow well in pots and provide a good level of privacy. Here are some of the best options: bamboo, arborvitae, boxwood, leyland cypress, hibiscus, photina.

Ready to get planting?

Choosing evergreen plants for pots is a great way to ensure year-round beauty in your garden or home. These plants are not only visually appealing but are also low maintenance, making them perfect for both experienced gardeners and beginners. 

Whether you prefer the elegance of a Boxwood or the exotic look of a Yucca, there’s an evergreen plant perfect for your needs. 

Happy gardening!

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