The blaze of color in your own garden does not necessarily have to end in autumn. Evergreen plants keep their green foliage or needles even in the cold season and conjure up a touch of summer in the barren winter landscape. Almost all evergreen plants are extremely robust and can even withstand double-digit minus temperatures.
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The ground covers
Evergreen plants come in a wide variety of variations, some small species can be cultivated decoratively as year-round “surface greeners” in your own garden. The maintenance effort of the undemanding plants is relatively low. The ground-covering plants successfully suppress weeds in summer due to their spread and strong growth. In the cold season, on the other hand, they offer a distinctive eye-catcher.
Whether for greening hill beds, for planting under coniferous trees or for edging borders: A large number of different types of ground-covering, evergreen plants are available in specialist shops. Some of the most popular of these plants include:
Small-leaved periwinkle – The subshrub only grows to about 20 centimeters high and is suitable as a decorative underplanting for deciduous trees. Due to its rapid, creeping growth, it covers large areas in a very short time, making it ideal for quickly removing unsightly and bare spots in newly created borders and rock gardens.
Ivy – One of the best-known representatives of evergreen plants is undoubtedly ivy. The robust climbing plant grows quickly and can easily climb trees and walls thanks to its strongly developed adhesive roots. Ivy grows in sunny and shady locations alike and otherwise makes few demands on the gardener. Due to its strong growth, regular pruning is absolutely necessary.
Creeping medlars – The rose plant from China only reaches a maximum height of about 15 centimeters. The wide and dense growth of the plant, on the other hand, can be 60 centimeters or more. Bald spots in the garden are quickly covered by creeping medlars, the plant is suitable for edging borders and hill beds. The plant prefers a sunny location and a humus-rich substrate.
Hedge myrtle – An undemanding plant, which also tolerates pruning very well. Hedge myrtle can reach a height of up to 120 centimeters and is also suitable for shady locations. With this plant you can also green dark areas of the garden.
Creeping and Cotoneaster – Oval leaves and red fruits are the typical feature of this evergreen plant. The plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be brought into different shapes. As small shrubs or ground-covering plants, they offer many design options in your own garden.
A green privacy screen in winter
For many hobby gardeners, the garden is a place of relaxation and a place to unwind after a stressful everyday life. It is understandable that parts of the green oasis are often surrounded by a fence or a hedge to shield the area from the prying eyes of outside passers-by and neighbors. Evergreen hedge plants offer you a green, dense privacy screen even in winter. These trees are also easy to care for and easy to cultivate.
Tree of life – This term summarizes various cypress plants. Depending on the variety, these plants have different growth forms and heights. The enormous pruning tolerance and the dense, fast growth make these trees extremely popular hedge plants. But even as a solitary plant, these plants offer an interesting, evergreen eye-catcher.
Bamboo – In recent years, this sweet grass has been conquering domestic gardens. Bamboo plants are also available in different sizes and growth forms. The larger varieties often reach a height of over 5 meters and can be used in many different ways. For example as a decorative border for the garden pond or as a living privacy screen. If you cultivate bamboo, you should pay attention to a rhizome lock. Because of the strong root runners of the plant, it tends to spread uncontrolled and massively.
Cherry laurel – This plant species, also often referred to as laurel cherry, has a fast, dense growth and can reach a height of up to 3 meters. Cherry laurel must be pruned radically every year to counteract the uncontrolled spread of the plant. However, the evergreen shrubs are considered to be extremely pruning-tolerant.
The decorative ones
Evergreen plants in your own garden do not always have to be used as privacy screens or to cover bare ground. Because even as solitary plants, the plants with their year-round foliage are a distinctive eye-catcher.
Boxwood – Whether it is a spacious hedge maze, an evergreen bed border or as a malleable plant for the patient gardener: the boxwood is extremely versatile and you can cultivate it almost anywhere in your own garden. Due to its pruning tolerance, you can give the wood an individual shape, which has green foliage all year round.
Holly – Leathery serrated leaves are a unique feature of this plant. The bright red berries of the holly are not only a colorful decoration in the bare winter garden, but also serve as tasty food for birds.
Evergreen magnolia – The tree, which originates from North America, belongs to the evergreen magnolia family. The plant, which is cultivated as an ornamental tree, needs nutrient-rich, permeable soil and can reach a height of up to 25 meters under ideal conditions. Due to the wide crown growth, this plant is only suitable for large gardens or parks.
watering and fertilizing
Evergreen plants in the garden need to be watered even in the cold season. Otherwise, the root ball could dry out and the plant could die off completely. Use low-lime water to avoid damaging sensitive plants. Sufficient quantities are watered on frost-free days. Check the moisture of the substrate all year round and never let it dry out completely. It is important to avoid waterlogging. In the case of heavy soil, gravel should be added to the soil as drainage during planting.
Even frugal plants need a supply of nutrients. In the warm season, compost or a liquid fertilizer is therefore regularly used as fertilizer, but this is not necessary in winter.
Some of the evergreen hedge plants and shrubs require special pruning. Only young, green shoots may be removed or trimmed. A cut in the old wood is no longer regenerated by the plants and often results in permanent bare areas in the affected areas. Regular training and pruning must therefore be carried out regularly even with young plants. Only cut back so far that the shoots can sprout again at the cutting point.
The plants with the evergreen foliage are considered to be extremely frost-resistant and can even withstand double-digit minus temperatures without being damaged. Only freshly planted plants should be covered with a protective layer of bark mulch, brushwood or lawn clippings in the first winter.
Decorative and undemanding, these are the characteristics that evergreen plants are said to have. Nevertheless, these growths must by no means be left to their own devices. When buying, make sure that you or your garden can meet the requirements of the selected plant species. For example, not all plants are suitable for being cultivated in shady locations. Instead of covering the ground all over, these plants visibly take care of themselves within a very short time and do not form any new shoots.
- Reduce evaporation in the substrate by spreading a thick layer of bark mulch around the plants. At the same time, this suppresses the growth of annoying weeds.
- Evergreen plants are cut in late autumn or early spring.
- Stinging plants are often an indication of a lack of water or a wrong location.
- Some types of evergreen plants show rapid growth. If you do not want these plants to spread unintentionally, you should cut them back regularly and set up a rhizome barrier if necessary.
- Ground-covering plants can be used to protect against erosion and to secure hanging beds thanks to their network of roots.
- If evergreen plants need a new location, you should transplant them in September.
An evergreen foliage does not necessarily protect against pest infestation or the colonization of fungal pathogens. With the right countermeasures, however, you can take quick and effective action against it.
Phoma stem rot – Infestation with the fungal pathogen Phoma exigua is not common, but deadly. Within a very short time, stem rot affects all parts of the plant, the leaves wither and increasingly turn black. Generously remove and destroy affected regions. In the case of a severe infestation, the entire plant must also be disposed of. The fungal pathogen overwinters on the infected parts of the plant, so use an effective fungicide in spring. Endangered neighboring plants can also be treated with the agent as a precaution.
Downy Mildew – Humidity and cool temperatures accelerate downy mildew infestation. This fungal pathogen penetrates the tissue of the plants and damages them from within. Typical damage includes a white coating on the leaves and a yellow to violet color. If downy mildew is not detected in time, it can lead to the death of the entire plant. Before chemical agents from specialist shops are used, you should first use the following tips to combat it:
- Remove and discard affected plant parts.
- Spray the broth of garlic and onions.
- Spray and water the plant with horsetail broth.
Root Rot – Evergreen plants require a consistently moist root ball, but are sensitive to waterlogging. The unfavorable combination of a heavy substrate and too much moisture promotes the infestation of Phytophthora. This fungal pathogen attacks and decomposes the roots of the plant. A foul smell from the substrate and a visibly ailing crop are clear indications of existing root rot.
There are no effective home remedies or special fungicides to combat root rot. Immediately transfer the affected plant to dry substrate without removing roots that have already been damaged. If there is still enough healthy root system, the plant can often regenerate itself. Prevent waterlogging when planting by loosening heavy soil and adding coarse pebbles if necessary. Even if you water regularly with a small amount of water, you can avoid infestation with the fungal pathogen Phytophtora.
The selection of evergreen plants is not limited to firs and cypresses. In specialist shops you can get a wide range of different types of plants, which, thanks to their magnificent foliage, will bring a touch of spring to your garden even in winter. Whether an opaque hedge or a decorative solitary plant: the evergreen plants are easy to cultivate and many of them quickly forgive mistakes in care.