Evergreen and hardy ornamental trees can be a great highlight in the garden. Especially in winter when they fill the barren and defoliated green space with life and color, but of course not every plant is equally suitable for every garden. And the right choice decides whether the ornamental wood is an eye-catcher or a puny blemish.

Overview of easy-care ornamental trees

If you want to admire green and even flowering ornamental trees in your own garden all year round but still want to have little maintenance, you should stick to the following undemanding species.

  • Boxwood
  • bamboo
  • Scented flowers
  • Strawberry tree
  • Eucalyptus Tree – Eucalyptus gunnii
  • Firethorn
  • Ginster
  • Glanzmispel
  • Honeysuckle
  • Cherry laurel
  • Coral diamond
  • lavender heather
  • Tree of life
  • Liguster
  • Mahogany
  • Skimmie
  • Spindle bush
  • Holly – Ilex
  • Witch hazel bush
  • cypress

The boxwood is not unknown to many hobby gardeners, but only a few know the possibilities of its versatility. Even the number of cultivated forms is almost unmanageable.

In general, the boxwood prefers a sunny spot, but can also tolerate partial shade. It needs loose soil with a high humus content. Sandy soils or loam soils are ideal if some lime is added to them. Simple garden soil is also sufficient for the box tree.
As long as it is not kept too moist, it is very robust and can withstand even harsh winters without any problems.

In addition, the box tree can be in almost any shape in the garden as a hedge, high trunk, shrub or solitary ornamental wood. It grows relatively slowly and is generally undemanding.

Bamboo is more likely to be associated with tropical climes, but there are now numerous winter-hardy varieties in the local trade. You can choose between high and ground-covering cultivars, which are suitable for almost every light condition.

In any case, the bamboo needs a loose and very permeable soil. A humus-rich sand or clay substrate is suitable. The introduction of a loosening agent and a drainage layer made of gravel is recommended.

If these needs are satisfied, the bamboo rewards with strengthening and resilient evergreen stalks. And these stand out as exotic eye-catchers, especially in the winter garden. In the Asian or Japanese garden design, the bamboo should of course not be missing.

Tip: Not all types of bamboo are frost-hardy, so when making your selection you have to pay attention to the suitability.

Scented flowers
The scented flowers or osmanthus, as these olive plants are also called, are not only easy to care for and evergreen – their flowers also give off an intense scent.Whether they stand free in the garden or are cultivated in a tub, with proper care, scented flowers prove to be robust and resilient. In addition, scented flowers are not picky when it comes to location. This can be in the blazing sun or in the shade in summer – both and everything in between is tolerated. Short periods of dryness are tolerated, but this evergreen ornamental wood is more comfortable with even moisture. This also applies to winter.

If you also fertilize two to three times a year and give the scented flower a little protection from the sun in winter, it enriches the garden with fresh greenery and beautiful flowers.

Eucalyptus tree – Eucalyptus gunnii
The evergreen eucalyptus tree or more precisely Eucalyptus gunnii can be an exotic eye-catcher in the snowy garden due to its robust winter hardiness.

If it is offered a very sunny location and sufficient water, it can gain height by up to half a meter per year. Depending on the upbringing, it can grow into a tree up to five meters high or an attractive and large shrub.

What is special about Eucalyptus gunnii: Its strong, fresh scent is more than pleasant on human noses. However, annoying mosquitoes and numerous pests are deterred by it.
In addition to these already convincing advantages, there are also the interesting flowers and the suitability as a cut plant for vases and arrangements.

Anyone who brings a firethorn into the garden not only gets a visual enrichment, but also makes it extremely popular with many species of birds. Because the fruits are downright delicacies for them, which represent a valuable additional source of food in autumn and winter. Apart from its popularity with birds, the firethorn is a frugal evergreen ornamental wood. It prefers a sunny location, but also thrives in partial shade.

There are numerous different types of gorse in very different forms on the market. Cultivated forms that cover the ground are also available, as well as upright and fairly tall ornamental trees.
However, they are all blooming.

As a rule, the gorse prefers sunny places and barren soils. It can therefore not only be an eye-catcher in the garden, but also fill a gap where hardly any other plant grows.

The evergreen Loquat owes its name to the leaves that appear almost lacquered. If this ornamental wood is given a sunny, warm and protected location – even in winter – it proves to be a resilient and undemanding plant.

The loquat can be planted as a solitary plant or as a hedge. She doesn’t need a cut, but she can handle it. And also the flowers that the medlar bears rich and lush are a wonderful highlight.

The honeysuckle is evergreen, hardy and so undemanding that it hardly needs any care. Only the right location has to be chosen and a thick layer of bark mulch has to be applied for protection. The honeysuckle grows best in the sun or light shade, somewhat protected from wind and drafts. Supplied in this way, the honeysuckle needs neither additional watering nor fertilizer.
But be careful, especially the fruits of this ornamental wood are poisonous.

Cherry laurel
The cherry laurel is a lush ornamental wood and thrives best in a sunny spot. This evergreen plant normally grows quite quickly. Even though she prefers barren soils. Strong blends can therefore be carried out without any problems, the cherry laurel tolerates them well.

This ornamental wood cannot withstand drought. It should therefore be kept evenly moist, because a drying substrate makes the cherry laurel susceptible to various diseases. Apart from this maintenance, however, no further measures are required.

Coral rue
The coral rue is only partially hardy, but as an evergreen ornamental wood it is a feast for the eyes. Anyone who lives in a rather mild winter climate or has a very sheltered corner in the garden will enjoy it for a long time. In summer it captivates with a lush and luminous display of flowers that is second to none. In winter it still looks decorative due to the filigree leaves. Besides sufficient water, a shady location and occasional fertilization, it does not require any special care.

Lavender heather – shadow bells
The lavender heather is an evergreen ornamental wood that makes few demands on maintenance. If it is given a location in light shade and a moist but still permeable soil, it will thrive without any problems and will soon show the first fiery flowers. Although these cannot be seen in winter, the lavender heather is still appealing during the cold months. The reason for this is the interestingly colored foliage.

It can be socialized well, for example with hostas and ferns. If you don’t want to water too often, you should opt for the rich flowering lavender heather, it can withstand drought best.

Lebensbaum – Thuja
Der Lebensbaum ist aus vielen Gärten gar nicht mehr wegzudenken und eignet sich durch sein vergleichsweise schnelles Wachstum und die geringen Anforderungen in erster Linie als Hecke. Er kann jedoch auch gut solitär stehen, in kleinen Grüppchen gepflanzt werden oder verschiedene Gartenbereiche voneinander formschön abtrennen.

Alles was er zu einem guten Gedeihen benötigt, ist ein sonniger Standort und ein feuchtes Substrat. Gießen ist dennoch kaum notwendig, der Lebensbaum versorgt sich sehr gut selbst.

Zeit dieses immergrüne Ziergehölz ein verringertes Wachstum, hilft ihm eine Gabe Kalk auf die Sprünge. Sonstiges Düngen ist nicht erforderlich.

Der Liguster benötigt schon etwas Pflege, ist dafür aber eine robuste Pflanze, die sich selbst im Stadtklima nicht unterkriegen lässt.

Wird dem Liguster ein sonniger Standort, reichlich Wasser und nährstoffhaltiges Substrat geboten, wächst er schnell und dicht. Daher kann mit ihm auch eine Hecke begründet werden.
Wer das Wachstum noch zusätzlich beschleunigen und verdichten möchte, greift regelmäßig zu Schere und Dünger. Dann lassen sich aus dieser immergrünen Pflanze auch schöne Formen zaubern.

Die Mahonie kennen viele aus Parks und öffentlichen Grünanlagen, dabei ist der Name jedoch nicht allzu bekannt. Schade eigentlich, denn auch im eigenen Garten macht dieses winterharte Ziergehölz eine gute Figur.

Auffällige Blüten, schöne Fruchtkörper und auffällige Blätter – die Mahonie hat viel zu bieten. Dabei ist sie recht anspruchslos. Sie möchte lediglich einen hellen Standort, der aber keiner direkten Sonneneinstrahlung ausgesetzt ist. Dazu einfache Gartenerde, die eher trocken gehalten wird – mehr ist für gutes Gedeihen nicht notwendig. Da die Mahonie langsam wächst, benötigt sie auch keinen Verschnitt.

Die Skimmie duftet, bildet auffällige Blütenknospen aus, die bereits im Winter weithin sichtbar sind und besticht durch leuchtende Farben.

Sie stellt keine besonderen Anforderungen und benötigt lediglich einen Standort im lichten Schatten.
Gegen Trockenheit ist sie allerdings empfindlich, vor allem, wenn es sich um eine noch junge Skimmie handelt. Dennoch sollte erst gegossen werden, wenn die oberste Schicht des Substrats abgetrocknet ist.

Der Spindelstrauch erfordert einen sonnigen oder halbschattigen Standort, der möglichst geschützt liegen sollte. Wird ihm dieser geboten, ist er das ganze Jahr über eine dezente Dekoration im Garten. Auch die Blüten fallen bei vielen Zuchtformen eher unscheinbar aus, wodurch der Spindelstrauch gut als Füllpflanze zwischen farbenfroheren Gewächsen dienen kann.

Holly – Ilex
The holly captivates with the contrast between the glossy, dark green leaves and the bright red fruiting bodies. These act as ornaments throughout the winter – and are also a valuable source of food for some bird species. But for the berries to appear at all, female and male holly must be planted.

The holly is suitable as a solitary ornamental wood, but can also be built into a hedge. Shape cuts are also possible.

In order for it to thrive, it needs a lime-free but humus-rich soil that is permeable. However, the holly must never dry out completely. A location in the light shade is ideal.

Witch hazel shrub
The witch hazel shrub is not an evergreen, but it should not be missing from the list of winter hardy highlights. If it stands on moist soil, in a nutrient-rich but lime-free substrate, and if it is abundantly watered in summer, it begins to bloom in the middle of winter. These unusual flowers persist even when severe frosts break in.

A sunny location that is warm and protected, a damp and light substrate – the cypress is satisfied with that. Due to their rapid growth, the fertilizer should not be used too sparingly either.

However, it is only partially hardy and may therefore require additional protection if the winter climate is not very mild.

Tip: Older cypress trees can withstand harsher winters.

Deciduous ornamental trees

Even if the following ornamental trees shed their leaves in winter, they are still not boring. Instead, like the ornamental maple, they impress with their interesting shapes that only really come into their own without leaves.

Or by striking bark coloring, as it is particularly impressive in the case of the pseudo camellia.

  • Chokeberry
  • Feather bush
  • hazelnut
  • Judas tree
  • Cork spindle bush
  • False camellia
  • Snowdrop tree
  • Bush chestnut
  • Pigeon tree
  • Weigelie
  • Zierahorn
  • Dwarf barberry

Winter flowering and especially early flowering ornamental trees

Not only evergreen plants can make an impression in the winter garden. Great accents are also possible with decorative woods that bear flowers or fruit in winter or bloom very early.
The most decorative plants in this category include:

  • Medicinal dogwood
  • Dipladenie
  • Meat berry scent
  • Hazelnut corkscrew
  • Kornelkirsche
  • Frühblühende Magnolie
  • Red winter berry
  • Snow Forsythia
  • Siberian blueberry
  • winter blue
  • Winterjasmin
  • Ornamental apricot

The list of evergreen and hardy ornamental trees is much longer than many a hobby gardener might believe. With the right selection, the garden does not have to degenerate into a bare landscape even in winter and can even be enriched with colorful flowers and berries.

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