Evergreen trees

These trees carry leaves all year round and are a bold, permanent presence in a garden. They’re great for creating privacy and shelter, and cope in a range of soil types and situations. They are particularly valuable in winter, providing a green highlight when most other plants have died back or are reduced to bare stems.


Evergreen trees come in all shapes and sizes, from less than one metre tall to almost one hundred. Their leaves vary widely too, from tiny conifer needles to large palm fronds. And evergreen leaves aren’t always green – they also come in greys, yellows, reds and grey/blues, as well as variegated combinations. Some evergreens also produce attractive flowers, fruits or cones, or have beautiful bark.


Trees like to be planted so that the surface of the soil is just above the point where the roots first emerge from the trunk. If planted too deeply they can fail to establish . To help new trees settle in, give them plenty of water and fertiliser for the first few years, as well as a sturdy stake for support. Many evergreen trees prefer acidic soils.


Evergreens are often planted as windbreaks, but young trees find it hard to settle in if they’re constantly buffeted around. So in exposed sites, protect them with a temporary windbreak for the first few years. Many evergreens dislike alkaline soils.

Did you know?

Our native evergreen yew tree is a conifer, but doesn’t produce cones. Instead its seeds are found inside small red berry-like arils. These are devoured by blackbirds, which inadvertently disperse the seeds far and wide in their droppings.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.