If you are looking for evergreen shrubs to plant in Michigan, you have several options from which to choose. Shrubs for this part of the country include both broad- and narrow-leaved varieties. Because Michigan is a large and climatically varied state -- parts of it fall within USDA hardiness zones 3 through 6 -- shrubs that thrive in one part of Michigan may not survive in another. Consult a hardiness zone map (see resources) and talk to a local expert before you plant any shrubs.
Sheep laurel is a small, broad-leaved evergreen shrub that grows to about three feet tall and six feet wide. It blooms, usually in early summer, with small, saucer-shaped pink flowers that grow in dense clusters around the stem. The leaves are leathery and oval-shaped and change from blue-green to red-green in fall. Slow-growing, this shrub thrives in wet, acidic soil with partial shade. In the wild, it is typically found in swamps, bogs and wet pastures, or along stream banks. All parts of sheep laurel are highly toxic, so this shrub should not be planted in areas frequented by children.
A trailing evergreen shrub, red bearberry grows close to the ground with a height between one foot and three feet. Its leaves are thick, leathery and paddle-shaped, with a glossy dark green color that takes on a reddish tinge in winter. Red bearberry has low water requirements, growing best in well-drained, sandy or rocky acidic soil. It can grow in sun or shade, and it is tolerant of heat, cold and drought. Do not apply fertilizers or compact the soil around the plant. Its berries, which are enjoyed by wildlife, are edible but generally considered to be mealy and tasteless.
Also known as Canadian yew, American yew is indeed native to large parts of the northern United States as well as Canada. A narrow-leaved evergreen, this shrub can grow three to six feet tall and potentially twice as wide, with thin, flat needles that are dark green with light green undersides. The needled take on a reddish-brown color in winter, and the branches bear bright red berry-like fruit at the tips. Growing well in sun or shade, American yew's soil preference is for moist sands or sandy loams. This shrub is relatively pest-free, but may need protection from heat, drought and intense winter sun.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Tuesday, June 17 2008
- Michigan State University Extension: Evergreen
- Michigan State University Extension: Broad-leaved Evergreens Add Distinction
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Kalmia angustifolia L.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Taxus canadensis Marsh.
- Photo Credit altrendo nature/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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