Plants that stay green all year are called evergreens. These plants do not lose their leaves all at once like deciduous plants; instead, they lose their leaves a few at a time throughout the year so they are never completely leafless, according to Floridata. Many types of plants and shrubs retain their color and leaves year-round.
Camellia japonica is native to China. This flowering evergreen plant grows slowly, but it eventually reaches 20 feet tall with a 5- to 10-foot spread. More than 3,000 Camellia japonica cultivars and hybrids are cultivated as of 2010, notes Floridata. The plant produces shiny, dark green, leathery leaves and produces rose-like blossoms with overlapping rounded petals. North Carolina State University notes that camellia grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7 through 9, while Floridata indicates the plants are cold hardy to Zone 6. Camellia plants thrive in rich, moist soil and partial shade, with more sunlight in colder climates. They are useful in formation hedges or as specimen borders.
Ilex crenata, or Japanese holly, is a compact evergreen shrub that grows between 4 and 10 feet tall with a 3- to 5-foot spread. It has inch-long, thick, leathery green leaves with serrated margins. Japanese holly produces small, four-petaled inconspicuous white blossoms, replaced by pea-like black fruits.Japanese holly is drought-tolerant but does best in well-drained, moist, acidic soil and full sunlight or partial shade, according to North Carolina State University. It propagates most efficiently by cuttings. Floridata indicates that Japanese holly plants can be grown by seeds sown in the fall, but the plant takes as long as two or three years to germinate. Japanese holly serves as specimens, mixed border plants and in formal hedges.
Helleborus orientalis, or lenten rose, is an evergreen herbaceous perennial native to Greece and Turkey. It grows in USDA Zones 4 through 8 and prefer nutrient-rich, well drained neutral or alkaline soil, although Floridata indicates it adapts well to a drier environment. Lenten rose adds interest to small areas such as patios or courtyards, and it grows well in moist areas around ponds and water gardens. The plant produces dark green, leathery, compound leaves composed of five to 11 long, narrow leaflets. Their flowers, which grow to be 2 or 3 inches in diameter, bloom in shades of purple, pink and rose, as well as white with splotches of color. Lenten rose plants are susceptible to problems such as aphids, black rot and leaf spot. They propagate by plant division or seed, but the seedlings take as long as three years to bloom.
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