Evergreen shrubs that do not grow more than a few feet tall make excellent ground cover plants. In many cases, you can utilise low-growing evergreen shrubs as foundation plants around your home, as long as they can withstand compacted ground and partial shade. Low-growing evergreen shrubs come in an array of species and display varied characteristics, with some flowering and producing fruit, enhancing their attractiveness.
Littleleaf cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus) grows only 2 to 3 feet tall and you can use this evergreen to create a living mat of foliage. Littleleaf cotoneaster is hardy as far north as U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 5. The shrub features leaves 1/2 inch long that possess a hairy underside. The flowers in spring are tiny and white, resulting in a small round red fruit by summer. Littleleaf cotoneaster does well in damp ground that has good drainage and is somewhat tolerant of drought.
Sargent Juniper is a cultivar of Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis), designed to be a low-growing species suitable as a ground cover. Sargent juniper possesses bluish-green foliage and produces lilac-coloured berries by the fall, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Sargent juniper may spread out as wide as 8 to 10 feet in some instances, allowing you to plant them in numbers to cover a large area. Sargent juniper can tolerate salt spray and hot temperatures.
Camby paxistima (Paxistima canbyi) is a many-stemmed ground cover shrub that remains only a foot high when fully mature. Native to portions of the central Appalachians in states such as Virginia and West Virginia, Camby paxistima has dark green evergreen leaves no longer than 1 inch. The shrub can survive in soil with high pH levels and does best when the ground is somewhat moist. Camby paxistima needs little care once established. In addition to being a fine choice of ground cover, you can use it to fill the gaps between other larger evergreens or in rock gardens.
Eastern Arborvitae Dwarf Cultivars
Eastern arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis) in its natural form can grow 50 feet tall, but horticulturists designed a number of dwarf varieties. One is the Bobozam, a species that in time develops into a rounded form, giving the shrub the nickname of Mr. Bowling Ball. This evergreen shrub is dense, but requires no pruning to maintain its shape. It does not grow any taller than 3 feet, asserts the University of Connecticut Plant Database. Hetz Midget and Little Gem are two other dwarf hybrids of eastern arbor vitae, both low-growing and evergreen.