A wide variety of evergreen shrubs produce berries. Berries add colour to the landscape when few flowers are in bloom and attract wildlife to the garden. Evergreen shrubs require less maintenance that deciduous shrubs and provide structure after flowers fade and deciduous shrubs have lost their leaves. Use evergreens in foundation plantings, as background plants in borders, in groupings and as specimen plants.
Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica) has long, broad, yellow and green variegated leaves that add colour to the garden year round. Female plants produce bright red berries in fall and winter when there is a male plant nearby. These shrubs grow 4 to 12 feet tall, and they tolerate hard pruning if you want to keep them short. Provide partial to full shade and a well-drained soil. The leaves develop brighter colour in deep shade. Shearing disfigures the foliage, so remove individual branches to shape the shrub. Japanese aucuba is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 to 10.
Coralberry (Ardisia crenata) is a 2- to 4-foot shrub with glossy, dark green, serrated leaves that stay green year round unless hit by a hard freeze. The white or pink flowers are followed by hanging clusters of berries that ripen to shades of coral and then bright red. The berries usually last through winter. Plant coralberry in a shady spot with well-drained, organically rich soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10.
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), also called checkerberry or teaberry, is a broadleaved evergreen ground cover that grows 6 inches tall with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. This plant is the source of wintergreen oil which is used to flavour chewing gum and breath mints. The plant is also a source of methyl salicylates, which is used medicinally as a painkiller and fever-reducer. The pinkish-white, bell-shaped flowers bloom in midsummer, and they are followed by edible berries. Birds and small mammals enjoy the berries in winter when other food sources are scarce. Grow wintergreen in full or partial shade in an acid, well-drained soil. Provide lots of organic material. Wintergreen is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 5 or possibly 6.
Box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera) is a dwarf evergreen shrub that grows 6 to 24 inches tall. It creates thick mats that spread as much as a mile. White or pale pink flowers bloom in clusters in late spring, followed by blue berries that attract birds. Use it as a ground cover in open areas. Provide full sun or partial shade and a well-drained, acid soil. Box huckleberry tolerates poor and sandy soils. This plant is considered endangered in the wild, so buy only nursery propagated plants. Box huckleberry is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 7.
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