Narrow Evergreen Shrubs

Updated July 19, 2017

Create a vertical accent in your landscape with narrow, evergreen shrubs. Grown in a wide variety of colours and sizes, narrow evergreen shrubs are taller than they are wide, creating a bold architectural line in your landscape. As evergreens, they retain most of their foliage year-round, making them a constant source of vibrancy. Planted side-by-side or used as a specimen shrub around the garden, narrow evergreens provide a special presence to the home and garden.

American Arborvitae

American arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis "Yellow Ribbon") is a needled, semidwarf evergreen shrub with an upright, pyramidal shape. It grows up to 10 feet tall and has a width of 2 to 3 feet, creating a narrow display in the landscape. American arbor vitae has a slow growth rate and produces scalelike foliage in flat sprays that emerge in spring. The flat sprays on American arbor vitae are yellow to orange when young and mature to medium green. The 1/2-inch-long, urn-shaped cones on American arbor vitae turn a red and brown colour in fall. This evergreen grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil but tolerates a wide range of soil varieties. American arbor vitae appreciates humid weather and regular moisture. Grow American arbor vitae in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 to 7.

Japanese Holly

Japanese holly (Ilex crenata "Sky Pencil") is a broadleaved evergreen shrub with a narrow, fastigate (i.e., having erect and parallel branches) shape that grows in an upright, pencil-like column. It grows 4 to 10 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide, creating a strong vertical accent to the garden. Japanese holly produces small green to white flowers that appear on the stems in late spring. If the flowers are pollinated, the shrub produces berrylike, 1/4--inch-wide fruit. The small, dark green leaves on Japanese holly shrubs are elliptic to obovate (egg-shaped, with the narrower end attached to the stalk) in shape with serrulate margins along the rounded tip. Japanese holly grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. It tolerates a wide range of growing conditions but prefers acidic, moist soil. Grow Japanese holly in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 to 8.

Ericoides Hinoke Cypress

Ericoides Hinoke Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Ericoides') is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide and grows 6 to 12 inches per year. Ericoides hinoke cypress shrubs have an upright, pyramidal shape and dense, broad texture. When young, it bears glossy, light green foliage, which matures to a blue-green hue. In winter, Ericoides hinoke cypress turns a plum purple colour that creates a showy display to the garden. Ericoides hinoke cypress grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Grow Ericoides hinoke cypress in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 8.

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About the Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.