Even the smallest garden or patio has room for year-round greenery. Evergreen shrubs and trees kept in containers can dress up or soften an entryway, border or patio and add the impression of treed landscaping to a stark postage-stamp garden. Potted evergreens also provide shelter for songbirds. Moderately sized shrubs and small trees are best suited for pots and tubs; container growing will restrict their size even more. Be diligent about regular watering and feeding.
Emerald Green arborvitae
Of available arbor vitae Emerald Green is ideally suited for containers. This treelike evergreen shrub features dense dark green foliage that grows naturally into a conical shape, yet won't get taller than 3 to 4.5 m (10 or 15 feet) or wider than 1.2 m (4 feet). In generously sized containers, a pair of "Emerald Green" evergreens will frame and accentuate an entryway. Used solo, it will gracefully fill an empty corner. Planted in smaller containers it creates a modest privacy screen or adds year-round greenery to a patio. Emerald Green arbor vitae is a low-maintenance shrub that thrives in full sun but will tolerate some shade. For optimal plant health, make sure containers have multiple drainage holes, and use a porous soil-based compost-type planting soil.
Commonly pruned into topiary and hedges, English yew is a smallish tree appreciated for its dense growth habit. Left to grow naturally in a garden setting, the English yew can grow 6 or 7.5 m (20 or 25 feet) tall and spread 4.5 or 6 m (15 or 20 feet). This dark green, slow growing evergreen makes a striking container plant too. Choose one of the upright, less rounded cultivars. Inconspicuous spring flowers are followed by flashy red, fleshy fruits that are among the most poisonous seeds anywhere, capable of poisoning both humans and livestock. The toxic chemical taxine is also found in the yew's leaves and bark, which may make it a poor choice for families with small children and pets.
Also known as Swiss mountain pine, Mugo pine is a shrub with a round or broad pyramidal shape that grows best in moist loamy soils in full sun or partial shade. This is one of the few pines suitable for use as a hedge or privacy screen, due to its dense foliage. Mugo pines vary greatly in size and form. Standard Mugo pines can grow 4.5 to 7.5 m (15 to 25 feet) tall with an equal spread; though growing them in containers can successfully restrict their size. Dwarf Mugos may mature at just 1.2 or 1.5 m (4 or 5 feet) tall. If you prefer a treelike evergreen rather than a rounded shrub, choose a Mugo pine with one central leader.