Confront an embarrassment of riches when they visit the nursery. Soft winters imply that conifers are not the shrubs to maintain their leaves all year. Broadleaf evergreens have several advantages: they form year-round screens can blossom during an assortment of seasons, maintain moisture, withstand heat and enhance landscape fire resistance. There are appropriate for poolside the seaside and urban heat island.
Conifers are, but some grow to fill an area in a few seasons. The salt-tolerant”Bar Harbor” creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis”Bar Harbor”) turns a plum color in winter. Hollywood juniper (J. chinensis”Torulosa”) grows 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide in a twisting shape reminiscent of expressionist paintings and Spartan juniper (J. chinensis”Spartan”), a thinner, straighter bush, makes a display when massed and sheered.
Shrubs trained as hedges need pruning or sheering to maintain a streamlined form. Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), also called Southern bayberry, makes a handsome 6- to 10-foot hedge with sheering, but can grow to 20 feet if failed. Waxleaf privet (Ligustrum japonicum”Texanum”) blossoms in late spring; it grows to ten feet and is frequently chosen as a topiary shrub because of its dense branching growth. Pinch and prune African boxwood (Myrsine africana) to form a 4-foot hedge. Untended, it can grow quickly to 8 feet with a spread up to 6 feet. Texas sage (Leucophyllum candidum”Thunder Cloud”) grows 3 to 4 feet tall to make a little hedge; it is heat and drought tolerant but necessitates full-sun exposure.
Broadleaf evergreens may have long seasons of bloom. The Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata) develops rapidly to 9 feet tall with an equal spread; it bears white flowers from spring through early fall. California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is an aggressive, rapid grower that bears heavily scented white flowers and creates a thick hedge up to 15 feet tall. Bush morning glory (Convolvulus cneorum) grows just 2 to 4 feet tall and blooms from May to December.
Seaside plants must tolerate salt spray and salt in the soil. Coast rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) grows 3 to 6 feet tall with foliage resembling its own herb garden namesake. Sun promotes growth and the flowers that are intermittently throughout the year in white or purple. Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. Ilicifolia) grows from 10 to 20 feet tall and creates an attractive windscreen.
Fire Resistant Bushes
Plants with thick foliage such as Texas privet withstand fires and the heat of wildfires compared to other plants. Italian buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) grows 12 to 20 feet tall with shiny oval leaves. Maritime ceanothus (Ceanothus maritimus) is a small shrub, 1 to 3 feet tall, that rapidly spreads to 6 feet wide. Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus”Peter Pan”) is a dwarf shrub which also stands 1 to 3 feet tall but spreads just two feet wide.