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Great Boadleaf Evergeens for the Area

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Great Boadleaf Evergeens for the Area

Azaleas and rhododendrons are just days away from beginning their month-long display and gardener's thoughts often turn to them and other broadleaf evergreens this time of year. Not only for their splash of color but also for their winter foliage. Other good choices for broadleaf evegreens for our area are hollies and boxwoods.

Tried & True (T&T) plants are those that have been selected by area plant professionals whose experience has shown that the particular plants have done well year after year and generally are readily available in the trade. You can view our T&T plants by selecting the "Tried and True" option in our Plant Finder Search. (The Tried and True check-box is in the "Quick Search" section of the "Advance Search".) To get a list of T&T broadleaf evergreens, select "Broadleaf evergreen" in the "Plant Type" dropdown box, check "Tried and True" and then click on the "Search" button. You should receive 98 plants.

Of the Tried & True Broadleaved Evergreens for the St. Louis area, Ilex (holly), Buxus (boxwood) and Rhododendron (azalea & rhododendron) lead the list of those that are winter hardy in this area. Let’s take a look at several of them.

When it comes to Ilex, a favorite is one of the Meserve hybrid female hollies, Ilex ‘Mesog’ CHINA GIRL  and its male companion, Ilex ‘Mesdob’ CHINA BOY.  Just remember that in order to get good berry production on a number of female plants; you will need one China Boy within several hundred feet of the China Girl(s). When compared to other Meserve hybrids, these two seem to have a better tolerance of our hot summers.

Of the boxwoods, both the Korean boxwood, Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Winter Gem’, and the hybrid Buxus ‘Green Velvet’ received high marks. One of the great attributes of ‘Green Velvet’ is that it holds its color well in cold and sunny winter locations.

In the next couple of weeks, the display from the azaleas and rhododendrons here at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) will be spectacular. The Girard series of azaleas from Girard Nurseries of Geneva, Ohio, such as Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Rose’  are some of the T & T favorites.

As you look further at the T & T list of broadleaved evergreens, be aware that several of them including Lantana camara (lantana) and Strobilanthes dyerianus  (Persian shield) must be treated as annuals when grown in the St. Louis area.

If you are contemplating planting a broadleaved evergreen in your landscape, consider choosing one from our T&T list.  Use this website to further research an individual plant’s features and/or its care and maintenance.

When visiting MBG, stop in at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening and ask your questions at the Plant Doctor Desk (Monday-Saturday 10-3). You can also get your gardening questions answered by calling the Horticultural Answering Service at 314-577-5143 (Monday-Friday 9-Noon).

Here’s hoping all the April showers bring beautiful May flowers!

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