People don’t just get evergreen plants because they are beautiful and stay green all year long. They’re so popular because they are low-maintenance and can grow in pots and decorate any patio, yard, window, or desk.
Some of the best low-maintenance evergreen plants for pots include boxwood, yucca, coral bells, and bay laurel. Since they can grow in pots, they’re ideal for large and small gardens alike, as well as indoor gardening.
In this article, I’ll explore 10 of the best low-maintenance plants that are easy to look after and will thrive in pots. I’ll also provide tips on how to care for them so that they look their best. Let’s take a look at them now.
10 Best Low-Maintenance Evergreen Plants For Pots
Potted plants bring nature indoors, but you can also decorate your garden with beautiful potted plants. With this in mind, if you love evergreen plants but want them to remain compact, these are the ones to purchase.
Boxwood is a dense shrub that’s a popular ornamental plant because it adds elegance to the garden. You should plant boxwood in a sunny area, but move it out of the harsh sun if the temperatures are very high as it will crave the relief of shade.
Make sure you water your boxwood deeply so that water reaches the plant’s root zone. Mature plants only need to be watered every two or four weeks, although younger plants will need more water while they grow, so ensure that they get water once a week.
Flower pot covers can also help to keep the soil moist longer. This will reduce the frequency of watering, making it a great option for busy gardeners.
Fertilizing your boxwood is easy – just feed it an all-purpose fertilizer in the spring before the plant’s new growth occurs.
2. Dwarf Mountain Pine
This plant has a globular shape with a flattened top, and it has beautiful needles that change color depending on the season. They remain a pale greenish-yellow color in the warmer months and turn gold in the winter, providing a beautiful statement plant for your garden throughout the year.
Since this is a plant that remains small, it’s perfect for pots. It will reach a height of approximately three feet (1m) but it grows slowly so you can expect it to reach its maximum height within a decade.
Looking after your dwarf mountain pine requires watering it with about one cup of water every week or so, but give it more if it’s very hot. It does want to be in full-sun conditions, so choose the sunniest spot in the garden for it to grow. Although it wants well-draining soil, it isn’t picky about the type of soil, which makes it easy for gardening beginners.
3. Korean Fir “Blue Emperor”
If you love evergreen plants that provide more color than just green in your home or garden, the Korean Fir is worth adding to your list because of its unusual and striking blue-violet cones. It’s easy to grow, even in small gardens, as it reaches a height of approximately 10 feet (3 m) over the course of a few years.
This plant wants to be in a sunny area of the garden, so aim to give it at least four hours of sun per day. But, it doesn’t need lots of watering. Just make sure its soil is moist. It’s also more tolerant of very hot and dry conditions than other firs. Ideally, though, it does want cooler temperatures and slightly acidic soil so that it can thrive.
Avoid planting your Korean Fir in clay soil as this becomes compact easily, which traps water and provides soggy soil for your tree that it won’t like. Water your plant twice a week in the summer, then stop watering when there’s rain and during the winter.
4. Emerald Green Arborvitae
If you love arborvitae trees but you want a miniature version of them for your property, the Emerald Green Arborvitae is a good idea. It looks ornamental, so place it on either side of your front door or on your patio. This tree reaches a height of approximately 15 feet (4.6m), so it’s not too imposing and can grow well in a plot.
To ensure that your plant will grow healthy, plant it in high-quality potting soil, ensuring it contains vermiculite or perlite so that it maintains moisture, as SFGate reports. These also provide good soil drainage. (To find out more about potting soil, read our guide on potting soil vs potting mix.)
This evergreen tree can benefit from fertilizer on a regular basis; once every few weeks should do the trick. Choose an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer to feed your pot-bound arborvitae so that it gets enough nutrients. Bear in mind that pot-bound arborvitae will lack nutrients that outdoor-grown trees will gain from the soil.
Since yucca plants originate from the desert, they can store water in their trunks and take drought conditions in their stride. If you want to enjoy a yucca in your home but you don’t have a lot of space, you should choose a compact variety. These can grow up to a height and width of between two and four feet (0.6-1.2m).
An important way to maintain the health of your yucca is to keep it in full-sun conditions. If you don’t provide enough sun, your yucca plant could have thin leaves and not bloom as much.
Yucca plants grow white or cream flowers, and they have leaves which can be thin, thick, tipped with spines, or sword-shaped, so there is a beautiful variety to choose from, as Garden Design reports. You should keep your yucca in soil that’s well-draining, as too much water can cause root rot.
When choosing the best place in the garden for your yucca, keep it away from walkways if it has sharp leaves that can jab you as you pass it.
6. Coral Bells
These herbaceous evergreen perennials bloom in beautiful flowers such as silver, lime, gold, chocolate, burgundy, green, or purple. Their leaves are large and can be round or heart-shaped, adding extra texture to your garden. Some plant leaves are even ruffled around the edges.
Once you plant your coral bells in a partially-shade area, the plant will be easy to care for because you don’t have to worry about giving it a lot of light daily. However, its soil should be well-draining and moist.
Water your coral bells weekly, with approximately one inch (2.54cm) of water. If it’s hot in your region, you should water them more thoroughly to keep them hydrated. Water the plants at their base and keep their leaves dry to prevent fungal diseases.
Some of the best places to plant coral bells include rock gardens, where they will add a burst of color. Ideally, plant them a few feet (approx. 0.7m) away from each other because they spread up to three feet (0.9m) into the ground, as MasterClass reports.
If you’re looking for an evergreen plant that will display fiery colors, phormium is a good choice. It’s an evergreen shrub with long, sword-shaped leaves that are colorful. They can be purple, green, cream, red, orange, or yellow, depending on the plant variety. Sometimes phormium also displays flowers that are yellow, green, red, or brown.
Because of its bold leaves and flowers, phormium looks attractive in borders, pots, and gravel gardens. While phormium doesn’t have to be pruned, you can remove dead flowers and leaves from the plant a few times a year so that it continues to look beautiful.
Give your phormium soil that’s fertile and well-draining, but water it regularly so that the soil remains moist without becoming waterlogged. Every year during the spring, feed your phormium a slow-release fertilizer.
Keep your plant in an area of the garden or patio that gets a lot of sun every day, but this low-maintenance plant can also grow healthy in partial-shade conditions.
8. Bay Laurel
Planting trees that smell fragrant are wonderful to add to your garden, especially within close proximity of your windows. Bay laurel, otherwise known as bay leaf, has oval, leathery leaves that smell refreshing and spicy.
During the spring, the shrub has yellow flowers that become dark berries during the fall. Best of all, its leaves can be used in your cooking.
Although this tree can grow up to 60 feet (18.2 m) tall when planted in the ground, when kept in a pot it can reach up to eight feet (2.4m) in height. Place your bay laurel in partial shade to full-sun conditions, but if you want to harvest the plant’s leaves for cooking, make sure that the tree gets a lot of sun as this will enhance their flavor.
Bay laurel is low-maintenance because it’s adaptable to various soil types, such as clay and loamy sand, as long as it drains well. It can also grow healthy in alkaline or acidic soil. If you’re growing your bay laurel in a pot, regular potting mix is sufficient. (If you’ve got some old potting soil lying around that you’re not sure if you can reuse, read our guide on how to reuse potting soil).
Since this evergreen plant has shallow roots, it should be watered regularly so that you keep its soil moist but not soaked. The soil should dry out a bit, but not completely, between waterings.
9. Hart’s Tongue Fern
This hardy fern, which gets its name because its leaves are like tongues, originates from woodlands so it thrives in shady, damp areas, making it relatively easy to maintain. With its green, glossy leaves that have orange spores underneath them, this fern adds a touch of originality and beauty to your garden.
It doesn’t have strict sunshine requirements, as it can thrive in sunny or full-shade conditions. Just make sure you keep it in a sheltered area of the garden so that it won’t be disturbed by strong winds. It also requires slightly acidic soil.
Water your Hart’s Tongue fern regularly during its first season of growth, and then scale down to only when it’s dry in your region. This is the type of plant that you can easily pot and then forget about because it doesn’t require much care.
10. Japanese Skimmia
This evergreen shrub has green, glossy leaves and produces pink buds in the cold season. These are drupes that become ripe in the cold season. The plant also has creamy white flowers that are displayed in the spring, but whether it has drupes or flowers depends on if it’s male or female. The female plants are the ones that have the drupes, while the male plants display larger flowers, as NC State Extension reports.
Make sure you plant this evergreen shrub in acidic, well-draining soil and find a spot in the garden for it that either has partial- or full-shade. This plant doesn’t want to be exposed to direct sun as this can burn its leaves.
Japanese skimmia looks beautiful when used as a hedge or border. When kept in pots, it works well to decorate your terrace or balcony. The most suitable growing medium includes a mixture of one-third soil and two-thirds of heath soil. You can also make potting soil by reading our guide, “How To Make DIY Potting Soil.” Don’t forget to make drainage holes underneath the pot so that the soil drains well.
The skimmia’s soil should remain moist and never dry out. You will need to water it at least once a week, because this plant isn’t drought-resistant. However, it’s a winter-hardy plant because it can deal with temperatures that are as low as 5°F (-15°C).
If your plant shows symptoms such as pale leaves or stunted growth, it needs a boost of fertilizer. The fertilizer you choose for your Japanese Skimmia should be one that’s designed for acid-loving plants, as The Spruce reports.
If you love evergreen plants but you don’t have a lot of space in your garden to grow them in the ground, there are many pot-friendly choices out there.
In this article, we’ve looked at some of the best evergreen plants that can grow in pots and don’t require lots of care. Top picks include Japanese skimmia, yucca, and boxwood. We hope the guide was helpful. Happy gardening!