12 Native Evergreen Shrubs of Pennsylvania You Will Adore

Pennsylvania is the most popular industrial state in the U.S., where coal, steel, and railroads are produced from. Besides, it is also known for its mushroom production. However, this state is also a natural habitat for various native plants, including native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania.

As native evergreen plants, they are quickly adaptable to local climates, making them relatively easier to take care of than non-native plants.

Their landscape attributes include hedgerows, privacy screening, herbaceous or ground cover layers. 

For Pennsylvania residents who are passionate about hunting native plants that will stand all year long, you may find our collection interesting. This awesome list of Native Evergreen Shrubs of Pennsylvania may help you find unique native species you never explored before.

From the bushy green leaves to flowering shrubs, they will surprise you with the distinctive characteristic you will adore. Let’s dive in!

1. Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Perhaps, you are familiar with the shape of the white or pale pink flowers the Common Buttonbush has. This native evergreen shrub produces virus-like, small, unique blooms because the pistils protrude from the dense white corollas.

Their blooming time is from summer to early fall, making it one of the most charming native evergreens suitable for the native landscape.

Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Before planting them, make sure you know everything necessary. Since it thrives best in wet soil, its water requirements are high compared to other native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania. This multi-branched shrub also prefers neutral to alkaline soil pH, around 6.8-7.2.

Moreover, it favors part shade or shady areas to grow properly.

2. Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Ilex glabra or Inkberry is one of the native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania that produces blackberry fruits, attracting birds to eat them. Unlike other holly families with thorns on their leaves, it only has dark green foliage with teeth on the tips thick enough to hide the fruit.

Additionally, it does not belong to large shrubs since it only grows to medium-sized.

Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

To obtain fruits, male and female plants of the same species and having the same blooming season must be planted close together. They must also be provided with proper growing conditions, such as regular watering, humid soil, and partial shade planting.

Since it is toxic to humans and animals, planting them away from children and pets is necessary to avoid any harm.

3. Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Any berries lover will absolutely be in love with Lowbush Blueberries. As its name bears, this native evergreen shrub produces edible blueberries that the owner can enjoy every season.

Before fruiting, this native plant grows attractive red bell-shaped flowers. In addition, the leaves also change color as the season’s change, making it year-round seasonal interest.

Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Luckily, growing conditions for Lowbush Blueberries are not too tricky as it thrives under both sun and shade. Other than that, it also stands well in dry or moist soils but is acidic soil.

If you want to harvest more fruits during the harvest season, plant more than one plant because you will be fighting with birds who also like the blueberries.

4. Marsh Elder (Iva frutescens)

Unlike other previously discussed native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania, Marsh Elder has no attractive flowers or fruits. It shows off its green lance-shaped foliage that thrives on forming a bush.

Its tiny greenish-white flowers seem perfectly blended with its green stems and leaves, making them almost invisible as flowers.

Marsh Elder (Iva frutescens),(image credit:gobotany.nativeplanttrust/Pinterest)

Indeed, it may not look fancy as others. Yet, this native plant stands out in damp, salty areas that can help vegetation in the surrounding. No wonder it belongs to native evergreen shrubs that tolerate wet soil.

Instead of shade, Marsh Elder prefers sun exposure to grow best. Moreover, as a low-maintenance native plant, it does not require much care. Only occasional pruning and shaping are needed.

5. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

The white flowers with pink hints of this broadleaf, evergreen shrub look exceptionally stunning. They perfectly decorate the plant with an exquisite blend of colors that put your interest in having them as ornamental hedges.

Moreover, the low maintenance quality makes it easy for you to take care of Mountain Laurel.

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Kalmia latifolia only needs a low-watering requirement; thus, it is easy to handle, especially if you are away. You just have to make sure that it grows in a shady location and has moist, rocky or sandy soils.

Considering it is a highly toxic plant, planting it as a hedge out of reach of humans and animals is a must.

6. Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum)

Species rhododendrons have a variety of flower colors, ranging from pink white to light blue flowers, even a beautiful mix of two colors. One species that produces a mixed color of fragrant flowers is Rhodendron maximum or Rosebay.

The mixture of white with light pink flowers edges makes it look attractive and beautiful. Not to mention their pleasant scents that will invite birds to perch.

Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum)

Unfortunately, Rosebay is a Pennsylvania native evergreen shrub where all parts of it are poisonous to both animals and humans and are very dangerous if ingested.

However, if you still want to try keeping it, make sure it is planted out of reach of children and pets.

In addition, suitable planting conditions also need to be considered. This native shrub requires a part shade area, cool, moist, and well-drained soil to thrive.

7. Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Besides being a native evergreen shrub, Wax Myrtle also belongs to a native evergreen tree that grows up to 20 feet tall. It features olive green leaves that have spicy aromatic scents when crushed.

Other than that, the female plants also produce pale blueberries whose wax was used to make scented candles. With all those mentioned characteristics, it is no wonder that Wax Myrtle is very popular for screens, landscaping, and source of honey.

Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

If you want to plant this water-loving shrub, make sure the soil is moist by regularly watering it. However, Wax Myrtle is a reliable drought and flood-tolerant once established.

To produce berries, close to the planting site for male and female plants to obtain proper pollination.

Semi-Evergreen Shrubs Native to Pennsylvania

In addition to the native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania, we also have collections of semi-evergreen shrubs that can be an alternative just in case the native evergreens are not suitable for your environment.

Some of them are berry-producing which adds to the attractive character of these plants. Let’s check them out!

8. American Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)

Not many plants can produce edible fruits, but American Cranberry has red berries favorable for birds and humans in the fall. Thanks to their soft texture and sweet taste, they are also further made into jam jellies.

Besides the fruit, Viburnum trilobum also showcases its tiny clusters of stunning white flowers that bloom in the late spring to early summer.

American Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)

Speaking about its growing conditions, it thrives best under full sun or part sun on medium to moist soil. Additionally, cross-pollination is necessary for male and female flowers.

It is required to produce the desired fruits.

About two to three of these native evergreen shrubs are needed for abundant fruit. In addition to these aspects, the arching stems make people often use it as a privacy screen or hedgerow.

9. Eastern Baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia)

Showy white flowers that crowded into heads are the main attraction for this bushy semi-evergreen shrub of Pennsylvania. They are attractive for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

The foliage is green and remains evergreen or semi-evergreen in mild winter areas. In addition, it also has distinctive achenes, resembling a silvery paintbrush that appears in autumn.

Eastern Baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia)

Furthermore, it is a drought-tolerant native shrub that withstands poor, rocky, and dry soils yet tolerate wet sites. It is also one of the salt-tolerant native shrubs, making it an adaptable species.

Nonetheless, it requires regular watering and circumneutral soil pH to thrive best. As a versatile plant, Eastern Baccharis is generally pest and disease-free.

10. Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)

Myrica pensylvanica or Northern Bayberry includes the category of semi-evergreen or deciduous berrying shrubs, depending on where it grows. Unlike other fruiting native shrubs previously discussed, Northern Bayberry has no showy flowers.

However, it produces fragrant fruits that are attractive to birds.

Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)

Despite not being so inviting, it is a hardy plant that can withstand various growing conditions. Even though it favors moist, well-drained soil, it is highly adaptable to different soil and pH levels.

Other than that, Northern Bayberry is also deer resistant, severe pests, and diseases free. Because of its rounded and upright growing habit, it is suitable for hedge and privacy screens.

11. Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)

Another native semi-evergreen shrub of Pennsylvania that produces edible red berries is Red Chokeberry or Aronia arbutifolia. They are usually consumed by birds or other mammals. Even humans can further process the fruits into jam jellies or canned fruits.

In addition, this multi-stemmed shrub also generates nectars that are happily sucked by bees and butterflies. Thanks to these qualities, Red Chokeberry is a wildlife food source.

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)

Moreover, you need to meet specific growing requirements to grow them. As a full sun and shade lover, you should not worry about the growing area. Just make sure it can have both light conditions.

Despite tolerant of various soil types, it still prefers well-drained, average soil. And just like Northern Bayberry, Red Chokeberry is also deer resistant, making it an ideal shrub border or hedgerow to plant.

12. Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Like Myrica pensylvanica, Itea virginica, or Virginia Sweetspire also falls on deciduous or semi-evergreen shrubs group. However, it does not produce fruit but alluring fragrant petite white flowers in early summer.

In summer, the leaves are green, then turn red-purple in autumn and winter. The combination of stunning flowers and foliage makes it often used as ornamental plants.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

To have a happy and healthy Virginia Sweetspire, paying attention to its proper growing conditions is necessary. This hardy native shrub can do well on full sun, part shade, or shade.

However, four hours of sun exposure per day is essential if you want a lot of interest.

Moreover, it also tolerates a wide range of pHs and soils yet prefers average, medium to wet, well-drained, relatively acidic soil. In addition, Virginia Sweetspire is good for preventing erosion.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What evergreen trees are native to Pennsylvania?

There are some evergreen trees are native to Pennsylvania, including American fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), River birch (Betula nigra), Blackgum ‘Wildfire’ (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’), Red maple (Acer rubrum), and Redbud (Cercis canadensis).

They are adaptable species to local climate in Pennsylvania that you can try to plant in your yard. 

What semi-evergreen shrubs are native to Pennsylvania thrive in sun?

All of our native semi-evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania thrive under sun exposures, such as American Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum), Eastern Baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia), Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), and Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica).

Some of them, like Red Chokeberry and Virginia Sweetspire, can even thrive under both sun and shade.

What evergreen shrubs are native to Pennsylvania thrive in sun?

From our list of seven native evergreen shrubs of Pennsylvania, only two evergreen shrubs that thrive best in sun, are Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), Marsh Elder (Iva frutescens), and Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera).

Meanwhile, Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Inkberry (Ilex glabra), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum) are growing happily in shade areas.

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