15 Evergreen Trees in Georgia (No Browning or Leaf Drop)

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Written By Thomas Pitto

Propagation Expert & Permaculture Enthusiast

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Home » Georgia » 15 Evergreen Trees in Georgia (No Browning or Leaf Drop)

Evergreen trees are those that retain their foliage throughout the year, keeping your home landscape looking verdant and vibrant throughout the seasons.

The north of Georgia features high mountain ridges, while the south encompasses lowlands, swamps, and coastal plains, meaning there is a wealth of different flora that can be grown throughout the state.

The warm summers and short winters mean that the state can support many non-native species that are well-adapted to the local climate.

15 Evergreen Trees To Plant in Georgia

1. Titi (Cyrilla racemiflora)

Image by peganum via Flickr

The Titi is a shrubby tree with a cinnamon-colored bark in youth, developing into a slender tree with a flaky bark with age. It’s either completely evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous, depending on the location and weather, but should remain evergreen in Southern GA.

Clusters of fragrant white flowers cover the foliage from spring to midsummer, attracting bees and other pollinators, who make prized honey from the nectar.

The leaves are thick and oval, dark green above, and bright green below. Further north of Titi’s range, the leaves turn scarlet/orange in the fall. Titi occurs naturally close to swamps, streams, and backwaters and prefers acidic, moist, peaty, or sandy soils.

Other Common Names: Swamp Cyrilla, Swamp Titi, Littleleaf Titi, He Huckleberry, Leatherwood, Black Titi, White Titi

Growing Zones: 5-11

Average Size at Maturity: 8-30 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring to midsummer

2. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

eastern red cedar
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

The Eastern Red Cedar is the most widespread of the eastern conifers. It’s a densely columnar to a broadly pyramidal evergreen that forms an unmistakable focal point in the landscape.

The foliage is scale-like and fragrant, either coarse or finely cut, and varies from gray-green to bluish-green to light/dark green. Cultivars retain their rich color year-round. Eastern Red Cedar is dioecious, with separate male and female trees.

Male trees produce an abundance of brown cones shedding pollen in late winter or early spring. Females produce dark purple berry-like cones covered with white wax.

These Cedar trees are enjoyed by many kinds of wildlife. The bark peels off on mature trees. The Eastern Red Cedar is heat, drought, and cold tolerant. It works well where other conifers struggle such as in dry, sunny areas, and can function as a privacy screen.

Other Common Names: Cedar Oil Tree, Pencil Cedar, Red Cedar, Virginian Cedar, Red Juniper, Carolina Cedar

Growing Zones: 2-10

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 8-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: March-May

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)

Virginia pine
Image by Matt Borden via Flickr

The Virginia Pine is a medium-sized evergreen that’s pyramidal in youth, developing an open, irregular flat to rounded crown with age. The branches are spreading, either ascending or descending from the cinnamon/brown trunk.

The foliage is yellow-green/dark green, 3” long, and often grows in a twist, arranged in tufts of two. Spine-scaled cones can persist on the tree for many years.

The Virginia Pine is a fast-growing tree, with an interesting irregular shape that works well as a specimen tree on poor, rocky sites where many other evergreens would struggle.

It’s also useful for preventing soil erosion, and as a windbreak. The Virginia Pine provides food and habitat for many kinds of wildlife.

It prefers deep, well-drained soil but will tolerate heavy clays and poor dry soils. It dislikes poorly-drained wet sites and shallow soil.

Other Common Names: Scrub Pine, Jersey Pine

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 15-40 ft tall and 10-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: April

4. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

eastern hemlock
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

The Eastern Hemlock is a straight trunked, broadly pyramidal tree with short, deep green needles with two white bands on the underside. The branches are long and pendulous, lending a refined character to the tree.

Small ovoid cones are produced and hang delicately from the branches. The bark is purple/gray and deeply furrowed on mature trees.

The Eastern Hemlock has a slow to medium growth rate and can provide good shade once mature enough. It can also be trained into a hedge, planted in groups, or as a solitary specimen for a natural-looking focal point.

It provides a valuable nesting point for many kinds of birds such as black-throated warblers, blackburnian warblers, and green warblers, amongst others.

The Eastern Hemlock grows best in humus-rich, acidic, well-drained soils and will tolerate full sun or full shade, and doesn’t like drought.

Other Common Names: Common Hemlock, Spruce Hemlock, White Hemlock, Canada Hemlock

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: April

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

loblolly pine
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Loblolly Pine is a large conifer with a straight growing trunk and a dense crown of wide spreading branches. It’s one of the fastest growing of the southern pines.

Pyramidal in youth, it loses its lower branches as it ages, leaving an open and rounded crown. The foliage is fragrant and consists of dark green, stiff needles, 5-10” long borne in clusters of 3. The cones are elongated, 3-6” long and persist for 3-4 years.

Loblolly Pines look best planted in groves so may be suited for those with larger areas they want to plant, perhaps as a privacy screen. They prefer moist areas with poor drainage, hot summers, and mild winters.

The Loblolly Pine is an important food source for many birds and mammals, with more the 20 songbirds feasting on the cones.

Other Common Names: Rosemary Pine, Bull Pine, Oldfield Pine

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-80 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: March to April

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Loblolly Bay (Gordonia lasianthus)

Loblolly bay
Image by Rachel Veal via Flickr

The Loblolly Bay is an evergreen columnar tree or shrub, grown largely for its large fragrant flowers.

The leaves are glossy, dark green, and leathery with a gray underside and measure 2-7” long. Large fragrant white flowers appear in abundance from spring right up until the first frost and grace the entire canopy.

The flowers, reminiscent of camellias, remain open for a day or two and are pollinated by bees, flies, and hummingbirds.

They are followed by flat capsules which contain 4-8 flat winged seeds. The bark on mature trees is rough and ridged and separated by narrow furrows.

The Loblolly Bay occurs in damp, acid swampy areas around pinelands around the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plains. It’s suited for boggy and poorly drained areas. If you’re after an evergreen flowering tree suited for GA’s climate, then consider planting a Loblolly Bay.

Be sure to check Georgia’s hardiness zone before you plant to make sure your area is suited for their cultivation.

Other Common Names: Sweet Bay, Gordonia

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring until the first frost

7. Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)

Image by sonnia hill via Flickr

The Yaupon is a slow-growing densely branching upright small tree or large shrub with dark green 1 ½” long leaves with toothed margins. Greenish/white flowers appear in spring and followed are by vast amounts of small red berries on pollinated female plants.

Yaupon is dioecious, with male and female flowers on different trees. They ripen in the fall and persist into the winter months (or until consumed by birds) providing interest when many other species are dormant.

The twigs leaves contain caffeine and are brewed into a tea by indigenous Americans, who used to ceremoniously consume large quantities, and then vomit it back up, hence the Latin name.

Yaupon is popularly trained into an evergreen hedge, where it can be used as a privacy screen. It grows best in full sun or partial shade, in averagely moist soils. It tolerates drought, salt, and alkaline soils.

Other Common Names: Yaupon Holly, Cassina

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall and 8-12 ft wide

Flowering Season: March-May

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

atlantic white cedar
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

The Atlantic White Cedar is a dense columnar conifer with short ascending branches and bluish/green juvenile leaves. Adult leaves are more scale-like. Tiny cones appear on the branch tips.

The bark is brown/reddish with flat ridges and is aromatic as is the foliage. The Atlantic White Cedar can be found in freshwater swamps. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a conifer to plant in a poorly drained area close to a water source.

The Atlantic White Cedar is easy to maintain and is mainly disease free. It prefers sandy, peaty, moist, well-drained soils. Plant in full sun for best results. Whilst sometimes erroneously called a cypress, it’s not related.

If you are looking to plant a true cypress tree in Georgia, there are numerous varieties for you to choose from.

Other Common Names: Southern White Cedar, Swamp Cedar, Atlantic Cypress, False Cypress, White Cypress, Atlantic White Cypress

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: March – April

9. Slash Pine (Pinus eliotti)

Slash pine
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Slash Pine is a fast-growing coniferous evergreen that sheds its lower limbs with age. In its youth its pyramidal, maturing into an open, round canopy, that creates dappled shade.

The leaves are long dark green needles, 6-12” long borne in clusters of 2 or 3 on the same branch. The needles remain on the tree for about two years. The cones are a chocolate, reddish/brown hue and measure 2-6” long and are an important food source for birds and small mammals.

The bark is reddish/brown and furrowed when young, becoming thick and platey with thin scales that flake off with age to reveal the cinnamon inner bark.

The lateral root system of the Slash Pine makes it useful in soil stabilization efforts, and its beauty makes it favored as a shade and ornamental tree. The Slash Pine does best in occasionally wet, moist acidic soil. It’s also drought and salt tolerant.

Other Common Names: Yellow Slash Pine, Swamp Pine, Florida Slash Pine, Dade County Slash Pine, Southern Florida Slash Pine, Cuban Pine

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall and 30-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late January to February

10. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata)

Green Giant Arborvitae
Image by Kim Tilli via Flickr

The Green Giant Arborvitae is a common alternative to Leylandii for hedging, due to its slower growth rate and ease of upkeep. The foliage is a vibrant middle shade of green, is glossier than other conifers, and is held in attractive sprays. The leaves are aromatic, giving off a sweet scent when crushed.

Green Giant Arborvitae can be used for an evergreen privacy screen that also blocks wind and noise. Grows best in any well-drained soil, in either full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Western Red Cedar, Pacific Red Cedar, Giant Arborvitae, Western Arborvitae, Shinglewood, Giant Cedar, Just Cedar

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: March – April

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

11. Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)

Fraser Fir
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

The Fraser Fir is a medium-sized coniferous tree with a narrow, pyramidal habit and spire-like crown. The stems are short and flattened, resinous, and densely packed turpentine-scented needles which are shiny dark green above with two silver bands on the underside.

The seed cones are up to 3” long, dark purple when young becoming dark brown with protruding bracts with age. They are held high up on the branches, creating a pleasant contrast with the foliage.

The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown, with many resin blisters on young trees, becoming scaly and fissured with age.

This type of fir tree grows in full sun or partial shade, in moist, well-drained slightly acidic soils. It doesn’t do too well in high heat and humidity, so will be more suited to the northern, cooler parts of GA.

Other Common Names: Frasier Fir, Fraser’s Balsam Fir, Southern Balsam Fir

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 10-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: April

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Red Bay (Persea borbonia)

red bay
Image by Malcolm Manners via Flickr

The Red Bay is a dense, well-rounded lightly scented tree with a short trunk. The branches are ascending and densely covered in narrowly oval leaves, which have a spicy taste and can be used in flavoring food.

Pale yellow flowers appear in pannicles and are followed by dark-blue to black fruit that is eaten by different birds.

The Red Bay is found in low wood and coastal forests, and as such will grow best in moist, acid soils in partial shade.

Other Common Names: Redbay, Silk Bay, Red Bay Persea, Laurel Tree

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 30-70 ft tall and 10-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

13. Carolina Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)

carolina laurel cherry
Image by Bri Weldon via Flickr

The Carolina Cherry Laurel is a fast-growing dense shrub or small tree, with an oval/pyramidal habit, smooth glossy green leaves that measure 2-4” long with a pointed tip. The leaves and stems produce an almond aroma when crushed.

Late winter to mid-spring sees the production of tiny white, fragrant flowers held in dense racemes amidst the foliage. They attract pollinators such as bees, amongst others.

Small, reddish-purple cherries follow, that ripen to shiny black in the fall and persist until the winter or until eaten by the birds.

The bark of the Carolina Cherry is smooth, becoming irregular with age. It makes a good tree for screens, hedges, or windbreaks. Plant in moist, well-drained soils. It’s drought tolerant once established

Other Common Names: Cherry-Laurel, Carolina Laurel Cherry

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late winter to mid-spring

Available at: Nature Hills

14. Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica)

Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Cryptomeria are native to Georgia, specifically to the southeastern regions and are capable of growing up to 3-4 ft a year under favorable conditions. They have a tall and slender shape that tapers off to a point.

The foliage is bright green, emerging yellow in the spring, and becoming beautiful shades of blue/green in the summer.

Cryptomeria will grow in full sun to partial shade and are drought tolerant once established. Grows best in partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. They require little maintenance or pruning once established and look good left on their own, although are also a good choice for topiary.

Other Common Names: Japanese Cedar, Sugi

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: February – March

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

15. Stone Pine (Pinus pinea)

Stone Pine (Pinus pinea) - Young Tree and Needles
Young Stone Pine Tree – Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

The Stone Pine is a thick trunked pine with dark-green foliage and an umbrella-shaped crown. They can be found in coastal areas and along dry hillsides.

The bark is thick and plated deeply fissured with a reddish/brown to orange hue with a black edge on the plate edges. The foliage is stiff, dark green needles borne in groups of two, but the juvenile leaves are bluish/green and continue to be produced for up to 10 years.

The cones are broadly oval, with a chestnut brown color, and ripen 3 years after pollination. The Stone Pine is renowned for its production of rich, oily seeds known globally as pine nuts, although they can be harvested from other pines.

The Stone Pine thrives in sandy, stony coastal areas and is drought, salt, and heat tolerant.

Other Common Names: Umbrella Pine, Italian Stone Pine, Mediterranean Stone Pine, Pliny Pine, Pesto Pine

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 40-80 ft tall and 40-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

Green Georgia

Evergreen trees provide year-round verdant vistas in the landscape that remind us of our inseparable connection to the natural world.

The topography of the state of GA means that you can plant or encounter different types of evergreen trees depending on whether you’re in the humid, damp southern reaches of the state or the cooler upland areas.

Whatever you choose to plant, make sure it will survive in your particular microclimate before you commit to buying and planting.

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Thomas Pitto

Propagation Expert & Permaculture Enthusiast

Thomas worked for a number of years as the head of plant propagation for a horticultural contractor taking care of many different species of ornamental trees & shrubs. He learned how to propagate certain endangered endemic species and has a love of permaculture, sustainability and conscious living. When Thomas isn't hiking in nature he can be found playing music, reading a book, or eating fruit under a tree.

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