What Is The Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen?

What Is The Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen?

Nov 3, 2022

When it comes to the horticultural world, you may feel initially overwhelmed by all there is to know about choosing, planting, and caring for landscape plants.

From all the different species and care regimens, to grow zones, fertilizers, and sunshine levels, we'll be the first to admit that the plant world is overwhelming. But a great place to start when planning your landscape is understanding the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.

Plants Losing Leaves

a deciduous tree

The first and most obvious way to determine whether a plant is considered deciduous or evergreen is to pay attention to the foliage growth and loss patterns throughout the seasons.

Deciduous shrubs and deciduous trees lose their foliage in the transition from fall to winter. The main reason these types of plants shed their leaves is as a survival mechanism to conserve their energy in the cooler months when they aren't receiving as much sunlight.

Evergreen trees and shrubs on the other hand boast their foliage all year long! These types of trees and shrubs are hardy to the elements and bring magnificent beauty and color to a yard in every season.

Nutrient Needs For Deciduous Plants VS. Evergreen Plants

evergreen fertilizer

The next important difference to note between deciduous and evergreen plants is their different requirements for nutrients. Because Evergreen plants do not shed their leaves, they require more energy and more nutrients to sustain their well-being. Such reflects the mere effectiveness of photosynthesis. Deciduous trees shut down the process of photosynthesis entirely during the winter months.

Growing Conditions

plant growing

Because these trees exhibit different cycles of life, it is only natural that they would be able to endure different environmental conditions. Evergreen trees and shrubs enjoy tropical conditions whereas deciduous trees and shrubs are more comfortable in temperate conditions.

Deciduous forests are sensitive to rainfall patterns, however, they are extremely hardy to harsh climates. Deciduous trees can survive in places with severe temperature drops and harsh weather, so long as their roots are protected. Evergreen trees are more sensitive to environmental changes and cannot withstand quite as harsh of environments.

Clearly, there are perks and drawbacks of either tree-- for if you're looking for extreme hardiness we recommend going deciduous, whereas if you're looking for year-round color, then evergreen is the way to go.

Examples of Evergreen Plants

evergreen privacy hedge

Here at GGD, we offer a wide range of evergreen trees and evergreen shrubs available for purchase. Some standout evergreen options that our customers continue to love year after year include a range of plants from arborvitaes, to boxwoods, hollies and so much more.

Our best-selling American Pillar Arborvitaes are an iconic landscape option for creating a green wall of privacy and beauty. Another popular evergreen option that stands the test of time is the Skip Cherry Laurel. This shrub sports lustrous green leaves and can be pruned for a more manicured look, or left to grow a more naturalistic hedge.

Examples of Deciduous Plants

deciduous hydrangea shrubs

Deciduous plants boast the perks of magnificent spring blooms, stunning shows of fall color, and low-maintenance care regimens. A few of our favorite deciduous plants include the Wee Bit Giddy Hydrangea and the Yoshino Cherry Tree. Although they may not look their best in the winter months, it is the much-needed beauty sleep that these plants need to have a jaw-dropping display in spring and summer.