Zones: 4 to 9
Light: Part Shade
Bloom Time: Foliage Only
Height: 1′ to 25′ (depending on the variety)
Spread: 3′ to 25′
Yews (Taxus) are very reliable drought tolerant evergreens for shade that have inch long needles and red berries in the fall.
Unlike conifers, they don’t mind being pruned, so their size and shape can be easily maintained.
If you don’t want to do diligent pruning, avoid ‘Hills’,’ Hicks’, and ‘Browns’ yews because they grow too large for a border.
Yews provide all season interest and stand out in the winter garden as a green respite among the deciduous branches.
It should be noted that the berries and needles are poisonous to humans and animals.
Yews generally do not like wet conditions.
Taxus x media ‘Tauntonii’ is a dwarf yew that is perfect: it grows slowly, is very tidy and has a very dark green hue.
Taxus cuspidate ‘emerald spreader’ is another good bright green choice that gets denser if pruned annually.
Taxus Canadensis is a tough, small native that will grow in dense shade.