Distylium is a native of China and a member of the witch hazel family. It has gorgeous blue-green foliage on wide-spreading, horizontally arching branches that grow in layers, giving it a swirling appearance. It’s unlike any growth seen in an evergreen shrub. It made its debut in the late 1990s and early 2000s and is still a well-kept secret of the landscape and home garden. It is starting to replace plants like hawthorns, yews, nandinas and hollies in new home landscapes. They also are heat and drought tolerant, can grow in either full sun or shade and display no major insect or disease problems.
Here are brief descriptions of each variety.
Blue Cascade has a more spreading growth habit with layered branches with newer foliage being a purple to bronze color and then maturing to a blue-green hue that they will hold year-round. It grows to 4 feet high by 8 feet wide.
Cinnamon Girl, has smaller leaves, making it a great littleleaf boxwood and dwarf yaupon replacement. New growth is red-purple that matures to blue-green foliage and has a spreading-swirling habit that can be massed as a compact hedge or tall ground cover. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall by 4 to 6 feet wide.
Coppertone is another spreading-mounding growth habit that is more compact with copper-bronze-red new growth that also matures to blue-green and grows 3 to 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.
Emerald Heights has a rounded and spreading growth habit with dark green foliage. Plants are 5 to 6 feet tall by 8 to 9 feet wide
Linebacker has an upright-dense growth habit that makes it the best cultivar to use for hedging and screening. The new foliage is red-orange that will mature to shiny dark green that it keeps year round. It is large, and barrel shaped. It will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide.
Vintage Jade displays the most unique layered branching that gives a swirling appearance. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall by 8 to 10 feet wide. It will cover a large area.
So give Distyliums a try. They require minimal attention. They are just an easy-care foundation evergreen shrub.