Taxus Yew Shrub – A Complete Guide to Yew Bushes

Taxaceae describes fern like trees and shrubs. The Taxus is a specific variety of shrubs within the Taxaceae family. Japan boasts with the Taxus Cupidata, a pyramid like tree, growing to extreme heights. Regions in Europe are known for the Taxus Baccata.

Taxus Yew shrubs are used prolifically as foliage to border gardens and driveways. The bright, evergreen shrubs form beautiful hedges, which can be trimmed to any shape you desire. Yews thrive in dry conditions, are resistant to drought and can withstand most sunny conditions. Taxus Yew shrubs prefer full sun or part shade but require well-drained soil.

Taxus Baccata European

Taxus Baccata European

The Taxus Yew shrubs are found in both Japan and Europe. The yew shrubs are native to Korea, Japan, and specifically the Manchuria area. The shrubby trees, denoted by the Yew name, are versatile for garden use. Small to very large varieties are available and provide green foliage all year round.

The shrubs can be small or grow to medium-sized bushes. The foliage is a vivid green colour with a needle-like structure. Some varieties have bright red berries in the flowering season.

Varieties of Taxus Yew Shrubs

There are several Taxus Yew shrubs available for your garden. The hardiness of the shrubs are in zone 4 to 8. All varieties are evergreen, with male and female species. The females carry red fruit, which is entirely toxic to humans and animals.

Taxus X Media describes a range of hybrid yew. Popular options include Brownii, Fairview, Natorp and Nigra. This variety has a round shape when young and starts to spread as it gets older.

Several species of the yew expand quite rapidly. To fill out a hedge quickly, select the Sebian, Wardii, Tauntonii, or Everlow varieties. The ‘Sunburst’ is a very pretty shrub with spring bringing a golden tinge. The colour fades to a yellow green into summer.

Dwarf varieties of the yew grow to a height of approximately 3 feet; it is perfect for lower hedges or to provide gradients in your garden. It spreads slowly and has very dark green leaves.

Tall varieties of yew are available and provide a column effect. Viridis, Citation and Hiksii varieties grow up to 20 feet high at maturity. The Capitata variety has a pyramid shape to the shrub and is unique in many ways. It can easily grow to 40 feet in height and 10 foot wide. The red brown brak is tinged with purple and makes it the ideal entryway shrub.

Taxus Yew Shrubs

Taxus Yew Shrubs

The varieties include, but are not limited to:

  • Taxus X Media
  • Taxus Capitata
  • Taxus Repandens
  • Taxus Sunburst
  • Taxus Everlow

Sub-varieties are popular within the Taxus genus and many different shrubs are available. There are some notable Taxus specimens that deserve more consideration.

Taxus Everlow

The Taxus Everlow has distinctive characteristics. It is a hardy shrub of the evergreen variety and provides dense coverage. It is ideal for topiaries and mixed borders in the garden. This low maintenance plant is wind resistant and can be pruned often without consequences.

The Everlow works well as a hedge and has a resemblance to ferns. It has needle leaves and grows 1 to 1,5 foot in height. The shrub easily spreads between four and five feet, making it perfect for low maintenance gardens. Everlow grows close to the ground, as its name suggests.

The leaves are dark olive green and look good throughout the year. Scaly, brown bark holds the plant and it comes in both male and female varieties. The female plant produces small red fruits, resembling berries but the fruit is poisonous.

The Everlow performs best in drained, low moisture soil. The ground should consist of soil which is acidic to slightly alkaline for optimal growth. The hardiness zone is 4 through 7 and the plant does not bloom easily.

Taxus Densimorfis Yew

The Densiformis is a hybrid Taxus plant with ornamental qualities and excellent hardiness in winter conditions. This low maintenance shrub is the perfect evergreen variety for hedges throughout the garden. The leaves are double ranked and oblong in shape.

The Densiformis has a slightly rounder shape as a young plant.  It is an intermediate height shrub, growing between three and four feet high. It spreads four to six feet across the ground. The shrub can be pruned often into the desired shape and size to suit your needs.

It works well for mass planting or mixed border hedges. Coastal regions are acceptable to the Densiformis, specifically in hardiness zone 4A.

Taxus Media Hiksii

Taxus Media Hiksii is another excellent variety of the yew plant. It has more of a column-like structure and works exceptionally well in large gardens. Growing 12 to 20 feet in height, it is easily one of the tallest plants requiring little maintenance.

It spreads between 8 and 12 feet and does well in any weather conditions. True size is only realized after about 20 years. The Hiksii grows at a slowish rate and enjoys partial to full sun. it is a relatively narrow plant, which can be pruned often without damaging the plant.

Caring for Yew Bushes

The Taxus Yew shrubs fare well in partial shade to full sun. The soil should drain well and not be very wet. The yew shrubs are weather tolerant but dislike-soaked soil. Wet soil can cause the roots of the plant to rot. The shrubs provide superb results in zones 4 to 8.

Most people prune yews to the size required for their garden. The plants do well with pruning and can be cut into various shapes. Most popular as hedges, the yew can also be shaped into arches and rounder shapes.

The Taxus Yew does not easily fall prey to harsh conditions. Needle and twig blight may occur when the conditions are extra harsh in winter. However, wet conditions can result in fungal infections. Pests such as mites and black vine weevil may be attracted to the shrubs. No other serious diseases are found on the yew shrubs.


  1. Arlene September 6, 2019
    • Homyden September 9, 2019

Leave a Reply