Plant of the Month: Yew

Yews are a diverse group of evergreens with fringelike foliage that can are highly tolerant to most growing conditions.

Height and growth habit vary between varieties, meaning there is a yew for almost every need. Taller, upright varieties like Fastigiata work well for framing entryways or planted closely together to form privacy screens. Varieties like Prostrata are lower and make good ground covers. Some varieties, like Hicks, also produce berry-like fruits in the fall that birds adore.


Partial Sun (morning sun and afternoon shade) is preferred, but yews can grow in full sun and full shade as well.

Yews can handle most soil conditions, though they are not fond of overly wet soil. Improve soil drainage by amending with Lobster Compost.

Yews do best in soils with a neutral pH but are tolerant of slightly acidic or alkaline soils.

Yews should be pruned late winter/early spring. They respond well to pruning and are excellent choices for topiaries due to their slow growth.

Fertilize in spring with an all-purpose tree and shrub fertilizer like Fertilome Tree & Shrub Fertilizer.

Some of Our Favorite Varieties


Prostrata – a low growing variety that reaches 2-3 feet tall but spread up to 4 feet wide. Prostrata is an excellent choice for groundcovers.


Hicks – a taller variety that reaches 10-12 feet tall and is perfect for screening out unsightly views or framing entryways.


Fastigiata – another upright variety that reaches 10-12 feet tall. Fastigiata’s growth habit is similar to the Sky Pencil Holly and is an excellent choice for hedging or a specimen planting.


Yewtopia – a more rounded variety that reaches 3-4 feet tall and wide. Perfect for small gardens and does well in containers.

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens – similar to Yewtopia but with tighter branching, Duke Gardens can reach 4-6 feet tall and wide.