What to plant
I live in Plymouth, MI and am looking for an evergreen plant/shrub to put in the front of my house. It would need to be no taller than 24” and spread about the same. It is located in shade. I would love it if it had some winter interest. I have given up on Mountain Laurel in this area. They survive but never really thrive - dead branches and few flowers. Any suggestions are most welcome!
Wayne County Michigan
Self-mailer soil test kits from Michigan State University' horticulture research lab are available. You can obtain them at the link below. Full instructions are are there and also come with the kits. The cost is $25.
You did not specify if your shade is full, dark shade, part shade or dappled shade. Your size requirements leave very few choice. Here are some ideas. There are some in the link below that do not grow in our Zone 5; others will.
Dwarf English boxwood - part shade. Very hardy. About 3'
Rhododendrons.There are some quite small varieties like R. keiskei 'Dwarf' (dwarf Keisk rhododendron), a dwarf lepidote rhododendron, bears pale yellow 2-inch bell-shaped flowers and has olive-green 2-inch leaves that turn wine red in winter. It is a spreading plant, growing 2 1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide, but could be trimmed narrower..
Hollies range in size from a 6-inch-tall spreading dwarf to a 70-foot-tall towering giant. Google for dwarf varieties. They are shade tolerant.
Dwarf conifers tend to be shade tolerant because they push their new growth earlier in the spring (before the deciduous trees really leaf out) and need less photosynthesis to remain happy. Google for shade tolerant evergreens.