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Duke Gardens Plum Yew

Cephalotaxus harringtonii
    3 reviews
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Duke Gardens Plum Yew
Images shown may be of mature plants.

Duke Gardens Plum Yew

Cephalotaxus harringtonii
    3 reviews

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Product Details

growing zone 6-9 Growing Zones 6-9
Soil Type Adaptable
Sunlight Shade
Drought Tolerance Semi
Mature Height 4-5 Feet
Mature Width 4-5 Feet
Growth Rate slow
Fall Color Green
Shipping Restriction AZ

‘Duke Gardens’ is a dwarf Japanese Plum Yew that was discovered growing naturally at the gardens at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. This plant is slow growing and spreads more than it grows tall. It has a nice mounded shape and attractive fine needle-like (but soft) foliage.

This unique evergreen is a superb accent in a shade garden or mixed bed. The Duke Gardens Plum Yew is low maintenance, heat tolerant, extremely deer resistant, and drought tolerant once established. This easy to grow plant offers year-round appeal and a compact habit for the shady landscape.

Key Features

  • Shade loving. The Duke Gardens Plum Yew can grow in full shade sites.
  • Dwarf shrub. While other Japanese Plum Yews can grow quite large, this dwarf plum yew stays compact. It grows slowly to about 4 feet tall and up to 6 feet wide.
  • Evergreen. This evergreen bush offers year-round appeal and keeps your landscape looking nice and green all year long.
  • Low maintenance. The Duke Gardens Plum Yew is easy to grow. It is heat tolerant, deer resistant, and drought tolerant once established.

Pro Tip:

While it thrives in shade, the Duke Gardens Plum Yew can grow in full sun in zones 6 and 7, but will need to be supplemented with water. In growing zones 8 and up, this dwarf Japanese Plum Yew should be planted in an area with some shade.

Duke Gardens Plum Yew Care

Japanese Plum Yews are easy evergreen shrubs to grow. They are very hardy and rarely encounter issues with pests or disease. Once established these plants are drought tolerant.


Duke Gardens Plum Yew shrubs do need to be watered well for the first few months in order to encourage a deep and healthy root system. Water deeply about 2 times per week. We recommend watering your plants as soon as they arrive even before you plant them. This will ensure that the roots are moist and ready for planting. Adding about 2 inches of mulch is a great choice for newly planted Yews. This will help keep the soil moist during the crucial early period when the roots are acclimating to their new home. It also protects the roots from extreme temps. While yews will tolerate dry conditions, you will get the best growth out of your plant by watering them when the soil dries out.


Duke Gardens Japanese Plum Yews are recommended for the south where other yews generally prefer northern climates. This variety grows in zone 6 to 9 and is very heat tolerant.


This yew thrives in part sun to full shade! It can tolerate full sun in zones 6 and 7, but prefers at least some shade in zones 8 and 9. This evergreen is adaptable to any well-drained soil. Fertilize when planting and once yearly in spring with a balanced, slow release fertilizer like the one we carry. Our fertilizer is safe to use at the time of planting. Avoid harsh chemical fertilizers that can burn the roots of your new tree. If you want to prune for shape or size control, prune in early spring.

Landscape ideas

The Duke Gardens Plum Yew is versatile in the landscape. This unique evergreen is great for mass, group, and foundation plantings, an accent in mixed beds, borders, low hedges, and even containers. For a low hedge, space your plants about 2-3 feet apart on center.


Check out the standard Japanese Plum Yew and other Evergreen Shrub options.

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