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How to Select Dwarf Conifers for a Small Garden

I love slow-growing, dwarf conifers and find them especially valuable when choosing plants for small gardens where every plant needs to earn its keep—their compact size and year-round good looks consistently earn them a place in my designs.

But dwarf conifers can vary greatly in their growth rate and eventual size, and consequently they can be tricky to site properly in gardens. If you know what to look for, it can help you figure out whether the plant is a good match for you and your garden. As I'm getting acquainted with a conifer that's new to me, one of the ways I try to assess how large it might get in the garden is to examine how much new growth it pushes each season.

As I demonstrate in the video below, this is easiest to see early in the season, just after it has put on its spring growth but before it has fully hardened off and the color has faded.

If you're a conifer lover too, I invite you to browse eGardenGo for plant combination ideas that include some of my favorites: Cryptomeria japonica 'Little Diamond', Tsuga canadensis 'Monkinn', and Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Snow', to name a few! You'll find many more options if you search for "plant type = conifer" and "plant feature = dwarf/compact plant" on the site.




CONIFERS THAT CAUGHT MY EYE AT THE GARDEN CENTER


Visiting nurseries throughout the year is a great way to keep up-to-date on plant offerings, conifers and otherwise—and believe it or not, you'll find some of the best varieties and widest selection of conifers at your local garden centers this time of year. Sorry, only some of these are on eGardenGo at this time, though I'll be working on getting them added and included in some plant combinations. Stay tuned and check back.





SOME OF MY FAVORITE DWARF CONIFERS THAT ARE ON THE SITE


Explore some of my favorite dwarf and slow-growing conifers. Don't forget to click through for plant combinations ideas that include them.

Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader'

Golden Spreading Nordman Fir

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun, Open Shade, Open Shade
Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

view plant

Cedrus deodara 'Feelin' Blue'

Feelin' Blue Deodar Cedar

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Full Sun, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun
Zone: 7, 8, 9

view plant

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Treasure Island'

Dwarf Port Orford Cedar

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun
Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

view plant

Chamaecyparis pisifera' Snow'

Snow false cypress

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Part Sun, Part Shade, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun, Open Shade, Open Shade
Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

view plant

Cryptomeria japonica 'Little Diamond'

Little Diamond Dwarf Japanese Cedar

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun, Open Shade, Open Shade
Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

view plant

Picea pungens 'Ruby Teardrops'

Ruby Teardrops Colorado Spruce

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Full Sun, Afternoon Sun
Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

view plant

Picea sitchensis 'Papoose'

Dwarf Sitka Spruce

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Full Sun, Full Sun, Afternoon Sun
Zone: 7, 8

view plant

Tsuga canadensis 'MonKinn'

Golden Duchess Eastern Hemlock

Type: Conifer, Shrub
Exposure: Part Shade, Morning Sun, Filtered Sun, Open Shade, Open Shade
Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7

view plant




PLANT COMBOS FEATURING DWARF CONIFERS


Published November 30, 2018


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