Shot-hole Fungus on Schip Laurel

Shot-hole is an omnipresent issue of small holes in leaves resulting from growing laurels in containers for nursery production. Despite nursery best practices, shothole cannot be avoided when growing laurels in containers, but it goes away once the container-grown plant is placed in the ground.

Shot-hole Fungus
on Schip Laurel

Shot hole, while unsightly does not impact the ongoing health of the plant.
Once planted in ground, the holes will not be on the new growth

Shot-hole is an omnipresent issue of small holes in leaves resulting from growing laurels in containers for nursery production. Despite nursery best practices, shothole cannot be avoided when growing laurels in containers, but it goes away once the container-grown plant is placed in the ground. Some shot-hole on your plants is not a cause for concern – it’s just temporary. The most important thing is that the root system is healthy and that you quickly plant and water your plants in to get them established.


Shot-hole fungus, or Coryneum blight (Wilsonomyces carpophilus) is a common disease found primarily on species of Prunus, such as peaches, apricots, flowering cherries, flowering plums, almonds, and cherry laurels, including Schip laurel. It is not a serious threat to these trees, and is often seen in nursery production. But with good practices and proper siting, shot-hole fungus is resolved once planted in the garden.

Description

Shot-hole fungus is most visible on the leaves, but also affects buds, stems, and fruit. The damage starts as red or purplish spots which turn brown, dry out, and drop out of the leaf, giving the appearance of gunshot holes. It is unattractive on beautiful, shiny Schip laurel leaves, but with proper care and treatment, new growth will replace the tattered, affected foliage.

Classic symptoms of shot-hole fungus causing unsightly holes on cherry laurel leaves.

Trees and hedges can be infected any time during the year, but the fungus can be especially severe following wet winters and warm, humid springs with limited sunlight in cloudy skies.
An infection can spread by splashed rainwater and overhead watering, especially when there is not enough air circulation through the tree. A humid environment around the leaves encourages growth of the fungus, so it is important to create enough air spaces for good circulation. The damage is most prevalent and visible in mid to late summer, and the fungus can overwinter and cause damage again the next season if not controlled.

Treatment

In the nursery setting a copper fungicide is used to minimize shot hole. This is typically no required once the plants go into the ground.

Planting in the ground with watering as necessary is the best treatment. Do not overwater your plant, just provide watering as necessary. The new growth should be disease free. Enjoy!

Management

Drip irrigation is an ideal way to water plants to avoid most disease issues.

Thin out excess branches every year to afford good air circulation, and prune off the lowest growing branches to prevent contact with splashed rain or water from a sprinkler. Careful, clean practices year-round will go a long way toward keeping your Schip laurel healthy and free from shot-hole fungus.

When planting the laurels, make sure you situate them in plenty of sun with good air circulation around them to discourage any fungal growth. Watering should be done by drip irrigation or low-pressure sprinklers to minimize the spread of fungus by water splashed on the foliage.

Green Giant Arborvitae

(Thuja plicata × standishii ‘Green Giant’)

Thuja x Green Giant

Green Giant Arborvitae is an outstanding, easy-care tree that is versatile and adaptable for multiple uses in the landscape. It was first sent from Denmark to the U.S. National Arboretum in 1965 and has been a favorite with landscapers and homeowners ever since. Green Giant is a hybrid between Thuja plicata (Western Red cedar) and Thuja standishii (Japanese Arborvitae) and has qualities that surpass both of its parents. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8, which is a large area that includes more southern states than the range of other varieties of Arborvitae. Because of this, Green Giant can withstand heat and humidity, making it an excellent choice for southern U.S. gardens. The growth rate of Green Giant Arborvitae is 3’ to 5’ a year, and it is virtually pest-free and more deer-resistant than most other Thuja varieties. Its year-round, dark green, feathery foliage makes a beautiful, dense border or windbreak, and it can be easily clipped into a hedge, grown as a specimen tree, or planted in a container.

How to Care for Green Giant Arborvitae

  When to Plant  

The best time to plant your Green Giant is in the late winter or early spring when the ground is workable, but when the tree is not actively growing. It needs the growing season to establish a good root system before the following winter, so it is best not to plant it in the fall.

Green Giant Tree Pot, ready to plant

  Where to Plant

Site the trees on your property where they will best fulfill your need for a windbreak, privacy hedge, sunscreen, or border. Wherever you plant them, they will have the following sun and soil requirements.

Where to plant green giant arborvitae
Green Giant grows best in full sun in well-draining soil

Arborvitae will grow fastest in full sun, but they will also grow in some partial shade as long as they receive six hours of full sun during the day. The more sun the better since they will tend to thin out in shadier locations.

Since Arborvitae have extensive root systems, they will need soil that is loose, well-draining, free of rocks, and rich in organic matter. The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 8.0. You can easily test the pH of your soil with a pH meter or send a sample of your soil to your local county extension agent.

  How Many to Plant

Once you have selected a site, you’ll need to know how many trees to buy. If you’re looking for a Green Giant hedge, it is best to order Green Giant InstantHedge that are ready-to-plant sections of appropriately spaced planted hedging that come in several heights. They create a beautiful, dense hedge as soon as they’re planted and require minimal maintenance.

Green Giant InstantHedge unit
Installed Green Giant InstantHedge

If you want a windbreak, screen, or border, the spacing between the Green Giant trees will determine how many you’ll need. This is important! If Arborvitaes are planted too close together, they won’t have enough space above ground to spread their branches or space below ground to develop wide, substantial root systems to anchor the trees. Shorter trees can be planted closer together, but taller trees need enough space to grow healthfully. Below is a spacing guide according to desired tree height, with the distance between trees measured between trunks or centers. If you’re planting your trees near a fence or building, space them at least 10’ away for adequate growing room. Allow at least 20’ between other trees or plantings to prevent competition for water and nutrients.

Desired Screen Height6-8’10-12’15’+
Spacing Distance3’4-6’7-10’

  How to Plant 

When your trees arrive, water them immediately, before planting.

For individual trees, dig a hole the depth of the pots or root balls and two to three times as wide. Tease the roots apart and place the trees in the holes with the top of the roots just below the soil surface. Backfill the holes with soil and tamp them down gently so that they are firmly set and there are no air pockets.

Planting Tree Pots or Gallon sizes – note the soil level is even with the root flare

You can plant them in multiple configurations: linear, staggered, or creative.

Linear – space the plants evenly in a straight line. Staggered – space the plants evenly but in a staggered line. Creative – vary the spacing and lines to create a more natural or artistic line.

For a standard InstantHedge, dig a trench 12” deep and at least 18” wide to the length desired.

3 InstantHedge units (10 linear feet) being planted in a trench. Yes, you plant the cardboard box which then decomposes!

For a MiniHedgeXL, dig the trench 10.5” deep and 18” wide.

3 MiniHedgeXL (8.75 linear feet) being lifted from their pots and planted in a trench.

Plant the hedge units end to end, as closely together as you can get them. Add a layer of mulch over the root zone (without letting it touch the trunks), and water it in thoroughly.

Watering

Drip irrigation is a great way to irrigate your hedge without wasting water.

While the trees are established during their first and second years on your property, they will need to be watered weekly. Arborvitae requires moist soil, but are not soggy. Water by hand or with a slow-drip system a few feet away from the trunk to soak the soil, but not directly on the roots to prevent root rot. A long, deep soaking is always better than a quick, shallow watering.

  Fertilizing

A slow-release granular fertilizer in early spring will fuel your hedge’s growth throughout the growing season.

As your Green Giant trees grow, they will need nourishment to keep them in tip-top shape. Fertilize them every spring with an all-purpose, slow-release, granular fertilizer with high nitrogen content, like 16-5-9 or 18-5-12. Follow the instructions and water it in thoroughly.

  Pruning

pruning
Pruning any type of Arborvitae hedge requires some forethought, as cutting into old wood should be avoided.

Green Giant Arborvitae is very fast growing — 3’ to 5’ per year when established. To keep them at the desired height, you can prune them every year to a shorter size with clean, sharp shears or electric hedge trimmers.

Arborvitae only produces new growth at the ends of the branches, not on the old, bare sections close to the trunk. To shape the trees, limit their width, and achieve overall good density, cut the branches back up to a third of their length before the flush of growth in the spring or summer. Cut back any rogue branches that extend beyond the rest of the growth to maintain an attractive shape.

If the trees are growing too tall, cut the tops back to no more than one-third of the trees’ height early in the year. This is called topping the trees. Choose a spot where the existing branches will hide the cut leader, and then the tallest of the top branches will grow to become the new leader.

Prune your hedges every year before new growth on the tops and sides to maintain their shape and to encourage the best density.

  Mulching

mulching arborvitae
A 2-3” layer of mulch over the hedge’s root zone helps regulate soil temperature and conserve moisture.

To retain moisture at the roots, spread 2” to 3” of mulch out to the dripline of the trees, making sure to keep it away from the base of the tree trunks. 

Growing Green Giant Arborvitae in Containers

Growing Green Giant Arborvitae in Containers
Green Giant can be grown in containers for years before needing to be replaced.

Green Giant Arborvitae can be successfully grown in containers as accents around a pool, patio, or front entrance.

Choose a large pot, 18” to 24” in diameter, or a half barrel for trees 6’ to 8’ high. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the pot so that the water can drain. Water that collects in the pot can put your tree at risk for root rot.

Use a loose, well-draining potting mix in the container so that there will be room for root expansion and air circulation. Do not use soil from the garden or a commercial garden or tree soil. It is too dense and compacts too quickly in a container, and will choke the roots.

Water your Green Giant when it is dry an inch down from the top of the soil. Always water thoroughly so that it runs through the soil and out the drainage holes. In warm weather, you will need to water every few days, but in cold weather, you can water it every week or two.

Since it is growing in a pot, your tree will need more frequent fertilization than if it is growing in the ground. You can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer with a high nitrogen content every two weeks during the growing season. As an alternative, you can sprinkle granular all-purpose fertilizer on top of the soil and water it thoroughly following the directions.

Prune your tree at the top in the spring to keep it at the right height and around the sides if it’s growing too wide, using clean, sharp shears. Cut Green Giant Arborvitae tree back to no more than one-third of its size to encourage healthy growth.

Hedges in the Winter Garden

Hedges are living fences that can be grown as a border, for privacy, as a windbreak, or to define spaces in your garden. They can be evergreen or deciduous depending on the type of hedge you need. Evergreen hedges provide a dense wall of privacy all year round as well as some deciduous hedges that have leaves that persist through the winter. Most deciduous hedges offer privacy during the spring and summer while they’re in leaf, and then during the winter, they become airy screens that allow light and air to filter through after their leaves fall. Deciduous hedges are excellent for areas around a pool. A fence or privacy hedge is needed during the warm seasons when the pool is in use, but a see-through screen is all that is necessary during the winter.

Conifer Kingdom offers a wide variety of evergreen and deciduous hedges to choose from with various densities, textures, and colors. Read on for descriptions of Instant hedge varieties and how they appear in the winter and throughout the year.

Evergreen Hedges

Arborvitae

Arborvitae has dense, flattened sprays of feathery foliage in various shades of green, depending on the variety. They have shredding, reddish-brown bark, and small brown cones that persist through the winter. Some varieties take on a bronze color in the winter, and others hold their color all year. They can be grown as a medium to tall privacy hedges, windbreaks, or borders.

green giant arborvitae's winter color
Green Giant Arborvitae hedge

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata × standishii ‘Green Giant’) makes an outstanding hedge. It is virtually pest-free and deer resistant, and it can grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8, making it a great variety for hedging in the southern United States. Green Giant grows 3’ to 5’ a year once established, holds its color through the winter, and provides a thick hedge throughout the year.

American Arborvitae hedge

American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is native to the United States and grows in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7. It can grow farther north than Green Giant, but not as far south. American Arborvitae has dark green foliage during the spring and summer that lightens to a yellow-green in the winter. It grows slower than Green Giant — 1’ to 2’ per year — and provides a dense, hardy hedge throughout the year.

Emerald Green Arborvitae hedge

Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’) is an excellent hedging variety that will grow well over most of the United States in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8. It is a dense, full tree that grows 1’ to 2’ a year and retains its emerald color through the winter.  It is sturdy, thick, adaptable, and able to withstand temperature extremes, making it a great choice for a privacy hedge, windbreak, or border.

Little Simon Arborvitae hedge, summer

Little Simon Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Simon’) is a dwarf selection of the Emerald Green Arborvitae that also does best in the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8. It is very slow-growing, at 3” a year, and keeps its bright green color year-round. It has the same good qualities as Emerald Green and makes a great border hedge because of its size, slow growth, and density.

Virescens Western Red cedar hedge

Virescens Western Red cedar (Thuja plicata ‘Virescens’) is a variety of the Western Red cedar, an Arborvitae native to the Pacific Northwest. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 and has glossy, dark green foliage that holds its color through the winter. Similar to Green Giant, Virescens is not susceptible to pests, and deer tend to avoid it. It grows up to 2’ a year, and is dense, with upright growing branches, making it an exceptional choice for a year-round privacy hedge or windbreak.

Boxwoods in Winters

Boxwoods are broadleaved evergreens with small, oval leaves that have been grown since ancient times as borders, topiaries, and in parterres and knot gardens.

Green Mountain Boxwood hedge, summer

Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus × ‘Green Mountain’ is a slow-growing (3” per year), easily maintained shrub that makes an exceptional, fine-textured hedge in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. It has good Boxwood Blight resistance, as well as deer and rabbit resistance, and holds its dark green color through the winter and all year round. It is an effective medium height privacy hedge at 3’-4’ tall (excellent for containers), as well as a low border due to its density and elegant appearance.

 Schmidt Boxwood InstantHedge

Schmidt Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Schmidt’) is an upright Boxwood variety with lustrous, dark green leaves that hold their color through the winter, even in extreme cold. Schmidt is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8 and grows up to 4” per year. It is a disease, deer, and rabbit resistant and makes a fine dense border or medium height privacy hedge that is attractive all year long.

Box Honeysuckle

Lonicera nitida hedge, winter

Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) is a dense, small-leaved evergreen shrub with a fine texture that can substitute nicely for Boxwood. It grows up to 12” per year and can be shared easily to maintain as a small or medium height privacy hedge. It displays some interesting colors during the year, which is an added bonus and different from Arborvitae and Boxwood. Its fragrant, white spring flowers develop into mildly toxic blue-purple berries later in the season, and in the winter, its leaves sometimes turn a beautiful bronze-plum color. Box Honeysuckle grows in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, so it is an excellent choice for southern gardens.

Hicks Yew 

Hicks Yew hedge

Hicks Yew (Taxus × media ‘Hicksii’), with its dark green, shiny foliage and red berries, is an excellent hedge for northern and southern gardens in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. It grows moderately fast, up to 12” per year, and takes maintenance pruning well. All parts of the Yew are poisonous to humans, livestock, and pets, although deer will happily eat the foliage, and some bird species will feast on the red berries. Arborvitae and Boxwoods are non-toxic choices for hedging, but Hicks Yew is an outstanding choice, too, if children or pets are not an issue.

Laurels

These laurels are not the bay laurels, Laurus, of classic times, but are the cherries, Prunus, with evergreen leaves and spikes of white flowers. They all grow at a rate of about 12” to 24” per year and make beautiful hedges.

English laurel hedge

English Laurel, Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is a large-textured evergreen with shiny, rich green leaves that retain their color during the winter and throughout the year. It grows in both sun and partial shade, and in the spring, this beautiful shrub puts on 4” spikes of highly fragrant, white flowers and in summer bears blueberries that add ornamental value. The berries are toxic to mammals. English laurel is a favorite privacy hedge in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, especially along the coast since it tolerates salt spray.

Schip laurel hedge, summer

Schip, Schipka laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’) is a vase-shaped shrub that has smaller, narrower leaves than English laurel that keep their color through the winter. It does best in partial shade and makes a handsome, thick, privacy hedge that is easy to clip to size. Like English laurel, its 4” fragrant white flower spikes and non-edible blueberries add an ornamental touch to the glossy foliage. Schip laurel grows in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9 and is a great addition to southern gardens.

Portuguese laurel hedge, summer

Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica) is laurel that is excellent for warmer climates in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. Its glossy evergreen leaves are shorter and narrower than English laurel and they retain their deep green color through the winter and all year round. The fragrant flower spikes and non-edible blue berries shine against the green foliage and bright red stems. Portuguese laurel’s adaptability to various soil and climate conditions, its dense foliage, and ability to be easily clipped makes it a great choice for a medium to tall privacy hedge.

Wichita Blue Juniper

Wichita Blue Juniper hedge, winter

Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) is a spectacular, powder-blue variety of the Rocky Mountain Juniper, Juniperus scopulorum. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 7 and is cold and drought resistant. Its dense, feathery foliage grows at a moderate rate (6” to 12” per year), and can easily be trimmed to maintain its size. It is excellent as a privacy hedge and retains its beautiful blue color throughout the winter.

Deciduous Hedges

Beeches

Beeches are large, elegant trees native to Europe and North America. The European Beech is more commonly cultivated than the American Beech because of its better adaptability to different conditions. It grows at a rate of between 12” and 24” a year and can be grown as a medium to tall privacy hedge.

European Beech hedge, winter

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is a stately tree that is used for shade, as a specimen, and can easily be trained into a thick privacy hedge since its branches grow close to the ground. Beechnuts appear in the fall, and the green leaves turn a copper color and hang on to the smooth, silvery-gray branches through the winter. The result is a stunning privacy screen all year round. European Beech grows well in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.

Purple Beech hedge, winter

Purple Beech, Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica var. atropurpurea) is the purple form of European Beech. Its leaf colors range from light purple to dark burgundy, and like the European Beech, it makes a superb privacy hedge. Autumn brings beechnuts, and the leaves turn a copper color and hang on through the winter. Purple Beech also grows well in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.

Cornelian Cherry

Cornelian cherry hedge, flowering in winter

Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) is a species of Dogwood with colorful flowers and fruit. Its opposite green leaves make a dense hedge in the spring and summer, and in the autumn, the leaves turn a slight copper color before falling. Bursts of small yellow flowers cover the branches in the late winter, turning the hedge into a colorful screen. They develop into edible red fruits that stand out against the green leaves in midsummer. Cornelian Cherry does best in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8 and grows up to 24” per year.

Bald Cypress

Bald cypress, fall color

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer that can grow in a variety of conditions and be trained into a soft, feathery hedge. Its yellow-green needles turn a beautiful orange-brown in the fall, and after the needles drop, the bare branches with fibrous red-brown bark and green cones make an attractive screen in the winter. Bald Cypress is a fast-growing tree of southern swamps (2’ to 3’ per year), but can grow happily in drier environments in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.

European Hornbeam

Hornbeam hedge in winters
Hornbeam hedge, winter

European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is a densely branched tree, growing 12” to 24” a year, with deeply fluted, gray bark that can be trained into a superb privacy hedge. Its serrated, oval leaves become orange-brown and crispy in the fall and persist through the winter. Strings, or catkins, of yellow or green spring flowers, become little brown nuts in the summer. European Hornbeam makes an excellent, dense hedge all year round, and grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.

Teton Firethorn

Firethorn hedge, fall berry display that will last through winter

Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’) is a perfect hedging shrub because of its upright, densely branching form and slow growth (8” per year). It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9 and is deciduous in the colder areas, but semi-evergreen to evergreen through the winter in the most southern zones. Drooping clusters of white flowers cover the branches in spring. In autumn and winter, yellow-orange berries add color and interest. Teton Firethorn is an outstanding privacy hedge with its stiff, dense branching, thorns, and semi-evergreen to evergreen foliage in much of its growing zone. The colorful flowers and fruit are an added bonus in this beautiful hedge.

Royal Star Magnolia

Royal Star Magnolia hedge, flowering in late winter

Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’) is a small, flowering tree with long, lush green leaves that make a dense privacy hedge during the spring and summer while the leaves are still on the tree. After the leaves have fallen, Royal Star becomes a flowering screen in the winter and early spring with its fragrant, 4” white flowers shining against the gray-white branches. Royal Star grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 and grows between 12” and 24” a year.

Flame Amur Maple

Flame Amur Maple hedge. Summer color
Flame Amur Maple hedge. Summer color

Flame Amur Maple (Acer ginnala ‘Flame’) is a colorful tree with large leaves that makes a good, dense, privacy hedge during the spring and summer. Clusters of red, winged fruit adorn the branches in late summer, and the leaves turn a spectacular, brilliant red in the fall. After the leaves drop, the bare branches in winter make an attractive screen that allows light and air through. Flame is quite a cold hardy and grows 12” to 24” a year. It fares best in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.

Arrowwood Viburnum

Arrowwood Viburnum hedge, spring flowering

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) is a multi-stemmed shrub native to North America. Flat-topped clusters of 3” to 4” white flowers bloom in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit later in the season that is a favorite with birds. Its toothed, oval leaves turn yellow, orange, or red in the fall. Arrowwood Viburnum makes a colorful, dense, large-textured hedge during the spring, summer, and fall. But after the leaves drop, the hedge becomes an attractive screen in winter. Arrowwood Viburnum grows over much of the United States in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8 and puts on 12” to 24” of growth per year.

Cold Hardy Hedges for Texas

Taxus-Fagus-hedge
Taxus Fagus hedge

February 10th through February 20th, 2021 ushered in a series of three severe winter storms that swept through the southern United States with high winds and caused temperatures to plunge below zero. Sleet and ice covered the Deep South, and in Texas, the failure to protect its grid from an unseasonable cold caused it to break down and created a major electricity shortage. In 2002, in an effort to lower the cost of power, Texas chose to isolate itself from the large, national power grids and electricity could not be funneled from other states into Texas. Over 5 million households and businesses lost power for a number of days, leaving people without heat, light, and food. Pipes burst, so there was no water.

The people of Texas were suffering and so were their plantings. Trees, shrubs, hedges, and smaller plantings in Texas died or were damaged. Palms, live oaks, and lacebark elms froze and many died. Southern hedges that were not cold hardy, such as rosemary, wax myrtle, pittosporum, loropetalum, privet, and oleander were severely damaged or died. These hedges grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 and 8 to zone 10, and cannot live in the freezing conditions of 15⁰ F to -20⁰ F that Texas experienced.

With the possibility of continued unstable and harsh weather patterns, cold-hardy plantings that will grow well in Texas are a great way to go. Under the most severe winter conditions, they may experience some damage, but will survive and grow back the next year. Texas’ USDA hardiness zones range from 6 in North Texas to 10 at the southern tip. The large cities of Abilene, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Midland are in zone 8, with Houston, San Antonio, Beaumont, and Corpus Christi in zone 9. Brownsville, at the southern tip of the state, is in zone 10.

The following hedges can withstand the cold of a northern climate but are also able to grow well from the top of Texas down to zone 8, and some even to zone 9. They are excellent alternatives to the strictly southern plantings.

Boxwoods

Photo courtesy of InstantHedge

Boxwood ‘Green Mountain’ and Boxwood ‘Schmidt’ are both cold-hardy evergreen shrubs that grow from USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. They make beautiful, fine-textured, low borders or medium-height privacy hedges that hold their green color through the winter. And are the perfect freeze tolerant shrubs for Texas.

Cherry laurels

Schip laurel

The shiny-leaved, large-textured Cherry laurels are outstanding choices for medium to tall privacy hedges in Texas. English Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is hardy from zones 6 to 9, Schip laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’) from 6 to 9, and Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica) from 6b to 9b.

Prunus laurocerasus English laurel hedges
Portuguese laurel InstantHedge – Ralph Lauren Bar & Grill, E Chicago Avenue, Chicago

They are all attractive and dense and can weather some winter damage.

Hicks Yew 

Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’

Hicks Yew (Taxus × media ‘Hicksii’) grows in hardiness zones 5 to 8, and is a popular medium to tall privacy hedge with its dark green, shiny foliage, and red, non-edible berries. It is cold hardy and yet grows well in southern gardens and is a good choice for Texas gardens through the top three-quarters of the state.

Hedges and Topiary

Decorative Gardening

Agriculture began in the Fertile Crescent and West Asia during the Neolithic Age 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. It extended in an arc from Ancient Egypt to India, and the influence of West Asian gardens spread east to China, Japan, and surrounding countries, and west to Europe. Decorative gardening grew out of an understanding of plant cultivation and a yearning for beauty.

An ancient Egyptian image of a royal couple on a stroll through a garden

As early as 2800 years ago, Egypt, Persia, and Babylon were creating walled enclosures, shade trees, pools, and flowing water around their palaces. A garden plan from 2400 years ago of a garden in Thebes, Egypt, depicted a vine-bordered walkway, tree-lined avenues, and rectangular ponds and garden pavilions separated by walled enclosures. Later, the courtyard gardens of ancient Greece influenced those of Classical Rome where small landscapes were created within courtyards with clipped and trained trees.

Rendering of the hanging gardens of Babylon

Hedges

Hedges have a long history and are closely intertwined with topiary. They first came into being as hedgerows that were the strips of woodland left as land was cleared for crops during the Bronze and Iron Ages 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. During the time of the Roman Empire in Europe, around 2,000 years ago, new hedges were planted as boundaries between fields and properties. These boundary hedges developed into the decorative, clipped hedging of formal gardens, mazes, knot gardens, parterres and topiary that were commonly shaped out of boxwood and a species of laurel.

There have been some famous hedges in history. Chateau Villandry, built in the 16th century in France, used hornbeam hedges along paths, to delineate spaces, and for its famous 1300+ foot-long maze. The chateau and its gardens have gone through many changes and updates since they were built in 1532, but in the early 20th century, the gardens were restored to the formal Renaissance style with hornbeam and box hedges in designs enclosing lawns, pools, and fountains.

The gardens at Chateau Villandry

During the Renaissance, Italian gardens used flowers extensively within geometric compartments of boxwood hedges or trimmed perennial herbs such as rosemary or lavender. Evergreen trees such as laurel, holly, and cypress were important for shade and contrasted with the ever-present statuary and stonework.

Italian-style garden

The gardens at the Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, were built in the mid-17th century. This was at the height of Dutch Baroque art, architecture, and gardens that was a period of wealth and cultural achievements. Symmetrical parterres, fountains, reflecting pools, and gravel walks surrounded the palace. Hedges were cut into complicated designs which often bordered or enclosed brightly colored flower gardens.

Het Loo Palace gardens

The famous Meikleour Beech Hedge near Stobehill Castle in Scotland was planted in 1745. In 2019, it measured 96 feet high and 1,740 feet long, and is still robust and beautiful.

Meikleour Beech Hedge

The Great Hedge of India was a hedge of commerce and had nothing to do with decoration. It was built by the British East India Company to force compliance with a salt tax between the eastern and western parts of India. The Great Hedge ran over 800 miles northwest to southeast, and was created out of thorny plant material such as Indian plum, Euphorbia, and prickly pear cactus to keep smugglers from accessing salt from either coast without paying tax.

Topiary

Topiary is the art of training perennial plants into geometric or fanciful shapes by repeated pruning.

It began in Rome where the usually plain atrium, or courtyard, was planted with a miniature landscape decorated with low hedges and clipped trees. The barbarian hordes that scourged the Roman Empire extinguished the interest in formal gardens, hedges, and topiary. They went out of style during the Middle Ages mainly for economic reasons, and only survived in the monasteries. Interest in formal gardens was revived during the Renaissance in Europe, and exquisite examples of topiary from that time are the gardens at the Versailles Palace in France, at Hampton Court in England, and at the Het Loo Palace in the Netherlands.

The spectacular gardens at the palace of Versailles took 40-50 years to build starting in 1661. They encompass nearly 2,000 acres of lawns, parterres, sculptures, fountains, pools, hedges, and the intricate art of topiary. There are 700 topiary hedges and trees trimmed into 60 shapes. Each shape is unique and is dictated by the branching pattern of the individual tree in cones, pyramids, layered forms, spires, and spheres — all created out of yew. At Versailles, the artistry of topiary has proudly been passed down from generation to generation of gardeners for over 300 years.

The gardens at Versailles

Hampton Court Palace near London was built to rival Versailles and is a good example of French influence on English gardens in the 17th century. During William and Mary’s reign (1689-1702), yew and box topiary became more popular. Hampton Court features formal geometric gardens with the famous hornbeam hedge maze, and topiary spires, pinnacles, and spheres of yew and box.

Hampton Court Palace gardens

The gardens at Het Loo palace in the Netherlands, built in the 17th century, are considered the Dutch Versailles and have beautiful examples of box topiary in cones, spires, spheres, and spirals.

The use of topiary in Europe declined in the 18th century because stonework statuary and walls were used more frequently than plants. It flourished in England and in the Netherlands, however, because plants grew well in that climate and stonework was more expensive. Gradually, the formal style was replaced in most of Europe, including England and the Netherlands, with a more natural landscape style of rolling lawns, ponds, and shade trees. Increasing world trade brought exotic and interesting flowers to Europe so that more flowers were used, mainly in cottage gardens and small towns.

Topiary, box hedges, and parterres in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 18th century, were fine examples of the Anglo-Dutch influence in Colonial America. Colonists remembered how their gardens looked during the reign of William and Mary and sought to copy them to lend a familiar and gracious atmosphere to their new home. This formal style denoted wealth, power, and refinement.

Boxwood hedges used in a Colonial Williamsburg landscape

The Belmont Estate near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was built in the 1870s with mazes, topiary, and statues reminiscent of the garden style of the 1600s, and reflected a resurgence of interest in formal gardens during the 19th century. In the 20th century, Disneyland and Disney World used populated their parks with magical Disney creatures in topiary designs.

Training Hedges and Topiary

Creating topiary takes patience, skill, and years of training the plants to achieve the desired effect. There are four basic methods of creating a topiary shape: freeform trimming, the stuffed wire form, container topiary, and the potted wire frame.

Freeform trimming is the method that has been used throughout gardening history, and the method that takes the most skill. Plants that are established but still young are trained by repeated clipping, and this early training is best left to seasoned experts. After the topiary has matured, the shape is easy to maintain by trimming it twice a year depending on how formal and manicured you want it to be.

Incredible free-form trimmed topiary garden

The stuffed wire method of topiary consists of a chicken wire frame filled with sphagnum moss to give the form structure, and a center of potting mix to anchor the plants and supply the nutrition. Young plants or cuttings are fed through the wire into the moss and mix, and watered well while becoming established. Pruning the plants close to the frame keeps the topiary form intact. A vine, such as miniature ivy, baby’s tears, or creeping fig will grow and cover the form.

Stuffed-wire topiary in the shape of a dolphin

Container topiary consists of potted trees that have been clipped into a lollipop or geometric shape atop a single trunk. Lavender, rosemary, box, and yew are popular plants for this style.

Boxwood cone topiaries in containers

The wire frame is method is for small, potted topiary, often used as decorative houseplants.  Vines such as English ivy can be trained to grow around the wire design.

Wire frame ivy topiary

Types of Plants for Hedges and Topiary

There are a number of hardy trees and shrubs that can be used as hedging and topiary. Non-flowering evergreen plants display a consistent appearance year-round for both topiary and hedges, but deciduous plants can work for hedges, too, depending on the property and owner. Here are some commonly used trees and shrubs for hedges and topiary.

 
Tree / Shrub Attributes
Arborvitae Dense sprays of foliage make it excellent for hedges, and can be trained as topiary
Beech A beautiful, deciduous dense hedge with autumn leaves that persist during the winter
Boxwood This is the classic, fine-textured shrub used for millennia in low, formal hedges It is excellent for shaping into freeform topiary
Dwarf Alberta Spruce Perfect for cone or pyramidal freeform topiary
English Ivy Attractive vine for stuffed wire or wire-frame topiary
Juniper Upright varieties of juniper make dense, effective hedges, and can be trained into topiary
Laurel Coarse-textured trees with large, shiny green leaves that make a dense hedge
Lavender Can be grown as container topiary, or as a low hedge in a formal garden
Privet Medium-textured shrub that is popular for hedges and topiary
Rosemary Can be grown as a container topiary, or as a low hedge in a formal garden
Yew Soft-textured, dense shrub that is a classic for hedges and topiary
SOURCE: coniferkingdom.com

At Conifer Kingdom, we offer many types of trees and shrubs that can be grown as beautiful hedges. Arborvitae, beech, boxwood, laurel, and yew, among others, are offered individually in sizes from small tree pots to a five-gallon size. Depending on the variety, these plants make handsome additions to large, small, formal, or informal garden plans. Our pre-grown MiniHedges of Green Mountain Boxwood, box honeysuckle, Hicks Yew and Little Simon Arborvitae are in units that are ready to plant. All of these would be perfect for a low hedge and would need trimming once or twice a year to keep them at the desired size. In addition to MiniHedges, we offer larger pre-grown hedge units from InstantHedge that are ready to plant. We offer both evergreen and deciduous options. Evergreen trees and shrubs: Hicks Yew, Green Giant Arborvitae, English laurel, Emerald Green (‘Smaragd’) Arborvitae, Portuguese laurel, Virescens Western Red Cedar, Teton Firethorn, and Wichita Blue Juniper. Deciduous trees and shrubs: European Beech, European Hornbeam, Flame Amur Maple, Royal Star Magnolia, Cornelian cherry, and Arrowwood Viburnum. Once planted, both MiniHedge and InstantHedge pre-grown units create a mature, continuous hedge in just one day. They completely eliminate the need to wait for them to grow into the desired height and shape.

Different Hedge Sizes

Conifer Kingdom also offers individual pre-trained Green Mountain Boxwood topiary trees to enhance your garden, patio, or entranceway. Design your dream garden with a beautiful starter package of sixteen Green Mountain Boxwood MiniHedge units and two boxwood topiary trees. With this package, you will be ready to create the beginnings of a cottage garden, the border for a vegetable garden, or a formal, or knot garden.

Conifer Kingdom’s Dream Garden Starter Package

There has been a long history of the use of hedges and topiary in garden styles that have trended and faded over the millennia. In this age, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers that can be used to design a garden to suit any location, property size, and taste. Hedges provide structure and boundaries for formal and informal properties alike, and topiary designs are creative punctuations that lend interest to any garden.

Conifers for Shade

Colbys’ Digs

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically
your own.
” -Bruce Lee


Although this quote references martial arts, I find it fitting for both our gardens, and the Conifer Society as a whole. Unfortunately, even if the principles are sound, they can be difficult to incorporate. Often it takes a level of experimentation to discover what is most useful, and indeed it can be intimidating to either amend or prune.
As a “society” it can be even more difficult to utilize this method, especially as making it “your own”, when “your own” is a group. I am just one person in a leadership role representing the region, but I hope to continue to facilitate these evolutionary steps. By the time this newsletter finds its way to your mailbox, either email or at the end of the driveway, you should have received the new Conifer Quarterly. The CQ is indeed our identity, and I am thrilled to finally see it incorporate a larger format, and hope you are as enthusiastic as I am! As Editor – Ron Elardo – has asked us, to please let him know your thoughts, or feel free to do so directly to me. I know for myself, working in such a visual medium as horticulture, I find the larger photos provide a much more illustrative effect and engage the reader to delve into the articles.
The membership survey also included in the current CQ issue, demonstrates the renewed focus on discovering what is most beneficial and of interest to you the member. The surveys help make us aware of our members’ expectations and wishes and will help us to continue to grow and endure as a successful plant society. Kindly take the time to fill out your survey and send it in..
We are very eager to try new things, especially as membership in plant societies continues to diminish. Adaptation is how we continue to progress.
With a new website that continues to evolve, and a membership directory in paper form, I hope that we can continue to enjoy this positive momentum. We have a number of fresh new folks on the National Board which I believe will in-spire and reenergize the society. We continue to compete with other sources
of information and entertainment, but I believe we are up to the challenge. Please contact me with your thoughts and suggestions in the year ahead, so that we will assure the Conifer Society continues to ‘stand tall’, all while making it your own.
The quote in the preface to this article relates to one of my favorite gardening activities- pruning. I am not much of a video gamer, but have stum-bled across a game for your phones, and iPads called Prune and I think you all should check it out. It is gorgeous, and how often does a game revolve around plants?

Prune is a love letter to trees. A game about the beauty and joy of cultivation.

With a swipe of a finger, grow and shape your tree into the sunlight while avoiding the dangers of a hostile world. Bring life to a forgotten landscape and uncover a story hidden deep beneath the soil.

Colby Feller,
Northeast regional President.

Hostas in the Conifer Garden, or is it Conifers in the Hosta Garden?
By Tom Micheletti

Whenever Chub Harper and I get together, the discussion usually turns to whether hostas make great companion plants to the conifer garden, or whether conifers make great companion plants for the hosta garden. Chub, being an avowed coniferite believes hostas are good companions to conifers, and I use conifers as accents to my hosta garden. I will concede however that in the bleak of winter when the hostas are dormant, the conifers do stand out in the garden. It is during the growing season that hostas come to the forefront with their lush, bold, brightly colored foliage. Few other hardy plants offer the boldness and range of colors as hosta do.
Natives of Japan, China, and Korea, hostas are hardy from USDA Zones 3 through 9. In their native habitat, they are found growing in a variety of conditions including lush forests, open meadows, rocky ledges and wetlands. They thrive in our gardens in full to part shade, and in humus-rich, moisture-retentive soil. Once established, however, they will tolerate drier growing conditions. With humus-rich soil and regular irrigation, there are cultivars that will tolerate almost full sun.
These primarily being the cultivars that have descended from the fragrant Chinese species, H. plantaginea, the ever-popular August lily from grandmother’s garden with exceptionally large, fragrant, white trumpet-shaped flowers. Cultivars such as H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’, the Hosta of the Year for 1998, H. ‘So Sweet’, Hosta of the Year for 1996, H. ‘Guacamole’, H. ‘Summer Fragrance’ and H.’ Emily Dickinson’ offer variegated leaves, fragrant flowers, and tolerance for the sun.
The foliage of hostas provides a colorful display in shades of green, blue, and yellow, and let’s not forget the colorful variegated patterns for which hostas are noted. Every color is represented, with the exception of red. And rest assured, hybridizers are working to introduce red into the leaves.
There are currently several cultivars with red leaf petioles and red flower scapes, such as H. ‘Regal Rhubarb’ and H. ‘Garnet Prince’, with their green leaves held upright displaying the dark red petioles. H.’ Cherry Berry’ has cream-colored, lanced-shaped leaves with a variable green margin and red petioles. It’s displayed on dark red scapes in late summer.
Hostas’ lush foliage is a perfect design complement to the smaller needles of the conifers. To provide the shade that hostas require for best performance, they could be planted on the north side of larger conifer specimens. A background of spruces, pines, firs, arborvitae, or yews would make an excellent backdrop for the bright variegation of the hostas. The white- margined cupped, puckered leaves of H. ‘Brim Cup’, or the wide white margins of H ‘ Patriot’- Hosta of the Year for 1997-would stand out intermixed with the above-mentioned conifers.
H. ‘Whirlwind, with its white-centered, dark green leaves that have the appearance that they are swirling around is another interesting cultivar.
The yellow-centered variegation pattern of H. ‘Paul’s Glory’, Hosta of the year for 1999, or the wide gold margins of H. Montana ‘Aureomarginata’ would glow
against the backdrop of dark green conifers such as spruces, firs, arborvitae, and yews. to add contrasting color, a gold hosta, such as H. ‘Zounds’. with its large brassy, puckered leaves of H. ‘Sun Power’, with large gold heart-shaped leave with wavy margins, could be planted on the north side of one of the bluer varieties of Picea pungens. Hostas are one of the few plant varieties with distinctly blue foliage.
This blue coloration is a waxy coating that covers the surface of the leaf. The leaf color is actually dark green underlying this waxy coating. On some hosta, cultivars, the wax fades as the season progresses. It can fade from sun exposure, overhead watering, or rubbing the leaves. Cultivars such as H. ‘Halcyon’, with heart-shaped leaves, H. ‘Winfield Blue’, with long pointed leaves, and H. ‘Hadspen Blue’ with round leaves, are a few cultivars that hold their color well into the season. Inter-planting conifers with hostas can add a bright spot of seasonal color to any garden. Even Chub has some nice specimens of hostas growing in his garden, some of these varieties are newer, more recently-released cultivars. Even a diehard coniferite can appreciate
the seasonal interest that hostas can provide.
About the Author: After 26 years of selling hostas at his business the ‘Hosta Patch’ Tom Micheletti has retired this year. His inventory has been sold to White Oak Nursery in Wash-burn Il.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of the ACS Quarterly Journal and is reprinted with his permission.

Conifers for the Southeast

Conifers are native to all the Earth’s continents except Antarctica, ranging from tropical environments to boreal forests. They make up a relatively small percentage of the worldwide plants, with only 8 families, 69 genera, and 630 species. Most of these conifers grow in cold climates, or on mountaintops in tropical areas. The southeastern United States, with its heat and humidity, isn’t hospitable to many of these trees, so conifers, in general, have gotten a “not for here” reputation. As a result, not many types are offered for sale and there isn’t much variety in southern gardens. But there can be! Interesting and beautiful conifers from all over the world exist that are adaptable to southern conditions. You just have to know what they are. Below is a list of conifers graded for how well they will do in the South, compiled from Landscaping with Confers and Ginkgo for the Southeast by Tom Cox and John M. Ruter, Growing Conifers, the Complete Gardening and Landscaping Guide by John J. Albers, and Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr.

Latin Name Common Name Hardiness Zones Grade Cox Albers Dirr
Abies alba European Silver Fir 5 to 8 B   X  
Abies balsamea Balsam Fir 3 to 6 D     X
Abies concolor White Fir 3 to 7 C     X
Abies firma Momi Fir 6 to 9 A X   X
Abies fraseri Fraser Fir 4 to 7 B     X
Abies homolepis Nikko Fir 4 to 6 B X    
Abies koreana Korean Fir 5 to 7 A X X  
Abies nordmanniana Nordmann Fir 4 to 6 B X X  
Abies pinsapo Spanish Fir 6 to 7 B   X X
Araucaria araucana Monkey Puzzle Tree 7 to 11 B X X X
Araucaria bidwillii Bunya-Bunya Pine 9 to 10 C X    
Calocedrus decurrens Incense-cedar 5 to 8 A X X X
Calocedrus formosana Taiwan Incense-cedar 8 to 9 A X X X
Calocedrus macrolepis Chinese Incense-cedar 9 to 10 A X X X
Cathaya argyrophylla Cathaya 5 to 7 B X    
Cedrus atlantica Atlas Cedar 6 to 9 A X X X
Cedrus deodara Deodar Cedar 7 to 9 A X X X
Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 6 to 8 A X X X
Cephalotaxus fortunei Fortune’s Plum Yew 7 to 9 A X   X
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Japanese Plum Yew 6 to 9 A X   X
Chamaecyparis obtusa Hinoki Cypress 5 to 8 A X X X
Chamaecyparis pisifera Sawara Cypress 4 to 8 B X X X
Chamaecyparis thyoides Atlantic White-cedar 3 to 8 B X X X
Cryptomeria japonica Japanese Cedar 5 to 9 A X X X
Cunninghamia konishii Taiwan Fir 7 to 9 A X    
Cunninghamia lanceolata China Fir 7 to 9 A X   X
Cunninghamia unicanaliculata Sichan China Fir 7 to 9 A X    
Cupressus arizonica Arizona Cypress 7 to 9 B X X X
Cupressus funebris Chinese Mourning Cypress 8 to 9 C X    
Cupressocyparis × leylandii Leyland Cypress 6 to 10 B X X X
Cupressus lusitanica Mexican Cypress 7 to 9 B X    
Cupressus nootkatensis Nootka Cypress 4 to 8 A X X  
Cupressus × notabilis Noble Cypress 7 to 9 A X    
Cupressus × ovensii Ovens Cypress 8 to 9 B X   X
Cupressus sempervirens Italian Cypress 7 to 10 A X X X
Fokienia hodginsii Fujian Cypress 8 to 9 B X    
Glyptostrobus pensilis Chinese Water Pine 7 to 11 B X    
Juniperus cedrus Canary Islands Juniper 7 to 10 A X    
Juniperus chinensis Chinese Juniper 4 to 9 A X X X
Juniperus communis Common Juniper 2 to 8 B X X X
Juniperus conferta Shore Juniper 6 to 9 A X   X
Juniperus davurica Dahurian Juniper 4 to 9 A X    
Juniperus deppeana Alligator Juniper 7 to 9 B X    
Juniperus formosana Formosan Juniper 7 to 10 B X    
Juniperus horizontalis Creeping Juniper 2 to 8 A X X X
Juniperus pingii Ping Juniper 7 to 8 B X    
Juniperus procumbens Japanese Garden Juniper 4 to 9 C X    
Juniperus rigida Temple Juniper 6 to 7 C X   X
Juniperus sabina Savin Juniper 3 to 7 D     X
Juniperus scopulorum Mountain Juniper 3 to 9 D   X X
Juniperus squamata Singleseed Juniper 4 to 8 D     X
Juniperus virginiana Eastern Red-Cedar 2 to 9 A X X X
Keteleeria davidiana Keteleeria 6 to 9 A X    
Keteleeria evelyniana Keteleeria 7 to 9 B X    
Larix decidua European Larch 3 to 6 D   X X
Laeix kaempferi Japanese Larch 4 to 7 C   X X
Larix laricina Tamarack 2 to 5 D     X
Metasequoia glyptostroboides Dawn Redwood 5 to 8 A X X X
Microbiota decussata Siberian Cypress 2 to 7 C X   X
Nagela nagi Nagi 8 to 10 C X   X
Picea abies Norway Spruce 2 to 7 B X X X
Picea alcoquiana Alcock Spruce 4 to 7 C X    
Picea brachytyla Sargent Spruce 3 to 7 C X    
Picea engelmannii Engelmann Spruce 3 to 7 C   X  
Picea glauca White Spruce 2 to 7 C   X  
Picea mariana Black Spruce 3 to 5 B   X  
Picea morrisonicola Taiwan Spruce 8 to 9 C X    
Picea omorika Serbian Spruce 4 to 7 A X X X
Picea orientalis Oriental Spruce 4 to 7 A X X X
Picea pungens Colorado Blue Spruce 2 to 7 B X X X
Picea smithiana Himalayan Spruce 7 to 8 B X    
Pinus banksiana Jack Pine 2 to 6 D   X X
Pinus bungeana Lacebark Pine 4 to 8 B X X X
Pinus cembra Swiss Stone Pine, Arolla Pine 3 to 7 D   X X
Pinus densiflora Japanese Red Pine 4 to 7 B X X  
Pinus echinata Shortleaf Pine 6 to 8 A X   X
Pinus elliottii Slash Pine 8 to 10 A X X X
Pinus flexilis Limber Pine 4 to 7 C X X X
Pinus glabra Spruce Pine 8 to 9 A X   X
Pinus heldreichii Bosnian Pine 4 to 8 A X X X
Pinus koraiensis Korean Pine 4 to 7 B X X X
Pinus mugo Mugo Pine 3 to 7 C X X X
Pinus nigra Austrian Pine 4 to 7 D X X X
Pinus palustris Longleaf Pine 7 to 9 A X   X
Pinus parviflora Japanese White Pine 4 to 7 A X X  
Pinus pseudostrobus False White Pine 8 to 11 A X    
Pinus pumila Dwarf Siberian Pine 3 to 6 D   X X
Pinus pungens Table Mountain Pine 5 to 7 C X    
Pinus resinosa Red Pine 3 to 7 D   X X
Pinus rigida Pitch Pine 4 to 7 D     X
Pinus strobus Eastern White Pine 3 to 8 B X X X
Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine 3 to 7 D X X X
Pinus taeda Loblolly Pine 6 to 9 A X X X
Pinus thunbergii Japanese Black Pine 5 to 8 A X X X
Pinus virginiana Virginia Pine 4 to 8 A X X X
Pinus wallichiana Himalayan White Pine 5 to 7 A X X X
Pinus yunnanensis Yunnan Pine 6 to 8 A X    
Platycladus orientalis Oriental Arborvitae 6 to 9 B X    
Podocarpus macrophyllus Yew Plum Pine, Buddhist Pine 7 to 11 A X X X
Pseudolarix amabilis Golden Larch 4 to 7 A X X X
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir 4 to 6 D X X X
Sciadopitys verticillata Japanese Umbrella Pine 5 to 8 A X X X
Sequoia sempervirens Coast Redwood 7 to 9 A X X X
Sequoiadendron giganteum Giant Sequoia 6 to 8 D X X X
Taiwania cryptomerioides Taiwan Cedar 8 to 10 A X   X
Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress 4 to 10 A X X X
Taxus baccata English Yew 3 to 8 C   X X
Taxus brevifolia Pacific Yew 4 to 9 D      
Taxus cuspidata Japanese Yew 4 to 9 A X X X
Taxus floridana Florida Yew 8 to 10 A X    
Taxus × media Anglojap Yew 4 to 7 A X   X
Taxus wallichiana Himalayan Yew 8 to 10 B X    
Thuja koraiensis Korean Yew 5 to 8 B X    
Thuja occidentalis American Arborvitae 2 to 7 B X X X
Thuja plicata Western Red-Cedar 5 to 8 B X    
Thujopsis dolobrata Hiba Arborvitae 5 to 7 B X X X
Torreya nucifera Japanese Nutmeg-yew 6 to 10 B X X  
Torreya taxifolia Florida Nutmeg-yew 8 to 9 B X   X
Tsuga canadensis Canada Hemlock 3 to 7 B X X X
Tsuga caroliniana Carolina Hemlock 4 to 7 B     X
Tsuga diversifolia Northern Japanese Hemlock 4 to 7 B X   X
Tsuga sieboldii Southern Japanese Hemlock 5 to 7 B X    
Wollemia nobilis Wollemi Pine 9 to 11 C X   X
SOURCE: ConiferKingdom.com

Abies firma  (Momi Fir) – This conifer is native to central and southern Japan and is used in construction and for building coffins. It does very well in the Southeast because it is more tolerant of the heat and humidity than most other firs. In its native habitat, it can grow to heights of 100’-150’ tall, but only will grow 40’-70’H × 30’-50’W in cultivation. It is broadly conical, and has fragrant, flat, two-ranked, dark green needles that are 1”-1.5” wide. The green seed cones sit upright on the branches and become yellowish-brown with age, and after they drop their scales, a central spike is left. Momi fir grows in full sun to partial shade with plenty of moisture in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9. It is a good tree for large properties and makes a good screen or windbreak.

Abies koreana  (Korean Fir) – This beautiful tree is native to the mountains of South Korea, and grows well in the cooler regions of the Southeast. It is broadly conical to pyramidal, with dimensions of 15’-30’H × 6’-12’W. Its shiny, dark green needles curl upward and show the silver underside. This trait is not as pronounced in the species as it is in the cultivars where the needles curl almost completely around the branches. The lavender-purple seed cones sit upright and turn to a coppery-brown when mature. Korean fir does well in full sun to partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 7, but does best in the South in zones 6 to 7. It is a good ornamental accent tree or windbreak.

Abies koreana ‘Aurea’ – This is a dwarf variety with short, rounded, golden-yellow needles and upright purple cones. When young, ‘Aurea’ is globose, but becomes pyramidal with age and after 10 years will grow to 3’H × 1.5’W. It is a striking specimen for small spaces or rock gardens.

Abies koreana ‘Cis’ – ‘Cis’ is a cute little dwarf variety that only grows to 16”H × 16”W in 10 years. It has flat, dark green needles and attractive reddish buds at the ends of the branches. This is a perfect tree for rock gardens, mixed borders, or urban gardens.

Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ – This small tree is a real show stopper with dark green needles that curve upwards to display their silver undersides and upright purple cones that contrast with the foliage. ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ grows in a compact, pyramidal form to 6’H × 3’W in 10 years and is an excellent accent or specimen tree.

Abies koreana ‘Kohout’s Ice Breaker’ – ‘Ice Breaker’ is another spectacular dwarf Korean fir. Its dark green needles curve tightly around the branches like springs and reveal the silver-white undersides. It grows slowly, becoming 2’H × 2’W in 10 years. ‘Kohout’s Ice Breaker’ was discovered as a witch’s broom on ‘Horstmann’s Silberlock’ in Germany.

Calocedrus decurrens  (California Incense-cedar) – These aromatic conifers are native to the mountains of the western United States and Mexico. They are not true cedars. Incense-cedars are in the cypress family as opposed to true cedars that are in the pine family. They are long-lived and slow-growing trees, and can grow to 150’ tall in the wild. In cultivation, they reach smaller dimensions, 30’-50’H × 8’-10’W. In their youth, they are columnar or narrowly pyramidal with branches down to the ground, but mature trees lose their lower branches. Their foliage is dark green, in flat, scale-like sprays, and yellowish-green seed cones hang down from the branches. The brown, open scales have been described as “duck bills.” Incense-cedars are well-adapted to the South, and grow well in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8, and do best in the South in zones 6 to 7. They prefer full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil, and are excellent as windbreaks or screens.

Calocedrus decurrens ‘Berrima Gold’ – This variety of the incense-cedar is golden-yellow in the spring and summer, but becomes orange-bronze in the cold of winter. It is loosely pyramidal in form and makes a colorful statement in the garden. ‘Berrima Gold’ will grow in sun or partial shade, but needs to be protected against intense sun to prevent scorch. It does best in zones 6 and 7 and grow to 6’H × 3’W in 10 years.

Cedrus atlantica  (Blue Atlas Cedar) – The stunning Atlas Cedar was named after the Atlas Mountains where it is native in northern Morocco and Algeria. It is one of the true cedars in the pine family and is well adapted to the hot, humid U.S. South. When young, it is loosely pyramidal, but with age it develops a spreading crown, and can reach dimensions of 30’H × 20’W. Its needles range in color from light blue-green to sea green to silvery-blue, and they are arranged on the branches in whorled tufts. The 3” long, purple seed cones sit upright on the branches. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, but does best in the South in zones 6 to 7 in full sun to partial shade, and is a superb specimen tree.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ – This is a truly spectacular cultivar of the Atlas cedar with powdery blue needles and an irregular, extremely pendant form. The central leader can be trained at various heights and angles as a specimen tree for a large property, but can also be trained as an espalier or ground cover. Its dimensions are roughly 3’-12’H × 3’-12’W.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Horstmann’ –‘Horstmann’ is a beautiful powder blue selection that is an excellent tree for those who want the look of the species, but small enough to be used in a limited space. It measures 6’H × 4’W in 10 years with an attractive, narrow, pyramidal form.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’ – This little cultivar is perfect for small spaces like a rock garden, border, or urban garden. It has light, powdery-blue needles that are shorter than the species, and it only grows to 1.5’H × 1.5’W in 10 years. It originated as a witch’s broom on Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ in North Carolina.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Silberspitz’ – Whitish-gold new growth on this variety contrasts with the blue-green foliage from previous years. In 10 years, it grows to 7.5’-12’H × 4.5’W and is narrowly pyramidal in shape. ‘Silberspitz’ is a striking addition to a property and is a beautiful accent or specimen tree.

Cedrus deodara(Himalayan or Deodar Cedar) – This cedar, native to the Himalayan Mountains, is a popular landscape tree in the South. It has a pyramidal shape with pendulous branches when young, maturing to a flat-topped, spreading form, distinctive of the cedars. Its gray-green needles sit in clusters atop short stems on the branches. The light green seed cones sit upright singly or in pairs. Himalayan cedar grows to sizes of 40’-50’H × 30’-40’W in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. It is best grown in full sun in well-draining soil, and is great as a specimen tree for a large property.

Cedrus deodara ‘Deep Cove’ – This is a narrow, pyramidal cultivar of C. deodara that puts on pure white new growth that contrasts with the blue-green needles from previous years. It is narrowly pyramidal in shape, and grows to 8’H × 2’W in 10 years. ‘Deep Cove’ makes a beautiful addition to any sized property as a specimen or accent tree.

Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’ – This is a prostrate shrubby form of the Himalayan cedar with bright blue needles and drooping branches. It grows 2’-4’H × 6’-10’W in 10 years and can be kept to a specific size with pruning. ‘Feelin’ Blue’ would do well as an addition to a rock garden, under a window, or cascading over a wall.

Cedrus deodara ‘Prostrate Beauty’ – This is a low-growing, spreading variety with beautiful light green-blue foliage in the spring that darkens to a bright blue. In 10 years, ‘Prostrate Beauty’ attains dimensions of 2.5’H × 4.5’W in a layered, shrubby form. It does well in a border, rock garden, as a foundation planting, or in an urban garden.

Cedrus libani  (Cedar of Lebanon)This tree is the national symbol of Lebanon and its image is part of the Lebanese flag. It is native to Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and areas around the Mediterranean. The Cedar of Lebanon is pyramidal when young with branches down to the ground, becoming flat-topped, tiered, and spreading with age, 40’-60’H × 40’-60’W. Its dark green needles grow in stiff tufts on the branches, and the upright purple seed cones turn to brown when mature and leave a spike behind after they shatter. The Lebanon cedar grows well in the South, in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. This is a majestic tree for a large landscape.

Cedrus libani ‘Blue Angel’ – ‘Blue Angel’ is an upright variety of Cedar of Lebanon, with long-needled, powder-blue foliage on pendant branches, and an irregular, open shape. It grows to 9’H × 3’W in 10 years.

Cedrus libani ‘Green Prince’ –This is a slow-growing, upright tree with dense foliage on stiff, openly layered branches. ‘Green Prince’ grows to 3’H × 1.5’W in 10 years and is a great candidate for bonsai or a small garden.

Cedrus libani ‘Hedgehog’ – This low-growing, mounding dwarf has long, deep blue needles with a dense, prickly appearance reminiscent of a hedgehog. It grows slowly, only to 0.5’- 2’H × 1.5’-3’W in 10 years, and would do well in a rock garden, a container, or an urban setting.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia  (Japanese Plum Yew) – This conifer does better in the heat and humidity of the South than the true Yews (Taxus). Plum Yew is a slow-growing shrub or small tree that is native to Japan, northeastern China, and Korea, and grows to 5’-10’H × 5’-10’W. It has 1.5” long, flat, dark green needles that attach in a V-shape on the branches, and 1” long edible fruits. It tolerates shade better than many conifers, and does well in partial shade to full shade in well-draining soil. Plum Yew grows in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9 and can be clipped into a hedge, as a foundation planting, or as a border shrub.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’ – This is an upright, columnar Plum yew with long, 2” dark green needles that attach all around the stem rather than attaching in the two-ranked pattern of the species. It is very slow growing and becomes 3’-5’H × 1.5’-3’W in 10 years. ‘Fastigiata’ makes a nice small hedge, screen, or container shrub, and prefers light shade rather than full sun. It is a male variety, so will not produce fruit.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Korean Gold’ – ‘Korean Gold’ is a similar, upright variety to ‘Fastigiata’, but the needles emerge as a yellow-gold color in the spring rather than green, and it grows to slightly smaller dimensions. ‘Korean Gold’ does best in partial shade.

Chamaecyparis obtusa  (Hinoki Cypress) – Hinoki cypress is native to Japan and Taiwan, and is an important timber tree there. In its native habitat it is a large pyramidal tree to 120’ tall, but in cultivation it grows 50’-75’H × 15’-25’W. Its foliage consists of horizontal, flat, dark green sprays of scale-like leaves that hang down at the ends of the branches. Small, brownish, female cones are attached among the foliage. Hinoki cypress is well adapted to the southern U.S. in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, although it also can grow farther north in zone 5. It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, and does best in well-draining soil. It is a beautiful specimen tree.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’ – This is a dwarf variety of the Hinoki cypress that is upright with thick, irregular branches, often at odd angles. It grows slowly and reaches 1.5’H × 1’W in 10 years. This shrub can be grown as a small hedge, or in a rock garden or small space.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Hage’ – This is a compact, dwarf Hinoki cypress with curved sprays of dark green, layered foliage on reddish-brown stems. It only grows to 1’H × 1.5’W in 10 years, so it is perfect for a rock garden, container, mixed border, foundation planting, or urban garden.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Melody’ – This is an upright dwarf variety with delicate, frilly, yellow-golden foliage gracefully hanging from each branch. It bronzes beautifully in the winter and does not burn in the summer sun. ‘Melody’ grows to 5’H × 2’W in 10 years and is a standout attraction in the landscape.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ – Pale yellow foliage at the ends of the branches contrasts beautifully with the dark green interior on this upright dwarf. Its closely overlapping sprays of curved foliage give it a sculpted appearance. ‘Nana Lutea’ grows slowly, attaining a pyramidal form and 4’H × 2’W in 10 years. It is a great choice for a specimen or accent tree.

Cryptomeria japonica  (Japanese Cedar) – This majestic tree is the national tree of Japan and is native to Japan and southern China where there is abundant rainfall. The southern U.S., with its heat and humidity, is a comfortable match for Japanese cedar. It is a tall, pyramidal conifer that is 50’-60’H × 20’-30’W. Its half-inch long, green, awl-shaped needles curve inward, and small brown cones develop on the ends of the slightly drooping branches. It prefers full sun to partial shade with plenty of moisture in well-draining soil. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, although it does best in the South in zones 6 to 8. Japanese cedar is a stately specimen tree, screen, or windbreak.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’ – ‘Black Dragon’ is a small tree with light green spring foliage that darkens to blackish green in the summer. It grows to 6’H × 4’W in 10 years in an irregular pyramid shape with branches that tip up at the ends. It is an interesting tree for an Asian-themed garden or the corner of a building.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Little Diamond’ – This dwarf Cryptomeria is a light green, mounding shrub with tight scales on slender branches that bend down at the tips. It grows slowly, and becomes 2’H × 3’W in 10 years. ‘Little Diamond’ can turn a beautiful bronze color in the winter.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Mushroom’ – This is a mounding shrub with juvenile, spiky foliage that gives it a fluffy, airy look. It is light green in the spring and turns a warm, reddish-brown in the winter. It grows to 7’H × 8’W in 10 years and makes an excellent accent shrub.    

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Spiralis’ – Bluish-green needles curve tightly around the branches giving this popular variety the nickname of “granny’s ringlets.” It is mounding when young, becoming upright and conical as it grows with a 10-year dimension of 9’H × 5’W. ‘Spiralis’ is an elegant tree with a soft appearance that can be grown as a specimen, screen, or windbreak.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tansu’ – ‘Tansu’ is a compact, irregular, pyramidal dwarf variety with dense, semi-juvenile foliage. It grows slowly, mounding at first, maturing to 3’-5’H × 2’-3’W in 10 years. The dark green foliage will take on a bronze color during the winter in full sun. This is a good tree for a small garden, container, or urban garden.

Cupressus nootkatensis , syn. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, Callitropsis nootkatensis, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (Nootka Cypress) – Nootka Cypress is native from the Pacific coast of Alaska south to northern California, and it also does very well in the South since it needs a lot of moisture. It is a graceful, pyramidal tree, with flat, gray-green sprays of scale-like foliage drooping down on long branches. The small, 1” green seed cones sit on top of the foliage and turn brown when mature. In its native habitat, the Nootka cypress can grow to 125’ tall, but in cultivation it usually attains dimensions of 40’-90’H × 14’-25’W. It grows in full sun to partial shade in moist, but well-draining soil, and its USDA hardiness zones are 4 to 9, and in zones 6 to 7 in the South. Nootka cypress makes an elegant, graceful specimen or accent tree.

Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Gloria Polonica’ – This is a beautiful weeping cultivar from Poland. Its foliage color is a combination of medium green splashed with creamy yellow in about a 50:50 ratio. It grows slowly, and in ten years reaches 7’-10’H × 3’-5’W. ‘Gloria Polonica’ is a bright accent for a small or narrow space.

Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’ – Bluish gray-green foliage hangs down like curtains from the weeping branches that grow close to the trunk. This striking tree is aptly named for its tall, narrowly pyramidal form. It will grow to 18’H × 2’W in 10 years, and is perfect as an accent.

Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Sparkling Arrow’ – This is a variegated selection of ‘Green Arrow’ that displays splashes of creamy yellow on its dark green foliage. It is weeping like ‘Green Arrow’, and grows to 10’-12’H × 1.5’-3’W in 10 years. Its form and foliage make it a bright specimen or accent tree.

Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Glauca Pendula’ – This graceful Nootka cypress has sprays of blue-green pendant foliage that hang down from horizontal branches that droop at their tips. It can grow 12’-15’H × 3’-6’W in 10 years, and it is an elegant specimen or accent tree.

Cupressus sempervirens (Italian Cypress) – This is the classic, columnar tree of formal southern Mediterranean gardens and of Renaissance literature and art. It is well-suited to southern gardens, in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 (7 to 8 in the South), especially along the coast because of its need for a warm climate and its salt tolerance. Italian cypress has gray-green scale-like foliage on upright branches and 1.5” brown seed cones. It grows 40’ to 70’H × 10’-20’W, and does best in full sun, in moderate, well-draining soil. This elegant tree is perfect for a formal garden, against a building, or in a line along a border or drive.

Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ – This pencil-thin, dark green Italian cypress is narrower than the species and grows at a fast rate to 20’H × 1’-1.5’W in 10 years. It is an effective border tree or windbreak, or as an accent in a formal garden.

Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swane’s Golden’ – ‘Swane’s Golden’ is a golden-yellow selection of ‘Stricta’. It is very narrow, measuring 10’-15’H × 1-2’W in 10 years, and makes a bright, vertical accent in the landscape.

Juniperus chinensis (Chinese Juniper) – This beautiful tree is native to China, Mongolia, the Himalayas, and Japan. It is dioecious, meaning there are both male and female trees, with catkin-like pollen cones on the male, and bluish-white seed cones on the female. It grows to a 40’-50’H × 15’-20’W conical form, although there are a number of cultivars of different shapes and sizes. The Chinese juniper has two types of foliage, juvenile and adult. The juvenile leaves are awl-shaped and the adult leaves are sprays of scale-like foliage. It prefers full sun, but will acclimate to light shade, and its soil must be well-draining. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9, and does best in zones 6 to 8 in the South. Its landscape use depends on the size and shape of this versatile plant, whether it is a ground cover, dwarf, shrub, or tree.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Angelica Blue’ – This is a low-growing juniper with wide-spreading branches of fine-textured, blue-gray foliage. It is slow growing and attains dimensions of 2’H × 3’W in 10 years. ‘Angelica Blue’ makes a stunning foundation plant or mass planting on a hillside for erosion control.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Daub’s Frosted’ – ‘Daub’s Frosted’ is a low-growing, compact variety with a beautiful two-tone color. Golden-yellow new growth frosts the outside of the shrub, contrasting with the blue-green mature foliage inside. It grows to 1’H × 4’W in 10 years and stands out against a backdrop of dark green evergreens.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Golden Glow’ – This is a compact, low-growing variety with bright yellow foliage that retains its color all year round. ‘Golden Glow’ will grow to 2’-3’W × 3’-4’W at maturity and makes an excellent foundation plant or a bright accent in a bed or urban garden.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Sea Green’ – ‘Sea Green’ is a compact juniper that grows upright then spreads outward like a jade green fountain. It grows to 2’H × 3’W in 10 years, becoming 4’-6’H × 6’-8’W at maturity. It is beautiful in mass planting or as a hedge.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’ – ‘Spartan’ is an upright, narrowly pyramidal cultivar with dark green foliage. It grows to 15’H × 3’-5’W in 10 years at an average rate., and is an elegant specimen tree, windbreak, border tree, or in a row along a driveway.

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping Juniper) – This creeping shrub is native to Canada and the northern United States, but due to its adaptability it does well in the southern states as well. Creeping juniper is dioecious, with male and female plants. It sometimes grows both blue-green adult and juvenile foliage at the same time, and the seed cones are fleshy and dark blue. It only grows to 18”high, but can spread up to 10’ if left untrimmed. It prefers full sun, and average, well-draining soils in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 8 (6 to 8 in the South). Creeping juniper is perfect for a ground cover, foundation planting, a rock garden, over a wall, and to prevent erosion.

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Forest’ – ‘Blue Forest’ juniper is a low-growing, spreading shrub with short, upright branches that look like a miniature forest. Its foliage is lavender in the winter, changing to blue in the spring, and it grows slowly to 0.75’-1’H × 3’-4’W. ‘Blue Forest’ makes a great ground cover or foundation planting.

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Glacier’ – The blue-green needles of this low-growing juniper are tightly pressed to the short branches giving it a ropy look. In winter, the cold turns the foliage a beautiful silvery blue. It only grows to 5”H × 40”W in 10 years and is excellent as a ground cover, a mass planting, or foundation planting.

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Pancake’ – This is the flattest growing of the creeping junipers, becoming 3”H × 32”W in 10 years. It is blue-green with branches that spread in all directions and root at intervals. It makes a perfect ground cover or cascade over a stone wall.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides  (Dawn Redwood) – Dawn Redwood is a living fossil that is known to have grown in the China and North America 50,000,000 years ago. It was thought to be extinct until it was found growing in the Szechuan Province of China in the early 1940s. Its natural habitat is similar to that of the U.S. South, and it has become a popular ornamental tree. It is deciduous, with soft, opposite 0.5”-1.5” needles that emerge light green in the spring, deepen to a rich green in the summer, and turn to a reddish-brown in the fall. Globose, 1” round seed cones hang from the branches on 3”-4” stalks. Metasequoia and grows to 70’-120’H × 15’-25’W, with a distinctive pyramidal shape, and becomes buttressed at its base with age. It grows in full sun to light shade in moist, rich, well-draining soil, and is hardy to USDA zones 5 to 8 (6 to 8 in the South). This is a spectacular accent tree for large properties, parks, and open areas.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Hamlet’s Broom’ – This is a dwarf selection with a compact, pyramidal shape. Its soft needles change from a buttery white color in the spring to light green in the summer, and then a red-brown in the fall. It only grows 3”-6” a year, so its 10-year size is 4’-6’H × 2’-4’W. Truly a magnificent accent tree for a small garden.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Miss Grace’This pendulous variety features gracefully weeping branches with soft gray-green foliage that turns yellow and orange in the fall. It is broadly pyramidal and relaxed in shape, but can form a more upright and narrower pyramid when staked. It grows at a moderate rate and can attain 8’H × 3’W in 10 years. ‘Miss Grace’ is a beautiful accent tree for a small or urban property.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Matthaei Broom’ – This is a slow-growing selection with soft green foliage that has a hint of yellow. It is broadly pyramidal, and grows to 5’H × 3’W in 10 years, perfect to brighten a corner of the garden.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Schirrmann’s Nordlicht’ (‘Northlight’) – This little beauty is a globose, dwarf dawn redwood with creamy yellow foliage. It grows to 3’H × 3’W in 10 years and takes nicely to pruning. It would do well in a rock garden, building entrance, or small, urban garden where there is partial shade since it tends to burn in harsh sun. ‘Schirrmann’s Nordlicht’ is also sold under the name of ‘Northlight’.

Picea omorika  (Serbian Spruce) This conifer is native to Serbia and Bosnia, andis excellently adapted to the South. It is an attractive tree, with green on the top side of its 1.5” needles, and silver underneath. It is narrowly pyramidal with a straight trunk, and grows 40’-60’H × 15’-20’W. Its purple 2” long cones hang down from the branches and mature to brown. Serbian spruce grows in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-draining soils, and is hardy to USDA zones 4 to 7 (6 to 7 in the South). It is an attractive tree as an accent, or in groups.

Picea omorika ‘Aurea’ – ‘Aurea’ is an elegant spruce in form and color. It is uniformly pyramidal with drooping branches that tip up at the ends, and the ornamental needles are blue and green with a golden shine. It grows 5’-10’H × 2’-4’W in 10 years and is stunning as an accent tree or in a grouping.

Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ – This narrow tree features pendant branches that hang down close to the trunk giving it a columnar shape, with its needles shimmering green and silver in the sunlight. ‘Pendula Bruns’ grows to 7’H × 2’W in 10 years and is a perfect specimen for a narrow space.

Picea omorika ‘Peve Tijn’ – This colorful dwarf starts out as a small globose tree, eventually developing a wide, conical shape. Its green and blue needles ae yellow on the top as an added bonus. ‘Peve Tijn’ grows slowly and reaches 3.5’H × 2’W in 10 years. It is a beautiful rock garden plant, or in a multi-layered bed, a foundation planting, or urban garden.

Picea omorika ‘Pimoko’ – This is a dense, bun-shaped tree with short blue-green needles that shine silver on the undersides. It grows extremely slowly and only reaches 1’H × 2’W in 10 years. ‘Pimoko’ makes a bright addition to a rock garden, foundation planting, along a walkway, or in an urban garden.

Picea orientalis  (Oriental or Caucasian Spruce) Native to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Turkey, this beautiful tree does well in the northern areas of the South. Oriental spruce has densely compact branches, a narrow, pyramidal shape, and grows 50’-60’H × 15’-20’W. Its short, dark green needles are attached around the stem, and the 2”-4” long seed cones hang down from the branches. They start out as purple when young, and mature to a brown color. Oriental spruce grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 7 (6 to 7 or 8 in the South). in full sun and soil with excellent drainage. It is pleasing accent or specimen tree, or privacy screen.

Picea orientalis ‘Ferny Creek Prostrate’ – This is a dwarf selection with dark green needles and a layered, mounding form that becomes flat and spreading as it grows. In 10 years it expands to 2’H × 4’W. It does well in a rock garden or a small space.

Picea orientalis ‘Silver Seedling’ – ‘Silver Seedling’ is a beautiful two-toned spruce with a silver glaze on the green needles. The new silver-white shoots are delicate and will burn in the sun, so afternoon shade is a must for this tree. It grows slowly when young, and reaches 4’H × 2’W in 10 years and will grow more quickly as it ages. ‘Silver Seedling’ will brighten a shady corner of the garden or a woodland setting.

Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ – This is a pyramidal tree with gracefully symmetrical branches that tip up at the ends. Yellow-gold young exterior foliage is brighter in the sun and contrasts with the lime green older needles and reddish-purple cones. ‘Skylands’ grows to 7’H × 3’W in 10 years and is appealing as an accent or specimen tree.

Picea orientalis ‘Tom Thumb Gold’ – This compact miniature starts out as a round, flat cushion and matures to a conical mound. The new foliage is yellow but will burn with hot afternoon sun. “Tom Thumb Gold’ grows extremely slowly, at about 1” a year, and becomes 10”H × 12”W in 10 years. This is a perfect specimen for a rock garden, or any small, slightly shaded space.

Picea orientalis ‘Wittboldt’ (‘Golden Start’) – New foliage emerges as light golden-green in the spring on this dwarf spruce and darkens to green as the season wears on, although the needles can maintain some golden highlights in the sun. This tree is pyramidal in shape and grows slowly, becoming 4’H × 3’W in 10 years. It makes an excellent addition to a small garden or urban setting.  

Pinus heldreichii  (Bosnian Pine) – Bosnian pine is native to mountainous locations in Greece, Italy, and the Balkans, and should adapt well to the warmer areas of the Southeast U.S. Its 3”-4” long sharp, stiff, dark green needles sit on ascending branches, and the 2”-3” long purple seed cones mature to brown. Bosnian pine grows 50’-70’H × 20’-40’W in a broad, pyramidal form. It does best in full sun in moist, well-draining soil, and in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8, and 6 to 8 in the South. It is a beautiful accent or specimen tree, in mass plantings, or as a screen or barrier.

Pinus heldreichii ‘Bosnian Sunrise’ – This dwarf cultivar is pyramidal, with creamy yellow new growth at the tips of the branches that contrasts with the dark green older needles. It grows to 2.5’H × 2’W in 10 years and is a pleasing accent or specimen tree.

Pinus heldreichii ‘Irish Bells’ – ‘Irish Bells’ is a compact, broadly pyramidal pine with dark green needles, almost as wide as it is tall. In 10 years it grows to 3’H × 2.5’W and is a beautiful accent tree.

Pinus heldreichii ‘Satellit’ – This is a narrowly conical pine that develops a columnar shape with age. Long, dark green needles grow densely on stiff ascending branches, ‘Satellit’ grows at an intermediate rate and becomes 8’H × 3’W in 10 years. It makes an attractive screen or windbreak tree.

Pinus heldreichii ‘Smidtii’ – This miniature Bosnian pine is a tiny round globe when young, developing a slightly conical shape as it matures, with its bright green branches turning up at the ends. ‘Smidtii’ grows extremely slowly to 1’H × 1’W in 10 years. This is a perfect little tree for a rock garden or very small space.

Pinus parviflora  (Japanese White Pine) – This pine is native to Japan and grows happily in the cooler areas of the South. It is broadly columnar to pyramidal in youth, becoming flat-topped and spreading with age. The twisted needles are 1”-3” long, and the blue to blue-green needle color in the species is most often seen rather than green. The 2”-3” brown cones hang down from the branches and remain on the tree for up to 7 years. Japanese white pine grows 20’-40’H × 20’-50W. It does best in full sun and well-draining soils, and is hardy to USDA zones 4 to 7 (6 to 7 in the South). This is a great accent tree, and is also good as a screen or border, and in bonsai.

Pinus parviflora ‘Aoi’ – This is a dwarf selection of Japanese White pine. It is pyramidal in shape, and its blue-green needles appear as clusters on the upright branches. ‘Aoi’ grows to 4’H × 2’W in 10 years and is a beautiful specimen tree.

Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’ – This pine starts out as a small, globose mound, opening up with age to an irregular pyramidal or windswept shape. In 10 years it grows very slowly to 2’H × 3’W. ‘Catherine Elizabeth’ is an excellent for a rock garden or an Asian-themed landscape.

Pinus parviflora ‘Fukai’ – ‘Fukai’ is a broadly pyramidal dwarf with unique yellow banding of the new spring growth on upturned branch tips. The needles turn to green in the fall, then lighten to golden in the winter cold. It grows 5’H × 3’W in 10 years and is an excellent specimen for a small space.

Pinus parviflora ‘Gyoko Sho Hime’ – The 3” needles on this dwarf Japanese pine have a twist to them so they show off both their blue-green and silver sides. They grow on short, upturned branches which gives the tree a tufted look. ‘Gyoko Sho Hime’ grows into an irregular pyramid at 6”-9” per year and becomes 7’H × 4’W in 10 years. It is an interesting specimen tree that is also good as a windbreak.

Pinus parviflora ‘Jim’s Mini Curls’ – This tiny tree has short, curled, blue-green needles that twist in every direction. It becomes pyramidal in shape and attains a 12”H × 10”W size in 10 years, making it perfect for bonsai, a rock garden, or any small space.

Pinus parviflora ‘Negishi’ – This is an intermediate sized, pyramidal Japanese white pine with twisted, silvery, gray-green needles that sit on short, dense branches. It grows to 6’H × 3’W in 10 years and is often used for bonsai, but can make an effective border or windbreak tree.

Pinus parviflora ‘Ogon-janome’ – ‘Ogon-janome’ is a show-stopper with unique yellow banding on its needles interspersed with blue-green. It is pyramidal in shape and grows to 8’H × 3’W in 10 years. This is an unusual and beautiful tree that would do well as a specimen or accent tree in any garden.

Pinus parviflora ‘Regenhold Broom’ (Ron’s Broom) – This miniature pine was found as a witch’s broom on P. parviflora ‘Glauca’ by Ron Regenhold. It is globose in form and has blue-green needles and yellow candles in the spring. It grows to 1’H × 1.5’W in 10 years making it a great addition to a rock garden or small space such as an urban garden.

Pinus parviflora ‘Ron’s Broom’ (‘Regenhold Broom’) – This miniature pine was found as a witch’s broom on P. parviflora ‘Glauca’ by Ron Regenhold. It is globose in form and has blue-green needles and yellow candles in the spring. It grows to 1’H × 1.5’W in 10 years making it a great addition to a rock garden or small space such as an urban garden or as a foundation planting.

Pinus parviflora ‘Tanima-no-yuki’ – White needles emerge from pink candles in the spring contrasting with the blue-green mature foliage, making this a colorful little pine. It grows slowly, and becomes a small, globose shrub that measures 3’H × 1.5W in 10 years. Grow it in a rock garden, as a foundation planting, or along a walkway where its tricolored foliage can be appreciated. 

Pinus thunbergii  (Japanese Black Pine) – Native to the warm coasts of Japan and South Korea, this conifer takes very well to the heat and humidity of the South and does well planted near the coast. It is flat-topped and irregularly shaped, growing 20’-60’H × 12’-20’W. The dark green needles are 3”-5” long and upright silky white candles develop at the ends of the branches every year, making an interesting contrast. The brown cones are either single or in groups on a shoot. It does best in full sun in well-draining soil, and is suited for USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8, and zones 6 and 7 in the South. Japanese Black Pine is a good accent tree, in borders, or trained as a bonsai.

Pinus virginiana  (Virginia Pine) – This tree is native to the eastern regions of the US, including the South. It has an unkempt, irregular form, 15’-40’H × 10’-30’W, with twisted, dark green needles and brown seed cones that can persist for years. Virginia pine grows best in full sun, in moist, well-draining soil, and in USDA hardiness zones from 4 to 8 (6 to 8 in the South). It does well as a landscape accent.

Pinus virginiana ‘Driscoll’ – ‘Driscoll’ is a dwarf, globose cultivar with bright green needles that is an excellent shrub for the South. It is dense, compact, and grows slowly to 16’H × 24”W in 10 years. It is perfect for a rock garden, and Asian garden, or any small garden location.

Pinus virginiana ‘Wate’s Golden’ – This Virginia pine has light green needles that turn a golden yellow in the fall and winter. It grows to an irregular pyramidal shape at an intermediate rate and reaches 8’-10’H × 3’-4’W in 10 years. Its bright color makes for an outstanding accent or specimen tree.

Pinus wallichiana  (Himalayan Pine) – This graceful pine is native to the Himalayan valleys at 6,000 to 12,000 feet, and does surprisingly well in the southern U.S. It is broadly pyramidal, and retains its lower branches with age, unlike many conifers. Its 8” long needles stand upright when young and droop with age, giving the tree a soft, elegant appearance. Green cones 6”-10” long hang down on stalks and turn brown as they mature. Himalayan pine prefers full sun, but will adapt to light shade, and grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 7 in well-draining soil. It has even done well in zone 8 in Georgia. This 30’-50’H × 20’-35’W tree is beautiful as a specimen, accent, or as a border.

Pinus × schwerinii ‘Wiethorst’ – This is a dwarf selection of the hybrid between Pinus strobus and P. wallichiana. Its long, slender, blue-green needles hang down in tufts on the branches, giving the tree a soft appearance, and the extra-long, resinous cones add interest. ‘Wiehorst’ is pyramidal, and grows to 5’H × 3’W in 10 years and does well as an accent, specimen, or as a border tree.

Pinus wallichiana ‘Zebrina’ – This is an open, upright, loosely pyramidal selection of Himalayan pine with long, thin, light green needles striped with yellow  ‘Zebrina’ grows at a moderate rate, up to 7’H × 4’W in 10 years.  This is a specimen tree — truly a collector’s find.

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine) – This unusual and beautiful tree in native to Japan, and grows in USDA zones 5 to 8, although in the South, it is best growing in zones 6 to 7.  It is very slow growing, and develops an attractive, symmetrical conical shape, 30’-40’H × 10’-20’W at maturity. Its long, 2”-5” whorled needles resemble open umbrella ribs, giving the tree a soft, luxuriant texture. Oval, green cones sit upright on the stems and ripen to brown the second year. Umbrella pine is not a true pine, but is a living fossil in its own family, Sciadopityaceae. It grow well in slightly acidic, moist, well-draining soil in full sun, and would be grateful for some afternoon shade. This tree is a collector’s delight and is perfect for small gardens, borders, and containers.

Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Joe Kozey’ – This is a narrow, conical selection of umbrella pine with sturdy, upright branches and the distinctive whorls of bright green needles. It grows slowly, up to 12’H × 5’W in 10 years, and is an excellent specimen or accent tree.

Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Moonlight’ – ‘Moonlight’ glows with whorls of light yellowish-green needles that hold their color all year round. This pyramidal umbrella pine grows to 9’H × 4’W in 10 years and will brighten up any garden as a specimen tree.

Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Picola’ – This is a dwarf cultivar with the darkest green foliage of the umbrella pines. It is broadly conical with short needles and a compact, dense habit. ‘Picola’ grows very slowly and becomes 30”H × 15”W in 10 years. It is a great choice for a large container, patio, or along a walkway.

Taxodium distichum  (Bald Cypress) – This conifer is a common sight in swamps, bayous, and rivers in the southern United States where it is native. It is related to the evergreen redwoods, but is deciduous, hence the name “bald.” It is pyramidal, 50’H × 20’-45’W, with soft, 0.5”, yellow-green needles that are flat and two-ranked, and that turn to an orange brown in the fall. The 1” cones are purple and mature to brown. Trees growing in standing water will often develop woody “knees” from the roots that protrude above the surface of the water to give extra support to the tree. Bald cypress will grow in a variety of soils, from well-draining, slightly moist soil to standing water, in full sun or partial shade, and in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9 (6 to 9 in the South). It is an outstanding specimen for a large property.

Taxodium distichum ‘Gee Wiz’ – This dwarf was discovered as a witch’s broom at Michigan State University. It is globose to mounding with the soft, yellow-green, feathery foliage of the species that turns a reddish-grown before falling in the autumn. In 10 years, it will be 3.5’H × 4’W and will grow well in a rock garden or in a wet area such as near a pond.

Taxodium distichum ‘Peve Minaret’ – This is a dense, pyramidal dwarf with soft, rich green, deciduous foliage that turns to reddish brown in the fall. In 10 years it slowly reaches 6’H × 2’-3’’W and is effective in an informal grouping, at the corner of a building, or in a low, wet area.

Taxodium distichum ‘Twisted Logic’ – This is a dwarf bald cypress with a pyramidal form that reveals twisted branches after the deciduous needles drop. It grows to 7’H × 4’W in 10 years and has year-round appeal with its soft light green needles that turn reddish-brown in the fall, and then display the twisted, bare skeleton of the tree in the winter.

Taxus × media  (Anglojap Yew) This evergreen is a hybrid between the English Yew (Taxus baccata) and the Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata) with the best characteristics of both. It is hardy to the USDA zones 4 to 7, but does best in the South in zones 6 to 7. Depending on the cultivar, its dimensions can be 2’-20’H × 2’-12’W. It has dark green, two-ranked, flat needles, and seeds that are encased in a red, fleshy aril. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested. The Anglojap Yew grows in full sun, but is well-adapted to shade. It prefers moist soil that must be well-draining since it will not tolerate wet feet. Depending on the size of the cultivar, this shrub can be grown as a foundation planting, or as a hedge or screen.

Taxus × media ‘Beanpole’ – This is an upright, columnar selection of the Anglojap yew with close-growing ascending branches. It displays the shiny, dark green needles of the species and the ornamental red arils. ‘Beanpole’ grows to 6’H × 2’W in 10 years and can be used in a row along a driveway, or as a border or in a foundation grouping,

Taxus × media ‘Hicksii’ – This is a compact, very narrow, columnar variety with separate male and female plants. The female yews display the bright red arils that contrast with the dark green foliage. ‘Hicksii’ is often seen as a dense hedge with close-set, dense branching that takes well to pruning. Without pruning, it grows to 8’H × 2’W.

Taxus × media ‘Maureen’ – ‘Maureen’ is a narrow, columnar, dwarf yew with ascending branches and dark green foliage. It grows slowly to 6’H × 1.5’W in 10 years and would be a great vertical accent, screen, against a corner of a building, or in an urban garden. 

Taxus × media ‘Sentinalis’ – This is a dense, columnar form of the Anglojap yew with dark green foliage and red arils. It has tight, upright branches and is a stunning vertical accent, tall hedge, or border shrub. After 10 years it grows to 5’-10’H × 1’-2’W.

Interesting Varieties of True Cedars

True cedars are ancient trees with thousands of years of history, mythology, and cultural significance surrounding them. Through the centuries, they have been used for construction, furniture, essential oils, medicines, and as dramatic landscape trees.

There are four species of cedar: Cedrus atlantica (Atlas cedar), Cedrus brevifolia, synonym C. libani var. brevifolia (Cyprus or Cypriot cedar), Cedrus deodara (Deodar or Himalayan cedar), and Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon). The Deodar cedar is native to the Himalayas, while the Cypriot cedar is native to the mountains of central Cypress. The Atlas cedar is native to the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa, and the famous Cedar of Lebanon comes from the mountains around the eastern Mediterranean.

The Cedar of Lebanon (C. libani) is now considered to be a vulnerable species after what it has endured through the millennia. Its native land was conquered repeatedly and its forests endured massive logging efforts for each succeeding civilization. It was significant in the economies of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, ancient Egypt, and the empires of ancient Greece and Rome. The mountains were deforested for the cedar lumber that was used to build temples, boats, and palaces. Cedars of Lebanon were part of the mythology of the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, and were mentioned several times in the Old Testament of the Bible. The First Temple of Solomon was supposed to have been constructed of the Cedar of Lebanon wood. Deodar, or Himalayan cedars are aromatic, pest resistant with antifungal properties, and have been used for timber since ancient times. The beautiful Atlas cedars are now considered to be endangered, and are used mostly as ornamental trees. The Cypriot cedars are considered by some botanists to be smaller versions of the Cedar of Lebanon, but others designate them as a full species on their own. Some feel that this disagreement over the identity of this tree is why it’s been so long overlooked as a landscape plant.

These four species are the true cedars, not to be confused with the false cedars, red cedars, and white cedars that are members of the Cypress family. True cedars are members of the Pine family and have short bursts of needles in whorls, and barrel-shaped, upright cones rather than the scaly foliage and woody, leathery, or berry-like cones of the Cypress family.

A number of colorful varieties of true cedars have been developed that are used ornamentally. Below are some unusual examples of these magnificent trees.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Sahara Ice’

Cedrus atlantica Sahara Ice Atlas cedar evergreen conifer blue white dwarf pyramidal
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sahara Ice’

This beautiful Atlas cedar has white spring foliage which changes to blue with white variegations in the summer. It is a dwarf, growing 3” to 5” a year, and becoming a small, 5’H × 3’W, pyramidal tree in 10 years. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9 in the full sun. ‘Sahara Ice’ is a slow-growing Atlas cedar that would be a standout accent in a small garden, rock garden, or urban garden.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’

Cedrus atlantica Sapphire Nymph Atlas cedar evergreen conifer blue prostrate miniature
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’
Cedrus atlantica Sapphire Nymph Atlas cedar evergreen conifer blue prostrate miniature
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’
Cedrus atlantica Sapphire Nymph Atlas cedar evergreen conifer blue prostrate miniature
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’

This low, spreading cedar is a dazzling light blue color with tiny needles. It’s considered a slow-growing miniature, growing 1” to 3” per year, and only reaching 1.5H × 1.5W in 10 years. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and prefers full sun. ‘Sapphire Nymph’ originated from a witch’s broom in a North Carolina nursery in the 1990s. It would be excellent for borders, rock gardens, and urban gardens. Contrasting dark green companions such as rhododendrons or hollies would enhance its visual appeal.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Silberspitz’

Cedrus atlantica Silberspitz Atlas cedar evergreen conifer silver blue green needles
Cedrus atlantica ‘Silberspitz’
Cedrus atlantica Silberspitz Atlas cedar evergreen conifer silver blue green needles
Cedrus atlantica ‘Silberspitz’
Cedrus atlantica Silberspitz Atlas cedar evergreen conifer silver blue green needles
Cedrus atlantica ‘Silberspitz’

Silver tip or silver point in German, ‘Silberspitz’ has a deep blue-green inner foliage with whitish-silver tips of new growth. In fall, the year’s growth takes on a yellowish-gold hue that lasts through the winter. It has an upright, pyramidal stature, grows 6” to 12” per year, and in 10 years it can attain a height of 12’H × 4’W. This Atlas cedar grows best in full sun and in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9. Its color, medium height, and classic shape make it a perfect accent tree for the landscape. ‘Silberspitz’ was a selection from a nursery in Germany in the 1990s.

Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’
(syn. C. libani var. brevifolia ‘Kenwith’)

Cedrus brevifolia Kenwith Cyprus Cypriot cedar evergreen conifer gray green needles miniature irregular form
Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’ (syn. C. libani var. brevifolia ‘Kenwith’)
Cedrus brevifolia Kenwith Cyprus Cypriot cedar evergreen conifer gray green needles miniature irregular form
Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’ (syn. C. libani var. brevifolia ‘Kenwith’)

This variety of the Cypriot cedar is a tiny, upright tree that is very slow growing and perfect for containers, bonsai, rock gardens, or small, urban gardens. Along with its miniature size, ‘Kenwith’ has very short, gray-green needles, and an interesting, irregular form. It grows 1” to 2” a year, topping out at 12”-18”H × 6”W in 10 years, and grows happily in full sun in USDA zones 6 to 8. Whether it’s called Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’ or C. libani var. brevifolia ‘Kenwith’, this miniature variety of Cypriot cedar is a prize.

Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’

Cedrus deodara Feelin' Blue Deodar Himalayan cedar evergreen conifer blue needles weeping
Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’

‘Feelin’ Blue’ is a blue-green, weeping variety of the Himalayan cedar. It is a dwarf, and has a low, spreading habit that is wider than it is high.  It grows 4” to 6” per year, and reaches 4’-5’H × 6’-10’W in 10 years. ‘Feelin’ Blue’ adds color to a mixed border, as an accent, tumbling over a rock garden wall, or as a foundation planting or under a window. It can also be trained as a topiary. This variety grows in full sun in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and was grown from a selection in the Netherlands in the 1980s.

Cedrus deodara ‘Gold Cascade’

Cedrus deodara Gold Cascade Deodar Himalayan cedar evergreen conifer gold needles dwarf weeping
Cedrus deodara ‘Gold Cascade’

‘Gold Cascade’ is a dwarf, weeping Himalayan cedar variety that is low and mounding when young, becoming broadly conical with maturity. It grows 4” to 6” a year and reaches a 10-year size of 4’-5’H × 3.5’W. The young needles are a bright golden color that contrast with the green of older foliage on the interior of the plant. It grows in full sun in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9. ‘Gold Cascade’ brightens a small garden, and is a pleasing accent against a backdrop of dark green evergreens or against a building. It originated in Australia in the 1990s.

Cedrus libani ‘Blue Angel’

Cedrus libani Blue Angel Cedar of Lebanon evergreen conifer blue needles
Cedrus libani ‘Blue Angel’

This powder-blue selection of Cedar of Lebanon has an irregular form and wide, horizontal branches that droop at the tips, giving it the appearance of an angel with wings. The beautiful blue color grows more intense with age. It has an intermediate growth rate of 9” to 12” a year, reaching dimensions of 9’-12’H × 4’W in 10 years. ‘Blue Angel’ grows in full sun in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and makes a spectacular accent tree, or for a border or windbreak. It was introduced by a nursery in Oregon.

Cedrus libani ‘Green Prince’

Cedrus libani Green Prince Cedar of Lebanon evergreen conifer dwarf green needles
Cedrus libani ‘Green Prince’

This is a dwarf tree with an irregular, spreading shape, tiered branches, and green to gray-green needles. It grows very slowly, only 2” to 4” a year, becoming 3’H × 1.5’W in 10 years. With its slow growth and tiered branching, ‘Green Prince’ is a perfect candidate for bonsai and an eye-catching accent for a small space, rock garden, or urban garden. It grows in full sun in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and was introduced by a nursery in Washington in the 1960s.

Cedrus libani ‘Hedgehog’

Cedrus libani Hedgehog Cedar of Lebanon evergreen conifer blue green needles miniature mounded
Cedrus libani ‘Hedgehog’
Cedrus libani Hedgehog Cedar of Lebanon evergreen conifer blue green needles miniature mounded
Cedrus libani ‘Hedgehog’

The Hedgehog Cedar of Lebanon is a miniature-sized, mounded tree with blue-green needles that grows very slowly, only 1” to 2” per year. After 10 years it will measure 10”-12”H × 30”-36”W. It gets its name from the long needles sticking up on the top of the little mound, reminiscent of a hedgehog. It grows in full sun in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and was introduced by a nursery in New Zealand in 2009. Because of its small size and slow growth, ‘Hedgehog’ is a great choice for a foundation planting, rock garden, or any small garden space.

Winter Gold Conifers

During the winter months when skies are gray and gardens are colorless, there is a bright group of conifers that add warmth to a winter garden. These amazing trees range in hue from yellow to gold to orange, and sometimes in striking color combinations. Some of them change color from green to gold as the seasons progress, and others retain their golden springtime hue throughout the year. Light-colored conifers adapt their color to how much sun, shade, or cold they are exposed to. Some of these trees grow best in partial shade or indirect light because full sun can burn their light colored young foliage, or in some cases, their mature foliage as well.

On the other hand, there are winter gold cultivars that do very well in full sun. In general, sun will bring out more vivid color than shade will, and cold temperatures will also heighten color. Be sure you know the light requirements of your golden conifers so that you can site them appropriately in your landscape. Also, it’s important to be aware of the scale and growth rate of surrounding companion plants in relation to your conifers. You wouldn’t want nearby trees to outstrip your prized conifer in size and scale!

The color of companion plants is another consideration. Golden conifers stand out beautifully against a backdrop of dark green or blue evergreens such as pine, spruce, arborvitae or yew. Broadleaved evergreens do well, too, such as holly, English laurel, and rhododendron. Plan your garden so that your winter gold conifers have the opportunity to display their most dazzling colors. Below are seven outstanding winter gold conifers that we recommend.

Abies concolor ‘Wintergold’

Abies concolor Wintergold fir conifer evergreen gold yellow pyramidal
Abies concolor ‘Wintergold’
Abies concolor Wintergold fir conifer evergreen gold yellow pyramidal
Abies concolor ‘Wintergold’

This beautiful fir puts on yellow-green needles in the spring that darken to green in the summer, then turn to a rich golden yellow with the arrival of cold weather in the winter. It is a dwarf, with horizontal branching, pyramidal shape, and a soft appearance due to its long needles. ‘Wintergold’ grows at a slow rate of about 3” to 6” a year, and attains a height and width of 5’ × 3’ in 10 years. It can grow in sun to partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. This interesting little tree is a bright accent that gives warmth to a winter garden with its yellow foliage and soft form. It was introduced in Germany in 1959.

Abies nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader’

Abies nordmanniana Golden Spreader Nordmann fir dwarf squat conifer evergreen gold yellow
Abies nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader’
Abies nordmanniana Golden Spreader Nordmann fir dwarf squat conifer evergreen gold yellow
Abies nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader’
Abies nordmanniana Golden Spreader Nordmann fir dwarf squat conifer evergreen gold yellow
Abies nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader’

This is a dense, squat Nordmann fir that starts out with light green foliage in the spring and summer and finishes the season with golden yellow needles in the winter. Its new spring foliage and winter needles need protection from bright sun, so it’s best to locate this little tree in a shady spot of the garden. It is compact and broadly conical, more wide than high. The top of the tree is pushed down, or depressed, when it is young, but extends up with age. ‘Golden Spreader’ is a slow growing dwarf, putting on only 2” to 4” of growth a year, becoming 2’ × 3’ in 10 years. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, and is perfect to brighten up a shady corner of the garden. It was introduced in the early 1960s in the Netherlands.

Pinus contorta var. latifolia ‘Chief Joseph’

Pinus contorta var. latifolia Chief Joseph pine dwarf pyramidal conifer evergreen gold yellow
Pinus contorta var. latifolia ‘Chief Joseph’

This gorgeous pine is a stunning example of a golden conifer that lights up a winter landscape. It starts out with medium green foliage in the spring that lightens to yellow-green by late summer, then ignites to a bright yellow-gold in the winter as temperatures drop. Full sun and cold temperatures bring out the strongest color of this tree, making it a shining focal point during the most lackluster time of year in the garden. ‘Chief Joseph’ is an irregular, conical dwarf that grows at a slow rate, only 3” to 6” a year, reaching dimensions of 4’H × 2’W in 10 years. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, and is a cultivar of the lodgepole pine that is native to the US Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Pinus mugo ‘Carstens’

Pinus mugo Carstens pine conifer evergreen globose yellow gold
Pinus mugo ‘Carstens’
Pinus mugo Carstens pine conifer evergreen globose yellow gold
Pinus mugo ‘Carstens’

‘Carstens‘ dwarf mugo pine is considered to be one of the best winter gold conifers available. It forms a compact globose shape when young that spreads out into a dense mound with age. Short, medium green needles cover the tree in spring and summer, then cold temperatures in the winter turn the foliage a deep golden hue. Winter temperatures also trigger this little pine to produce decorative shorter needles at the ends of its branches like small circlets. ‘Carstens’ is a very slow growing conifer, only adding 2” to 4” per year. Its mounding form gives it more width than height, attaining only 0.75’H × 2’W in 10 years. It grows best in full sun, and is hardy to USDA zones 2 to 8. Its rich yellow-gold winter color and small size make it a welcome addition to small sunny gardens, rock gardens, and urban settings. ‘Carstens’ was introduced in 1988 in Germany.

Pinus strobus ‘Louie’

Pinus strobus Louie white pine globose pyramidal evergreen conifer gold yellow
Pinus strobus ‘Louie’
Pinus strobus Louie white pine globose pyramidal evergreen conifer gold yellow
Pinus strobus ‘Louie’

The ‘Louie’ white pine is an elegant, colorful, soft-textured tree with long needles. It is globose when young, then opens up to a symmetrical pyramid with age. The foliage is light golden-green during the spring and summer, then begins to turn golden-yellow in the fall. The needles in the interior of the tree often remain yellow-green since they are shaded, but the outer foliage develops a deep golden color in the sun and cold of winter. New spring foliage needs to be protected from bright sun, but once the tree is established, sunshine will bring out the most vivid color. ‘Louie’ grows relatively quickly, at 8” to 10” a year, and achieves dimensions of 8’H × 5’W in 10 years. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, and is spectacular as a winter gold accent against a dark background. It does not do well in an urban garden, however, since it is sensitive to air pollution.

Pinus sylvestris ‘Moseri’

Pinus sylvestris Moseri Scots pine evergreen conical conifer gold yellow winter
Pinus sylvestris ‘Moseri’
Pinus sylvestris Moseri Scots pine evergreen conical conifer gold yellow winter
Pinus sylvestris ‘Moseri’
Pinus sylvestris Moseri Scots pine evergreen conical conifer gold yellow winter
Pinus sylvestris ‘Moseri’

This dwarf Scots pine is broadly conical with a rounded top. It has the interesting characteristic of producing two lengths of needles. The first growth in the spring is considerably longer than the second growth later in the season, ultimately giving the little tree a dense, fluffy look. The spring and summer foliage is deep green, turning a bright golden-yellow in the winter. It grows slowly at a rate of 2” to 4” a year, becoming only 4’H × 2’W in 10 years. It will grow happily in full sun, and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. ‘Moseri’ will brighten up a small garden, rock garden, or urban space. It originated in France around 1900.

Pinus sylvestris ‘Nisbet’s Gold’

Pinus sylvestris Nisbet's Gold Scots pine evergreen globose pyramidal conifer gold yellow winter
Pinus sylvestris ‘Nisbet’s Gold’
Pinus sylvestris Nisbet's Gold Scots pine evergreen globose pyramidal conifer gold yellow winter
Pinus sylvestris ‘Nisbet’s Gold’

‘Nisbet’s Gold’ is a broadly globose tree when it’s young, but with age it opens up to a pyramidal shape. During the spring and summer, this beautiful Scots pine displays medium green needles that explode with golden color at the tips of its branches as the temperatures drop in the winter. It is one of the golden conifers that can grow in full sun. ‘Nisbet’s Gold’ is a medium-sized tree that grows 6” to 9” a year, becoming 8’H × 5’W in 10 years. It is hardy to USDA zones 3 to 8. This is a tree that can brighten up a winter garden as well as display good color all year round. It is sometimes seen as ‘Nisbet Aurea’, which was its original name from a nursery in Germany. But since cultivar names cannot be in Latin according to The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature of 1957, the name Aurea is not legitimate. It was renamed ‘Nisbet’s Gold’ when it was introduced to the U.S. by a nurseryman in Washington.

Trophy Trees

Exceptional specimens for the discriminating buyer

Conifer Kingdom proudly offers an extensive collection of exquisite trophy trees for the discerning buyer. Customers looking for choice specimens have flown to our nursery from Long Island, Massachusetts, Chicago, Montana, San Francisco, and Minnesota to select trees, and landscape designers have flagged specific trees for discriminating customers throughout the United States.


Our container-grown Japanese maples and conifers are from 10 to 50 years old. These specimen trees have been dug from collectors’ gardens over the years or purchased from private collections as we have found them. We also offer large balled and burlapped (B&B) trees that are dug from the field and mountain-dug conifers from Washington, Oregon, and the Cascade Mountains that are over 100 years old. Our large collection of beautiful Japanese maples and windswept Japanese black pines have been trained for over 20 years and make delightful additions to Japanese gardens.

All of our trees are ready to be shipped in refrigerated freight trucks on pallets reinforced with ties, plastic, and Styrofoam as needed to ensure a safe journey. To minimize transplant shock, most of our trophies are in massive tree pots weighing up to 5,000 pounds. When the trees are so large that they don’t fit on a pallet, they are set on the floor of the truck. It’s important to note that a forklift or bobcat will be needed at its destination to offload these large trees from the truck

Here are some outstanding specimens — the trophy trees from Conifer Kingdom priced from $395 to $75,000.

Abies procera ‘Rick’s Foxtail’ 

Congested growth on this upright fir has a nice bluish-green color. Short side branches emerge from a thick, central leader, giving a tail-like appearance to the branches radiating from the trunk.
Abies procera ‘Rick’s Foxtail’ (Specimen 1780, 20 years old)

This narrow, columnar variety of noble fir is a perfect fit for a small space in need of a vertical accent. Short, widely spaced branches with sprays of dense, blue-green needles give a tail-like appearance extending from the thick trunk.  ‘Rick’s Foxtail’ grows slowly, 2” to 4” per year, and attains a mature height of about 15’. It prefers full sun but will adapt to filtered light, and grows best in USDA zones 5 to 8.

Acer palmatum ‘Fairy Hair’

A unique, very slow-growing Japanese maple, this dwarf green cultivar has very narrow, string-like leaves, not much wider than leaf veins. More sturdy than its deceptively delicate look would suggest, Fairy Hair is a selection that will be less than 3 f
Acer palmatum ‘Fairy Hair’ (Specimen 1124, 20 years old)

‘Fairy Hair’ is a unique, dwarf Japanese maple that is slow growing and well-suited for a container or small garden, a Japanese garden, or urban space. Its foliage is exceptionally thin and wispy — the blades of the leaves not much wider than the leaf veins. Its leaves are light green in the spring and darken to a medium green in the summer, then change to a bright crimson in the fall. ‘Fairy Hair’ will only grow to 3’-4’. It can thrive in sun or partial shade and is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Acer palmatum ‘Inaba shidare’

The rich, purple-red leaves of this laceleaf Japanese maple boast a deeper color than other reds and retain it throughout summer without going bronze. In fall, the leaves turn crimson to match the striking red leaf stalks. The very large leaves, less fine
Acer palmatum ‘Inaba shidare’ (Specimen 1405, 40 years old)

This spectacular Japanese maple has large, reddish-purple dissected leaves that keep their color throughout the summer, then turn crimson in the fall to match their red leaf stalks. It is twice as wide as it is tall, 7’H × 15’W, and perfect as a container tree, or for a Japanese-themed garden. ‘Inaba shidare’ grows in sun or partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.

Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’

The foliage of this prized Full Moon maple virtually glows throughout the season. Especially in a site with filted light, the fan-shaped leaves emerge bright yellow in spring, then gradually soften to yellow-green, a color that holds all summer. In fall,
Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ (Specimen 1362, 30 years old)

This beautiful full moon maple is a medley of colors three seasons out of the year. The leaves emerge a bright yellow in the spring, then gradually change to yellow-green in the summer, and glow a bright yellow, orange, and scarlet in the fall. ‘Aureum’ is slow growing, with a vase-shaped crown, and approximately 10’ high. It grows in sun or partial shade, although its colors are brighter in the sun, and it is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. This tree would brighten up a corner of the garden, or be an eye-catching accent in front of some taller, dark green conifers.

Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’

Vigorous, versatile and unbelievably easy to grow, this small, dramatic Full Moon maple boasts orange-red highlights on yellow leaves. The unusual coloring, strongest in full sun, lasts from when leaves emerge in spring until they go rich orange-red in fa
Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’ (Specimen 1753, 15 years old)

This small, elegant, full moon maple displays a beautiful orange-red overlay on yellow or light chartreuse leaves that lasts from spring until the orange-red deepens in the fall. This unusual coloring is strongest in full sun, although it will grow in partial shade with less of an orange-red overlay in the summer. It has a rounded habit with 6’H × 6’W dimensions, and grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. ‘Autumn Moon’ is a perfect addition to a small garden or grown in a container.

Acer shirasawanum ‘Green Snowflake

This unique, weeping Full Moon maple has tiny, lacy, light green leaves shaped like nearly circular snowflakes. Leaves develop orange margins in full sun and turn a blend of yellow and orange in fall. Thought to be a cross between palmatum and shirasawanu
Acer shirasawanum ‘Green Snowflake‘ (Specimen 1382, 30 years old)

This unique, slightly weeping full moon maple has small, intricately dissected leaves that resemble green snowflakes. The foliage emerges light green in the spring, darkening to a medium green in the summer, then turning yellow-orange in the fall. This very slow growing, mature ‘Green Snowflake’ specimen is low and wide, and would be a handsome tree under a window or in a container. It grows well in sun or partial shade and in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. It is a cross between A. palmatum and A. shirasawanum.

Pinus contorta var. latifolia ‘Chief Joseph’

Green summer needles begin turning gold in the fall. By winter, this plant is absolutely brilliant gold. It was found in the Wallowa Mountains by Doug Will of Sandy, OR during a hunting trip. He supposedly used an axe to dig it. This variety has proven to
Pinus contorta var. latifolia ‘Chief Joseph’ (Specimen 1784, 35 years old)

‘Chief Joseph’ is an unusual and beautiful lodgepole pine that puts on a colorful display when temperatures drop. In spring, this little pine’s long, soft needles are medium green. They lighten to chartreuse by late summer, and as fall transitions into winter, the needles turn a brilliant yellow-gold. Full sun and cold temperatures bring out the strongest colors of this tree. It has an irregular conical shape, grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, and is an excellent addition for a rock garden, urban garden, border, or courtyard.

Pinus parviflora ‘Shiobara’

A blue-green variety with a broad pyramidal form that makes it looks as if it is much older than it is. Can grow up to 1' a year. Also known as 'Shiobara goyo.'
Pinus parviflora ‘Shiobara’ (Specimen 1862, 20 years old)

This cultivar of Japanese White pine has a broad, pyramidal form with abundant light green to blue-green needles. It grows relatively quickly — up to 12” per year in full sun and does best in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 7. ‘Shiobara’ is also sometimes known as ‘Shiobara-goyo’.

Pinus thunbergii

This irregular-growing species is iconic in Japanese gardens for its windswept habit and sculptural branching structure. The long dark-green needles and furrowed bark make for quite stunning specimens as they age.
Pinus thunbergii (Sculpted Specimen 1847, 30 years old)
This irregular-growing species is iconic in Japanese gardens for its windswept habit and sculptural branching structure. The long dark-green needles and furrowed bark make for quite stunning specimens as they age.
Pinus thunbergii (Sculpted – Horizontal Specimen 1842, 25 years old )

This irregular-growing species is iconic in Japanese gardens for its windswept habit and asymmetric branching structure. The long dark-green needles and furrowed bark make for quite stunning specimens as they age. Japanese Black Pine adds 12” to 15” of growth per year, does best in full sun and in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.