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 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.