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Alberto L.

Dwarf conifers to grow in the garden or in pots

 Blog  •  Published on: 11 Mar 2023

Conifers are very interesting perennial plants for the garden due to their colour, texture and volume. But you do have to be careful which ones you choose for your garden, many of them can become very large at maturity and may be too large for your garden.

In this post, we've put together a list of slow-growing and dwarf conifer species that you can easily plant in the ground or in a pot to create a conifers garden. Some are creeping, some are globe-shaped, many are pyramidal or conical, some are oval, and some are even pendulous. And all of a size that sometimes does not exceed 20 centimeters in height and that, in any case, does not exceed 3 meters (planted in the ground).

General characteristics of dwarf conifers

Dwarf conifers, as the name suggests, are varieties of conifers that do not grow as tall as common conifers. They have several general characteristics that differentiate them from larger conifers:

  • Size: Dwarf conifers grow much smaller than common conifers. They do not usually exceed 2 meters in height, although some species can grow up to 4 or 5 meters.
  • Shape: Dwarf conifers have a compact, dense shape. Its branches often grow at sharp angles and are close together, giving them a rounded appearance.
  • Foliage: The foliage of dwarf conifers is dense and abundant. Its leaves are usually small and scaly, giving them a smooth texture to the touch. Foliage color can range from dark green to silver or gold.
  • Slow growing: Dwarf conifers grow more slowly than common conifers. This means that they require less pruning and maintenance than their larger counterparts.

They have several advantages over ordinary conifers. First of all, their compact size makes them ideal for small gardens or confined spaces. They are also very popular in rockeries or containers, as they do not require a lot of space to grow.

In addition, their dense and compact shape makes them very effective as hedges or to border paths and borders. Dwarf conifers are also very hardy and easy to care for, making them a popular choice for those who don't have a lot of time to devote to garden maintenance.

In general, dwarf conifers offer an attractive and practical option for those who want to add a green touch to their garden without compromising too much space or maintenance time.

Best dwarf conifers for pot or garden

For this case I have selected only 4 species of dwarf conifers, of course there are many more, but a post would not be enough to describe them all.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Charm'

This is a different, unique conifer, whose needles (they are the leaves of this type of plant) are yellow. It is a compact species, which grows almost at ground level, rising only about 30-40cm. Due to its size, it is especially suitable for growing in a pot, but it also looks spectacular in gardens, together with other conifers.

Among the most important care that we must have with a 'Golden Charm' conifer, it should be noted that it prefers constant watering every week and more during the hot season. It loves to receive many hours of sun a day, and it needs a good soil but with good drainage.

Juniperus x pfitzeriana

This is another creeping type conifer, ideal for covering floors, or to have in planters. It is characterized by having horizontally extended branches, and by having very small bluish leaves. It grows to a height of 30-50 cm.

To point out some important care with this dwarf conifer, I must emphasize that it needs regular watering but always waiting for the substrate to be almost dry; It resists perfectly several days of drought. It is enough to fertilize with a little organic matter at the end of winter. They do not need pruning, you just have to cut those sick and dead branches.

Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'

This juniper is slow growing, but its leaves are so decorative that I had to include it in this list. And it is also a small plant, which does not grow more than 40cm tall. Its branches are erect, which gives it a very elegant appearance.

Among the most outstanding care, it is recommended to fertilize from early spring to autumn and every 20-30 days, with a slow-acting organic fertilizer. It needs many hours of sun a day, so you should find the most illuminated place in your house to place it. When you notice that the soil is moderately dry, then you should add water to the substrate, but avoiding waterlogging. Seek to plant it in soil with good drainage capacity.

Spruce omorika 'Nana'

It is one of the most recommended dwarf firs. It grows a maximum of 1m in height, and over time it acquires a pyramidal shape, although sometimes it can be seen with a rounded shape, and even as a small tree.

Among the most important care I can highlight that you should water frequently trying to keep the soil moist but never flooded. An exposure of 6 hours of sun a day in spring and summer will be very good, it supports semi-shade perfectly. Usually this little plant has a nice triangular shape and does not need to be pruned normally. Finally, it needs fertile, deep, well-drained and slightly acid soils.

I hope you liked my list and choose to plant one of these dwarf conifers in your garden. ;)


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