10 The Most Beautiful Conifers For Garden
Which conifers can be planted in the garden and which ones need a lot of space? Here you will find some of the most popular conifer varieties – from the native larch to the exotic primeval sequoia.
Evergreen plants are an enrichment for every garden, especially in winter. We give you an insight into popular conifer species for the small and large garden. Also, you will learn in this article which varieties are particularly suitable for fast-growing hedges.
Whoever plants conifers in his garden is doing birds a great favor. Some species are especially dependent on coniferous forests or individual conifers. For example, the fir tit, the siskin, the winter goldcrest as well as the great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch love coniferous and mixed forests. Coniferous trees are an important habitat not only for birds but also for numerous insects and beetles. Coniferous trees thus offer protection and food to the birds.
Coniferous Tree Species For Small Gardens
If you only have a small garden, you have to consciously select the plants that will decorate the garden. So that one can look also in the winter into the green, planting of small conifers and above all small-bred sorts of these trees offers itself. Over the years some conifers have become established here, which are characterized by a particularly compact growth.
Nordmann fir Borshomi
The Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana) is probably the most popular Christmas tree today. This is also due to its dense, juicy green needle dress, but mainly because of its rounded needles, which do not sting. Varieties like ‘Borshomi’ are characterized by a beautiful pyramidal growth. The needles of the Nordmann fir are green above and silvery-white below. Healthy development of the Nordmann fir can be achieved in the sun or absence in a single stand or large tubs.
Optimally the soil is as deep as possible, rich in nutrients, and always slightly moist. The trees feel very well as single plants or in a tub, whereby the tub slows down the growth. In their youth, the plants grow sluggishly, but after 20 years they reach a height of about 5 meters and a width of up to 3 meters. However, younger and smaller specimens are ideal for small gardens.
Common Juniper Compressa
The Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) is an evergreen shrub or small tree with a narrow, conical crown and is a good choice for small gardens. The ‘Compressa’ variety grows very densely and slowly. It grows only about one meter high. The pointed needles, which are only about 6 millimeters long, are juicy green with a lighter band on top. The trunk is covered by a grey to red-brown bark.
Compressa requires very little space and thrives in almost any soil that is not too moist. A sunny location is preferred. The dark blue juniper berries of other varieties are used in large parts of Europe. The berries can also be used to make a variety of schnapps, such as the famous gin.
Balsam Fir Nana
The balsam fir of the variety ‘Nana’ (Abies balsamea ‘Nana’) is derived from the larger, North American balsam fir and grows only about one meter high. Its spherical growth makes it up to two meters wide. The dense branches, which also make it an ideal tub plant, round off the overall appearance of the plant. Although the plant is quite undemanding and absolutely frost hardy, it is sensitive to drought – so a good water supply is a must.
It thrives best in slightly acidic soils. A further advantage is its extraordinary tolerance of shade. The coloration of the male cones ranges from bluish and green to red and purple to orange. Female cones on the other hand are somewhat larger and grey-brown in color.
Conifer Species For Large Gardens
If you have more space available, you can also think about larger growing conifer species. Here the variation is at least as great and ranges from old, native varieties to less common varieties.
The Scots Pine
The Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is, along with the spruce, the most intensively cultivated conifer in forests. Forest pines of the ‘Watereri’ variety grow to a height of about 4 to 6 meters and are therefore ideal for medium-sized gardens. It is exceptionally undemanding and grows even on sandy soils or in dry locations, the only important thing is plenty of light.
Pine trees grow very loosely, which can cause problems if there is strong competition. Especially the neighborhood of beech trees is unsuitable. The diamond-shaped, flat forest pine cones with small, light brown needles form backward-curved scales. Conspicuous is the red-yellow to fox-red bark in the upper part of the pines, which flakes off with increasing age. In the lower part, the pine forms a plate or scale cork, which leads to the known structure of the trunks.
The blue spruce ‘Edith’ (Picea pungens ‘Edith’) is a spruce variety that has been cultivated here for a long time. Edith grows about 3.5 to 5 meters high when it is fully grown. The blue spruce loves a sunny and humid location. The copper-brown, smooth bark of the young spruce is striking. Later it turns gray-brown and scales. The spruce needles have an intensive blue color cast, which makes them an eye-catcher for every garden.
The European yew (Taxus baccata) is the only yew species native to Europe. The slowly growing plants can live up to 1000 years and are therefore considered the oldest tree species in Europe. The variety ‘Fastigiata’ grows to a maximum height of only 7 meters and a width of up to 3 meters. It belongs to the columnar yews. It is ideal for large gardens with sunny to sunny, sheltered locations.
Yews like nutrient-rich, calcareous soils, but are very tolerant of other conditions. The yew bears red fruit, which is eaten by birds and spread further through excrement. Yews do not carry cones on their evergreen, soft needles. The needles are lighter colored on the underside than on the upper side. Caution: All parts of the yew (except the red flesh of the seeds) are poisonous.
The European Larch
The European larch (Larix decidua) is the only deciduous conifer native to the USA. The special: It loses its needles in winter. Similar to deciduous trees, the larch needles turn golden and fall off. The variety ‘Globus’ grows about 2.5 to 3 meters high and is therefore suitable for medium-sized gardens. The larches from soft needles 15 to 30 mm long, which are light green when they sprout and become dark green with age.
These are arranged in rosette-like bunches along the branches. Larches can be grown as single plants in sunny locations or as high hedges in the community. Because of their deep root system, deep, nutrient-rich soil is best suited.
Fast-Growing Coniferous Trees
Some tree species grow significantly faster than others. While our native Scotch pine grows a proud 40 cm in the first few years, there are a few conifer species that grow even faster. This is particularly practical if you want to have an evergreen privacy screen for your garden.
The primeval sequoia (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), which has its origin in East Asia, is one of them, particularly fast-growing conifers. This is also where the trivial name “Chinese redwood” comes from. The young tree grows under ideal conditions up to 100 cm per year, when it is older, still a proud 30 to 60 cm per year. With a growth height of up to 40 meters, this undemanding plant is easily suited for large gardens in hot city locations.
Sunny to light-shady locations and moist soils are ideal. Sandy or drier locations are also tolerated, but there the annual growth is lower. The primeval sequoia develops light green, soft needles up to two centimeters long, which turn yellow to orange in autumn and eventually fall off. Dwarf forms, which grow to a maximum height of only four meters, are very well suited for medium-sized gardens.
Sickle Fir Glauca
The Sickle Fir ‘Glauca’ (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Glauca’) with a maximum height of 20 meters is one of the smaller conifers. Originally from Japan, the fir grows up to 8 meters wide and forms a conical crown. With a growth rate of 80 cm per year, it is particularly fast-growing when young. The thick, reddish or olive-brown, soft bark is striking.
The needles, which are just 6 to 12 mm long, change color in winter and are shed by the tree after 3 to 5 years. The conical cones become only about 3 cm long. Sickle firs can be planted individually in sunny locations in the garden and can be easily underplanted by other plants (for example rhododendron or hibiscus) because of their growth. The soil should be deep and well supplied with water because of the roots.
Tree of Life Brabant
“Trees of life” (Thuja) can be found in many gardens, they are especially well suited as fast-growing hedge plants because of their tolerance to cutting and their dense, vigorous growth. The spherical crown of the variety ‘Brabant’ consists of a large number of scale-like leaves and grows in our gardens in the open air and without pruning to a maximum of 20 meters high and 6 meters wide. Sunny locations are particularly suitable, although even places exposed to wind are no problem.