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Ornamental Conifers & Evergreens

spruce image by mzolna from

Evergreens are plants, including trees and shrubs, that retain their vibrant color in winter when most other trees and shrubs have died down. Known for their aromatic scent and soft needles, evergreens also keep their needles all year long. Most conifer trees and shrubs are evergreen, but some are not. Conifers are known for their flat and rounded needles and their ability to produce cones. Situated in containers or nestled along a perennial bed, conifers and evergreens create a long-lasting and hardy presence.

Weeping Himalayan Cedar

Weeping Himalayan cedars (Cedrus deodara 'Pendula') are ornamental evergreen shrubs that retain their foliage and needles all year long. Weeping Himalayan cedar shrubs have a spreading, pendulous growth and form that is striking tucked into a container flanking a front walkway. Weeping Himalayan cedars grow 3 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The long needles are dark green to blue. Stake the weeping cedar when young to support the cascading branches. Weeping Himalayan cedars require full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. The USDA hardiness zones for planting are 7 to 8.

Lawson False Cypress

A slow-growing conifer, the lawson false cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii') has showy foliage. Characteristically cypress-like, the upright, dense and conical shape of the lawson false cypress has erect branches that are blue to gray. Lawson false cypress trees grow 6 to 10 feet tall and are an ideal hedgerow ornamental for makeshift privacy screens. Highly adaptable, lawson false cypress trees keep their vibrant green color and needles all year long, including winter. Lawson false cypress prefers full sun to partial shade and medium to wet soils that are neutral to slightly acidic in nature. To promote new growth, prune any dead branches, as soon as they are visible. The zones for planting are 5 to 9.

Little Gem Arborvitae

Little gem arborvitae is an evergreen shrub that has a slow growth rate and medium texture. Little gem arborvitae shrubs have compact, dense form with a flattened, broad shape. The dark green leaves are glossy and crumpled in shape. The foliage is grown in flat, spreading branches that grow in various angles to hold their color throughout winter. Little gem arborvitae grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. They prefer full sun to light shade and well-drained, moist soils. The zones for planting are 3 to 7a.

Dwarf Sitka Spruce

Dwarf sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis 'Papoose') is a dwarf conifer with a rounded shape and slow growth rate. The small puffball-like foliage is stubby and grows on round, dense branches that start of green to turn to a silvery blue. Dwarf sitka spruce trees grow 3 to 6 feet tall and provide winter interest to a perennial bed or border. New growth on dwarf sitka spruce trees is soft to touch. Dwarf sitka spruce trees prefer full sun to part shade and deep, well-drained soil that is acidic to neutral in nature. The zones for planting are 7 to 8.

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