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Get to Know Different Types of Conifers

By: James A. Baggett James A. Baggett
Have you been curious about growing conifers in your garden? Meet 10 different types and see which ones will grow best for you!

Why grow conifers?

Conifers rarely need fertilizer, resist insects and diseases and only need to be watered during dry spells. And these versatile, low-maintenance plants come in an array of shapes other than the ubiquitous pyramid and in a surprising range of colors, including blues, grays, yellows, maroons and, of course, greens.

Find the right conifer for your garden

There are plenty of delightful conifers for every garden from coast to coast. And since a conifer can be a substantial purchase and a long-term investment, you want to make sure you're choosing the right one. Many cultivars will stay small and may grow for several years or even decades with little to no maintenance. Here are some to consider.

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dw-conifers-deodar-cedar-doreen-wynja

Deodar cedar

Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin Blue’

Type Tree
Foliage This dwarf creeping cedar with unique spreading form and blue-green foliage is a good choice for smaller spaces
Light Full sun
Size 4 to 5 ft. tall, 6 to 10 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9


dw-conifers-falsecypress

False cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera Soft Serve®

Type Tree
Foliage Compact false cypress with graceful fernlike branches that are bright green on top and silver-blue on the undersides
Light Full to part sun
Size 6 to 10 ft. tall, 5 to 6 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8


dw-conifers-concolorfir

Concolor fir

Abies concolor

Type Tree
Foliage Native American white fir with straight trunk and branches of soft, flattened blue-green needles and barrel-shaped (3 to 6 in. long) cones
Light Full sun to part shade
Size 40 to 70 ft. tall, 20 to 30 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7


dw-conifers-juniper-wide

Juniper

Juniper chinensis ‘Hetzii Columnaris’

Type Tree
Foliage Upright juniper with crisp green foliage on dense, tight branches of dark blue-green scalelike foliage (females produce black-green berries in fall)
Light Full to part sun
Size 12 to 15 ft. tall, 10 to 15 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9


dw-conifers-larch-wide

Larch

Larix decidua

Type Tree
Foliage Deciduous conifer best noted for soft green foliage that turns golden yellow in fall before dropping and red-brown erect cones covered with brown hair
Light Full sun
Size 60 to 100 ft. tall, 20 to 30 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 2 to 6


dw-conifers-hemlock-wider

Canadian hemlock

Tsuga canadensis ‘MonJers’

Type Tree
Foliage New form of this evergreen with glowing golden yellow foliage on graceful, aching branches that tends to orange in fall
Light Full to part sun
Size 6 to 10 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8


dw-conifers-mugopine-wide

Mugo pine

Pinus mugo

Type Shrub
Foliage Compact, bushy, multi-stemmed conifer with bright green needles in bundles of two and brown, conical 2- to 3-in. cones
Light Full to part sun
Size 15 to 20 ft. tall, 25 to 30 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7


fp-types-of-conifers-dawn-redwood

Dawn redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Type Tree
Foliage Conical conifer with feathery foliage that emerges light green and matures to deep green in summer and red-bronze in fall
Light Full sun Size 70 to 100 ft. tall, 15 to 25 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8


dw-conifers-norwayspruce-wide

Norway spruce

Picea abies ‘Pusch’

Type Shrub
Foliage Sprawling dwarf evergreen with bright green needles on dense branches and tiny red cones that mature to brown
Light Full to part sun
Size 1 to 5 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7


dw-conifers-hicksiiYew

Hicks yew

Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’

Type Shrub
Foliage Long branches of this columnar evergreen are covered in soft, dark green needles and red, berry-like cones
Light Full sun to part shade
Size 12 to 20 ft. tall, 8 to 12 ft. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7

Published: Nov. 30, 2018
Updated: Dec. 15, 2022
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