Top 10 Dwarf Conifers for Small Spaces

Small space gardening is made easy with our list of the top 10 dwarf conifers.

It’s easy to see why conifers are a staple of most backyard landscapes. They provide reliable shelter for birds, offer nice color and year-round structure in the garden and are mostly maintenance-free. Now you can have those same virtues in a smaller package, thanks to newer downsized varieties. While often referred to as “dwarf conifers,” many of these are technically just slow growers. They will eventually get larger in 20 or 30 years, but most stay fairly compact and are classified based on their growth rate and size at 10 years. With the help of conifer expert and author Richard L. Bitner (Timber Press Pocket Guide to Conifers, 2010), we put together this Top 10 list of dwarf conifers, specifically with small space gardening in mind.

Norway spruce

(Picea abies species, Zones 3 to 7)

This popular spruce has a pyramidal shape with shiny dark-green foliage. It prefers full sun, but adapts well to a variety of soil conditions and will tolerate wind. For years, it’s been a favorite fast-growing tree for large landscapes, but now gardeners are starting to look for dwarf cultivars as well. Some of the top choices include Clanbrassiliana, Echiniformis, Little Gem and Perry’s Gold (pictured).

Why we love it: The horticulture world has embraced this plant, so it’s easier to find than some other small conifers.

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