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.

Hinoki false cypress

(Chamaecyparis obtusa species, Zones 5 to 8)

If you need a conifer to provide unique form and texture, this is an excellent choice. A native of Japan, considered -sacred in the Shinto religion, it has dark-green fan- or shell-shaped foliage and interesting bark. For a small space, try slow-growing cultivars like Minima (pictured), the golden Nana Aurea and the glossy green Nana Gracilis.

Why we love it: This dwarf conifer is among the best of small conifers. Check a nursery or look online to find a cultivar that meets your needs.

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  1. Mary says

    Since when is the Colorado Blue Spruce a ‘dwarf’? Here in Utah these trees grow quickly up to 60 feet tall and 20 feet diameter. They often fall over in windstorms after growing to full height. I do have the Montgomery spruce going in my yard and I love it although it can also get rather wide. People are so uneducated, they buy these tiny trees in box stores and plant them right next to their houses and walkways. This article does absolutely nothing to educate anyone about how huge this tree can grow.

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