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.

Hiba arborvitae

(Thujopsis dolobrata species and cultivars, Zones 5 to 7)

A native of Japan, this conifer has large, broad branchlets with glossy leaves. It’s often used for hedging and is a versatile backyard plant. It’s not as common as other conifers, but it’s definitely worth a chance in your yard. Look for the compact form, Nana.

Why we love it: It tolerates a wide range of soils and does best in partial shade, making it a natural choice for many mature backyards.

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