There are more dwarf conifers than listed here, but these are reliable in our area and make for a diverse collections in terms of color, form, etc. Notice how few dwarf conifers enjoy the shade. Those 2 Tsugas only tolerate the shade, they won’t be truly happy in very deep shade

Know that the word dwarf is a relative term. It doesn’t mean that a plant will be tiny, or even moderately small forever. It means that a specific named cultivar either grows so slowly (perhaps only 1/4″ per year) that it will take it a human’s lifetime to become even a modest size. Or it can mean that the cultivar in questions is genetically programmed to stop growing sooner than it’s unnamed cousin (maybe native) plant. One way or another, dwarf plants are widely used as specimen plants for smaller situations.

For SUNNIER Situations

Botanical Name Common Name Attributes* Color
Abies koreana 'Starker's Dwarf' Starker's Dwarf Korean Fir E,Ft – Su Dk Green
Abies lasiocarpa 'Arizonica' Corkbark Fir E,Ft – Su Blue-Grn
Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' Golden Spreader Fir E – Su Golden
Abies pinsapo glauca 'Horstmann' Horstmann's Spanish Fir E,Ft – Su Blue-Grn
Cedrus deodara 'Aurea' Golden Deodar Cedar E,Ft – Su Yellow-Grn
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Blue Surprise' Blue Surprise Port Orford Cedar E – Su Blue
Chamaecyparis nootktensis 'Jubilee' Jubilee Alaskan Cedar E – Su, Sh Green
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis' Slender Hinoki False Cypress E – Su Green
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Splitrock' Splitrock Hinoki False Cypress E – Su Bluish-Grn
Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' Black Dragon Japanese Cryptomeria E,Ft – Su Green
Picea abies 'Little Gem' Little Gem Norway Spruce E,Ft – Su Green
Picea abies 'Vermont Gold' Vermont Gold Norway Spruce E – Su Golden
Picea bicolor 'Howell's Dwarf' Howell's Dwarf Tigertail Spruce E – Su Bluish-Grn
Picea omorika 'Nana' Dwarf Serbian Spruce E,Ft – Su Green
Picea pungens 'Blue Pearl' Blue Pearl Colorado Blue Spruce E – Su Blue-Grn
Picea pungens 'Gerald's Dwarf' Gerald's Dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce E – Su Blue-Gray
Picea pungens glauca compacta 'Thuem' Theum Colorado Blue Spruce E – Su Blue-Gray
Picea pungens 'Gloria' Gloria Colo. Blue Spruce E – Su Blue-Grn
Picea pungens 'St Mary's Broom' St Mary's Broom Colo. Blue Spruce E – Su Blue-Gray
Pinus contorta 'Spaan's Dwarf' Spaan's Dwarf Shore Pine E – Su Bright Green
Pinus densiflora 'Low Glow Low Glow Shore Pine E – Su Brite Green
Taxus cuspidata 'Monloo' Emerald Spreader Japanese. Yew E – Su,Sh Green
Taxus media 'Bean Pole' Bean Pole Dwarf Yew E – Su,Sh Green
Thuja occidentalis 'Teddy' Teddy Dwarf Arborvitae E – Su Bluish-Grn
Tsuga canadensis 'Kelseyi Weeping' Kelsey's Weeping Hemlock E,Ft – Su Green
Tsuga canadensis 'Moon Frost' Moon Frost Mountain Hemlock E – Su Whitish-Grn
Tsuga canadensis 'Stranger' Stranger Mountain Hemlock E – Su Green
Tsuga mertensiana 'Blue Star' Blue Star Mountain Hemlock E – Su,Sh Blue
Tsuga mertensiana 'Bump's Blue' Bump's Blue Mountain Hemlock E – Su,Sh Blue

*Attribute Codes: D=Deciduous; E=Evergreen; S=Semi-evergreen; N=Native; B=Bulb; F=Flowers; Fg=Fragrance; Ft=Fruit; Su=Sunnier; Sh=Shadier

For SHADIER Situations

Botanical Name Common Name Attributes* Color
Tsuga mertensiana 'Blue Star' Blue Star Mountain Hemlock E – Su,Sh Blue
Tsuga mertensiana 'Bump's Blue' Bump's Blue Mountain Hemlock E – Su,Sh Blue

*Attribute Codes: D=Deciduous; E=Evergreen; S=Semi-evergreen; N=Native; B=Bulb; F=Flowers; Fg=Fragrance; Ft=Fruit; Su=Sunnier; Sh=Shadier

For information on understanding and using these plant lists see The Guide.

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