While visiting one of my favorite garden centers I found a delightful collection of mini sized dwarf conifers. There were various cedars, firs, pines, boxwood, Ilex, hemlock, spruce, false cypress, and yew. All were offered in 4 in pots looking cute as a button.
Most of these dwarf evergreens will eventually reach on average about 3 feet high and various widths but for most it could take up to 10 years to reach their mature size. That leaves a lot of time to enjoy and use them in various ways while they are slowly growing. They were all quite hardy as well from zones 4 through 6.
Dwarf conifers originated as dwarf seedlings or mutations found on species trees. Many of these mutations retained their dwarfness, shape and colors. The smallest of the dwarf conifers are the miniature conifers or minis. They are very useful in alpine gardens, screes, troughs and pots. As they are not likely to outgrow their situation they are invaluable in miniature landscape plantings. Useful in both landscaping and containers, they retain their foliage all year adding color to the winter garden.
With such a great selection you have all colors, green, blue, yellow and variegated foliage giving year round appeal. Dwarf conifers are a great stabilizer in mixed plantings where other annuals and perennials come and go and add vertical structure without taking up much space which is very useful in small gardens. You will find mini evergreens as upright, mounding and pyramidal.
Most are very slow growing to start but as they develop a strong root system they may begin to grow faster. If you want to slow the growth down you can try a little root pruning. Many varieties take well to constant trimming or selective pruning to keep them in the desired shape.
Tips For Growing Mini Evergreens:
plant in average soil with good drainage, more succumb to overwatering than anything else
full sun for better yellows and part shade for better blues
require little fertilizer, fish, blood or bone meal worked into the soil around plants works best
when planted in pots, top the pot with gravel, stones or bark to help retain moisture
can grow in gravelly or stony sites
you can trim to suit your needs, best done in fall or early spring
you can keep them bushy by cutting out the leading shoots
You can use these little gems right in the landscape propped up against an attractive rock or stump, use them in your rock garden, as a bonsai, in planters and tubs, in railroad gardens and what about Fairy Gardens. I think they would make perfect trees and bushes in your fantasy settings. I think these just might be the fun plant of the year for me!
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