25 Types of Conifers for Home Landscapes

Are you considering a conifer to spruce up your yard? Conifers come in all shapes and sizes, from majestic towering trees to ground-hugging shrubs. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 25 uniquely different conifers from around the world.

conifer types. The Cedrus libani, or Cedar of Lebanon, presents dense branches adorned with evergreen needle-like leaves, which are dark green and spirally arranged, culminating in large, barrel-shaped cones.


Conifers are a diverse group of woody plants with needle-like leaves that produce seed-bearing cones. They are ancient trees that have existed since the Pennsylvanian era of the fossil record. Modern-day conifers now include over 600 species of living trees and shrubs. These plants are surprisingly diverse and inhabit every continent except Antarctica.

Conifers are valuable trees and shrubs for the environment, for wildlife, and for people. Humans use conifers as lumber for houses and furniture, for Christmas trees, and for pulp which is used to manufacture a wide assortment of paper products. Conifers also make excellent landscaping trees for shade, shrubbery, and ornamental value. Some conifers even make excellent houseplants!

If you choose to grow a conifer in your landscape, you’ll want to match your plants with your local growing conditions. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map to learn your zone. Then, pay close attention to how much sun your landscape receives, as well as the soil type and drainage. 

Some conifer types require wet soil, while others depend on dry conditions. Finally, make sure you have enough space for your desired tree or shrub. When you come home from the garden center with a two-foot tall sapling, consider how tall it will be at maturity and give it enough space to thrive.

You’ve probably heard of pines, cedars, and junipers before, but you may be surprised by the amazing diversity of coniferous trees. Read on to learn more about 25 unique and beautiful coniferous trees and shrubs for your home landscape.

Alaska Cedar

Close-up of Callitropsis nootkatensis, or Alaska cedar, which exhibits drooping branches adorned with scale-like, dark green leaves and small, oval cones.
Enhance your landscape with a stunning evergreen specimen tree.
botanical-name botanical name Callitropsis nootkatensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 20 – 120 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 8

Alaska cedar, also known as the Alaska cypress or Nootka cypress, is an evergreen tree native to the Pacific Northwest. Although commonly referred to as a “cedar,” this tree is actually a variety of cypress that grows along streams, ravines, and moist, open woodlands. Grow it as a specimen tree in your landscape in a sunny location with moist, well-drained soil.

Alaska cedar develops an attractive conical form. The branches droop slightly towards the tips, giving it a somewhat softened appearance. The extremely short, scaly needles are many-branched and create overlapping feathery patterns. The cultivar ‘Pendula’ has dramatically drooping branches and grows to only 35 feet tall. This conifer type makes an excellent landscaping plant where it can be the center of attention.

Arizona Cypress

Close-up of Hesperocyparis arizonica, commonly known as Arizona cypress, which displays spreading branches adorned with delicate, blue-green foliage and small, spherical cones.
Add a touch of the Southwest to your sunny landscape.
botanical-name botanical name Hesperocyparis arizonica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 60 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 11

While many conifer types are associated with cooler climates, the Arizona cypress is native to the southeastern United States and Mexico. This tree is drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and loves warm, arid climates with full sun and well-drained soil. Several interesting Arizona cypress cultivars are available with attractive growth forms and colors, including some familiar Christmas tree varieties.

Arizona cypress trees are evergreens with an appealing conical shape. At maturity, they can reach 60 feet tall with a broad, sturdy trunk. The needles are a series of densely overlapping scales that, at a distance, give these trees a soft, lacy appearance. The cones are reddish-brown, rounded, and only about one inch long.

Atlas Cedar

Close-up of Cedrus atlantica, the Atlas cedar, which showcases horizontal branches bearing clusters of short, bluish-green needles and cylindrical cones.
Create a serene landscape with graceful, silvery-green evergreen trees.
botanical-name botanical name Cedrus atlantica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 60 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6 – 9

The atlas cedar, also known as blue atlas cedar, is a tall, long-lived tree that is popular for landscaping. These trees have a pyramidal form and can grow up to 40 feet wide. Use an atlas cedar as an evergreen focal point in your landscape, or grow several in a row for a windbreak or privacy screen. 

Atlas cedar has tufts of short, silvery-green needles and narrow, densely packed cones. Several attractive cultivars are available, including some with narrower, more columnar growth and some with graceful, dramatically weeping branches. These cedars require full sun, well-drained soil, and a warmer climate to perform well.

Bald Cypress

Close-up of Taxodium distichum, or bald cypress, featuring feathery, deciduous foliage on spreading branches and small, round cones.
Enhance wet landscapes with striking, golden-foliaged trees and unique roots.
botanical-name botanical name Taxodium distichum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 50 – 70 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 9

Bald cypress is a fascinating tree native to southeastern and central North America. It is characteristic of swamps, bayous, and wetland edges and often grows directly in shallow waters with its roots fully submerged. These trees are tolerant of frequent flooding and would be a wonderful plant for a large, wide-open, wet area where you might have trouble finding other suitable plants. There are many beautiful bald cypress cultivars as well.

The bald cypress is a deciduous conifer that has attractive golden-yellow fall foliage. It produces feather-like leaves lined with short, soft needles. The cones are small and rounded, looking more like lumpy orbs than traditional cones.

One of the most unique characteristics of the bald cypress is its roots. Bald cypress develops a broad, shallow root system where knobby grows, known as cypress knees, protrude above the soil surface. This unique root feature helps them survive saturated soils by allowing the roots to access fresh air.

Balsam Fir

Close-up of Abies balsamea, the balsam fir, which presents dense branches covered with short, dark green needles and upright, cylindrical cones of a bluish tint.
Adorn your landscape with aromatic evergreens, perfect for Christmas.
botanical-name botanical name Abies balsamea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 50 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 7

Balsam fir is a very cold-hardy conifer type that’s native to northeastern North America. These trees prefer full sun, well-drained soil, and a cool climate. Mature balsam firs can grow up to 80 feet tall and 25 feet wide, although there is a dwarf cultivar that stays much more compact, topping out at just two feet tall.

Balsam fir is a popular Christmas tree species. It develops a beautiful pyramidal form and aromatic, dense, short needles. The cones are cylindrical and grow up to four inches long. When young, they are a striking purplish color, maturing to a more standard green-brown. Like most other fir trees, the cones grow upright along the branches rather than hanging down like most pine cones.

Cedar of Lebanon

Close-up of Cedrus libani, the cedar of Lebanon, which exhibits spreading branches with clusters of oblong, bluish-green needles and large, barrel-shaped cones.
Create stunning landscapes with majestic evergreens, perfect for shade and privacy.
botanical-name botanical name Cedrus libani
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 60 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 7

Cedar of Lebanon is an interesting needled evergreen native to the Middle East. These trees are adapted to grow in cool, rocky mountaintop habitats and need well-drained soil and a moderate climate.

If you have the right growing conditions, the cedar of Lebanon is a truly beautiful landscaping tree. The trunks can grow quite thick and dramatic and their tall stature makes them good shade trees, accent trees, or natural privacy screens. Their short, dense, silvery-green needles look beautiful throughout the year.

Chinese Yew

Close-up of Podocarpus macrophyllus trees that display dense, evergreen foliage on upright branches.
Enhance your landscape with dense, dark-green foliage and ornamental cones.
botanical-name botanical name Podocarpus macrophyllus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 15 – 50 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 9

The Chinese yew is an appealing landscaping tree native to Asia. The needles of the Chinese yew are short, flattened, and dark green. They grow all along the smaller stems of these trees, giving them a robust, very bushy appearance. These trees do not produce standard-looking cones but rather rounded, berry-like cones that have ornamental value. 

Chinese yew is sometimes grown as a houseplant because it tolerates low-light conditions. It is also a favorite tree for bonsai. However, don’t grow this plant indoors if you have pets; the seeds are poisonous if ingested. As a landscaping tree, Chinese yew makes an excellent specimen planting, hedge row, or windscreen. Birds and other small animals will use the dense cover of these plants for nesting and roosting.

Coastal Redwood

Close-up of Sequoia sempervirens, the coast redwood, which showcases tall, straight branches adorned with fine, needle-like leaves and small, oval cones.
Invite majestic growth with fern-like foliage, attracting diverse wildlife.
botanical-name botanical name Sequoia sempervirens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 60 – 200 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 9

The coastal redwood, also known as California Redwood, is one of the tallest trees in the world. These magnificent trees are native to the temperate rainforests of the Pacific coast, particularly southwest Oregon and northern California. These trees need the cool, moist climate of the Pacific coast to survive, but if you do happen to live in this region, you can successfully grow one of these woody giants, or any of its interesting cultivars, if you have enough space!

You can grow your own coastal redwood tree from a tiny seed. In ideal conditions, these trees can grow fast, up to three feet per year. The needles are flattened and develop in a fern-like pattern along the smallest branches and twigs. For the massive size of these trees, the cones are surprisingly small, reaching only about one inch long. Coastal redwoods offer animals both food and shelter and will attract birds, butterflies, and an assortment of other small wildlife.

Creeping Juniper

Close-up of Juniperus horizontalis, the creeping juniper, featuring low, trailing branches covered with scale-like, blue-green foliage.
Adorn your landscape with low-maintenance evergreen ground cover beauty.
botanical-name botanical name Juniperus horizontalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 0.5 – 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 9

Creeping juniper is a popular landscaping shrub for borders, edges, and urban landscaping projects. This low-growing shrub-type conifer is native to rocky outcroppings and mountaintops in the northern United States and Canada. It prefers full sun and relatively dry, well-drained soil.

Creeping junipers have extremely short, scaly, overlapping needles that have a coarse, bristly feel. These plants make an excellent ground cover as they creep and sprawl, covering large patches of bare ground with a prickly mat of evergreen vegetation. Rather than producing distinctive cones, creeping juniper has modified cones that look more like bluish berries. There are many easy-to-grow cultivars with different colors and growth forms.

Douglas Fir

Close-up of Pseudotsuga menziesii, the Douglas fir, which displays spreading branches adorned with flat, needle-like leaves and distinctive, cylindrical cones with papery scales.
Transform your landscape with majestic evergreens, ideal for festive seasons.
botanical-name botanical name Pseudotsuga menziesii
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 6

Douglas fir is a very tall tree that can grow to 300 feet in its natural habitat, although it rarely becomes this tall in cultivation. These impressive trees are native to the Pacific Northwest region from Canada to central California. It is intolerant of heat and humidity and is best grown in moist, well-drained soils of the Pacific Northwest or cooler mountainous regions with similar environmental conditions. 

Young Douglas fir trees are pyramidal in shape but become more cylindrical in maturity, reaching about 20 feet wide. Due to its desirable shape, this tree is commercially grown as a Christmas tree. Its short, narrow, flattened needles line the smallest stems and twigs, creating a green bottle-brush effect. The cones are brown, hanging down below the branches like papery pendulums. Birds and other small wildlife happily pick away at the cones, searching for the nutritious seeds.

Dwarf Japanese Cedar

Close-up of a branch of Cryptomeria japonica, or Japanese cedar, covered in scale-like, bright green foliage and small, spherical cones.
Enhance your landscape with compact, soft-textured evergreen beauty.
botanical-name botanical name Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6 – 9

The dwarf Japanese cedar is a compact shrub native to Japan and China. It develops an attractive, rounded form and stays less than four feet tall and equally as wide. This easy-to-grow conifer has excellent landscaping value for your rock garden, xeriscape, winter garden, or small groupings for a low, shrubby border. It will also grow well in containers.

The dwarf Japanese cedar has very short, densely packed, whorled needles that give these plants a soft, touchable look. You won’t need to do any regular pruning to help them maintain their attractive rounded shapes. The cones are small, rounded, and brown, forming in small groups at the branching tips.

Eastern White Pine

Close-up of branches of Pinus strobus, the Eastern white pine, which are adorned with clusters of elongated, thin, soft, blue-green needles.
Embrace year-round beauty with majestic, wildlife-friendly evergreen trees.
botanical-name botanical name Pinus strobus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 50 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 8

The eastern white pine is a tall evergreen conifer that’s native to northern North America. It grows naturally at higher elevations and performs best in cooler climates. This pine prefers full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. There are several interesting white pine cultivars, including dwarf and weeping growth forms.

Eastern white pine has an attractive, broadly conical shape and is a large tree growing up to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It is sometimes used as a Christmas tree but also makes an attractive landscaping tree and an excellent wildlife-friendly conifer. Its relatively long needles and abundant pinecones will add year-round interest to your landscape.

False Cypress

Close-up of Chamaecyparis obtusa, showcasing graceful, drooping branches adorned with dark green, scale-like leaves.
Elevate your garden with compact, fan-shaped evergreen beauty.
botanical-name botanical name Chamaecyparis obtusa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 50 – 75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 8

False cypress, also known as the Hinoki cypress, is an easy-to-grow conifer native to Japan and Taiwan. These trees in their natural habitat can grow up to 75 feet tall, but watch for dwarf cultivars of this plant, such as ‘Nana Gracilis,’ ‘Nana,’ and ‘Torolusa’ These compact cultivars and the many other false cypress cultivars have wonderful landscaping value for a smaller space or for use as a dense privacy hedge.

False cypress has short, scaly needles that develop into somewhat fan-like shapes. It makes a beautiful accent plant for an Asian garden or rock garden. False cypress does best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. Give it a location with average-quality, well-drained soil.

Giant Sequoia

Close-up of Sequoiadendron giganteum, the giant sequoia, presenting massive branches covered in small, scale-like leaves and large, woody cones.
Experience awe with the colossal, long-lived evergreen giants of California.
botanical-name botanical name Sequoiadendron giganteum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 60 – 275 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6 – 8

The giant sequoia is, indeed, an extremely large conifer. This tree develops a massively thick trunk and is famously recognized as being an immensely long-lived tree, with a lifespan of up to 3000 years! Giant sequoias, also known as giant redwoods, are native to California and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Giant sequoia trees can be grown as landscaping trees, but you will need the correct climate. If you live outside of their native range, it’s unlikely that you will successfully grow one of these trees in your home garden. Giant sequoias have short, scale-like needles and oval, two-inch-long cones. The bark of these trees is immensely thick and deeply furrowed. Birds and many wildlife species use these trees for foraging, nesting, and shelter.

Japanese Larch

Close-up of Larix kaempferi in a sunny garden, displaying slender, drooping branches adorned with soft, light green needles.
Illuminate your landscape with golden-hued, pyramidal accent trees.
botanical-name botanical name Larix kaempferi
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 70 – 90 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 7

The Japanese larch is a deciduous conifer type native to Japan. This tree requires a well-drained site with full sun. They need a cooler climate and won’t perform well in hot or arid climates of the southern states. 

These trees tend to grow tall and lanky with a pyramidal shape. Use the Japanese larch as an accent tree in a large yard. Tufts of relatively short needles line the stems, giving this tree a soft, filled-out appearance. The needles turn golden yellow before falling off in the fall. 

Longleaf Pine

Close-up of Pinus palustris, the longleaf pine, showcasing long, tufted needles clustered at the ends of spreading branches.
Foster wildlife habitats with tall, fire-dependent southeastern pines.
botanical-name botanical name Pinus palustris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 60 – 120 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 9

The longleaf pine is native throughout the southeastern United States. In their natural habitat, these trees form large stands and depend on fire for reproduction, as the seeds won’t sprout until they have been exposed to fire. Natural fires also suppress competing vegetation and allow the slow-growing pine saplings to develop thicker, stronger stems before they begin to grow taller. They need full sun and sandy, well-drained soil.

Longleaf pine has very long needles, growing in sets of three, each more than six inches long. The overall appearance of mature longleaf pines is of a tall tree with a bare lower trunk and a somewhat pyramidal crown. The pinecones are very large and can reach up to one foot long. Longleaf pine is an excellent wildlife tree in the southeastern states, providing habitat and food for many birds, insects, and small mammals.

Monkey Puzzle Tree

Close-up of Araucaria araucana, the monkey puzzle tree, featuring dense, symmetrical branches covered with sharp, triangular leaves.
Add a touch of geometric intrigue to your landscape design.
botanical-name botanical name Araucaria araucana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 50 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 10

Monkey puzzle trees are some of the more distinctly unique conifers, easily recognizable by their oddly geometric shapes. These evergreen conifers are native to mountainous regions of South America. They require mild climates with well-drained soil. Monkey puzzle trees perform best in full sun but will tolerate light shade.

This primitive-looking conifer has layers of densely needled branches. The needles are short, thick, and triangular, appearing stacked in a dense, bristly arrangement. The cones are oblong, thick, bristly, and up to six inches long. Monkey puzzle trees make an unusual addition to your landscape. Be sure to give them plenty of space to reach maturity, as they can grow up to 80 feet tall and 30 feet wide.

Mugo Pine

Close-up of Pinus mugo in a sunny garden with dense, bushy branches adorned with short, dark green needles.
Craft charming landscapes with compact, pruned dwarf Mugo pines.
botanical-name botanical name Pinus mugo
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 20 – 25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 – 7

The Mugo pine, also called Swiss mountain pine, is a beautiful, compact tree that is commonly pruned to help maintain a shrubby, dwarf form. Check out some of the Mugo cultivars, such as ‘Pumilio’ and ‘Slowmound,’ for some truly dwarf trees that won’t require any extra pruning.

These trees grow best in cooler climates and or higher elevations that most closely resemble their mountainous European and Balkan origins. Mugo pines require full sun and well-drained soil for peak performance. Many dwarf Mugo pines will grow as wide as they are tall and make good container plants. Grow the larger mugo pine varieties as an accent plant or grow several to create a low shrub hedge.

Norway Spruce

Close-up of Picea abies presenting dense, pyramidal branches covered with short, stiff needles that are dark green and small, cylindrical cones.
Embrace the timeless beauty of full, conical evergreen trees.
botanical-name botanical name Picea abies
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 60 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 – 7

Norway spruce trees may be best known as commercial Christmas trees. They have a full, well-balanced, conical form and densely packed one-inch-long needles arranged along the branches like bright green bottle brushes. There are a great number of Norway spruce cultivars including dwarf varieties, weeping varieties, and different hued needles.

These evergreen conifers like cooler climates with cool summers. They also need moist, acidic soil with good drainage. Norway spruce is native to the mountain regions of Europe and will do best in a sunny location that closely mimics its natural habitat. These trees are beautiful throughout the year and will attract songbirds and small mammals to feed on their cones and seek shelter within their dense branches.

Japanese Umbrella Pine

Close-up of Sciadopitys verticillata showing whorled branches with dense clusters of dark green, needle-like leaves and small, spherical cones.
Grace your landscape with elegant, conical evergreen focal points.
botanical-name botanical name Sciadopitys verticillata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 30 – 70 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 8

The Japanese umbrella pine is an appealing conifer native to Japan. In its native habitat, it can grow over 100 feet tall, but these trees rarely reach more than 70 feet tall in cultivation. These evergreens do best in mild climates with full sun and moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. 

Japanese umbrella pine has medium-length needles that grow in loose, whorled clusters along the smaller branch tips. These trees have an attractive, conical form and look lovely as a central focus for your landscape. If you would like a Japanese umbrella pine but are lacking in space, you can successfully grow one in a container or go to a miniature scale and use it for bonsai gardening.

Russian Arborvitae

Close-up of Microbiota decussata in a sunny garden, showing casing trailing branches covered with tiny, scale-like leaves that form a dense, green carpet-like mat, with inconspicuous cones.
Create lush, low-growing green carpets for versatile landscape accents.
botanical-name botanical name Microbiota decussata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 0.5 – 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 7

The Russian arborvitae, also commonly known as Siberian cypress, is a low-growing conifer type native to Siberia and Russia. These shrubby evergreens stay less than two feet tall and create an evergreen mat of vegetation for shrub borders, edges, rock gardens, and containers. Russian arborvitae may look very similar to a low-growing juniper. They are distinctly different species.

Give your arborvitae plenty of space to roam. While these plants stay low to the ground, they will spread outwards by creeping stems. The foliage is very attractive and somewhat feathery-looking. Russian arborvitae prefers cooler climates and will perform poorly in locations with hot, humid summers. This shrub needs moist, well-drained soil and will perform well in both full sun and light shade. 


Close-up of a branch of Larix laricina which is adorned with soft, light green needles, accompanied by small, oval cones.
Adorn your landscape with vibrant fall hues and unique shapes.
botanical-name botanical name Larix laricina
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 – 5

The tamarack, also known as the American larch, is a cold-loving tree native to the colder climates and high elevations of northern North America. Tamarack is a deciduous conifer with beautiful yellow fall foliage. The needles grow in soft, bright green tufts, and small, rounded cones are pink in the spring, turning brown by summer.

For the home gardener, you’ll need to live in a climate with cool summers and cold winters to grow your own tamarack. You’ll also need a full-sun location with acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Some dwarf tamarack cultivars are better suited as landscape trees. Bonsai enthusiasts frequently use these trees for their fascinating shapes.

Virginia Pine

Close-up of Pinus virginiana, the Virginia pine, featuring dense adorned branches with long, thin, dark green needles.
Infuse rustic charm into your landscape with versatile evergreens.
botanical-name botanical name Pinus virginiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 40 – 80 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 8

Virginia pine is a medium to large-sized tree native to much of the eastern United States. These trees often grow in large stands of pine forest in sunny sites with average to poor-quality, well-drained soil. 

As a landscaping plant, the Virginia pine has a certain rustic appeal. These trees are often scraggly-looking, with twisted trunks. They can be pruned and trained into interesting forms and make appealing plants for a winter garden to provide year-round greenery. Virginia pine needles are medium-length, and these trees produce plenty of pine cones to attract birds and foraging animals. You can also use the cones for craft projects and seasonal decorations.

Western Hemlock ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’

Tsuga heterophylla ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’, a weeping western hemlock cultivar, exhibits pendulous branches with alternating green needles.
Add enchanting cascades of evergreen foliage to your landscape design.
botanical-name botanical name Tsuga heterophylla ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 0.5 to 5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 8

The western hemlock is a very large needled evergreen native to mountainous forests of western North America. While this tree can live over 1000 years and grow over 200 feet tall in its natural habitat, it rarely reaches this height in cultivation. If a full-sized hemlock tree seems a bit too much for your landscape, try the dwarf cultivar, ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’, which grows only about six inches tall. 

‘Thorsen’s Weeping’ hemlock is a fascinating plant. It will grow completely prostrate as an evergreen ground cover. If you want to give it some height, you’ll need to train it to grow along a sturdy support of some kind. These plants would make an excellent addition as a decorative garden accent, cascading over a stone wall or draped over a sculptural accessory. The soft, short-needled foliage will burn in hot, dry weather and should only be grown in cooler climates with regular moisture.

White Fir

Close-up of dense branches Abies concolor covered with silvery-blue needles that are broad and flat, accompanied by cylindrical cones.
Enhance your landscape with striking, silvery-blue conical evergreens.
botanical-name botanical name Abies concolor
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 40 – 70 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 7

If you’re looking for a conifer of a different color, try a white fir. These attractive needled evergreens are native to the mountainous regions of the western United States and Mexico. White fir trees will perform best in full sun although also tolerate light shade. These trees need cooler summer climates with rich, medium-moisture, well-drained soil.

White firs are very beautiful. They grow into a conical shape with a tall, straight trunk. The silvery, blue-green needles are medium length, soft, and slightly flattened with a somewhat curved appearance as they grow along the smaller stems. The cylindrical-shaped cones can grow up to six inches long. If you’d like a more compact white fir, try the ‘Compacta’ cultivar, which grows to only four feet tall and has beautiful silvery foliage.

Final Thoughts

Conifers are a fascinating group of plants with tremendous diversity. They grow worldwide, but if you want to plant one in your landscape, you’ll need to do some research to find the species and varieties best suited to your local growing conditions. 

People often associate conifers with Christmas trees, but conifers provide year-round value. These trees and shrubs are colorful and ornamental, coming in all shapes and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, conifers aren’t all evergreens either; several types are deciduous, losing their leaves each winter. Whether you’re looking for your next majestically tall tree, trying to create a bird-friendly habitat, or thinking of starting a bonsai project, consider a conifer!

A serene landscape unfolds, adorned with lush evergreen trees and verdant shrubs, creating a picturesque scene of natural beauty. The background dissolves into a gentle blur, hinting at the vast expanse of dense forest beyond.


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A majestic Sugar Maple tree stands tall, its bark displaying intricate patterns and textures. The vibrant orange leaves shimmer in the sunlight. Against a clear blue sky, surrounding lush greenery completes a tranquil forest scene.


11 Trees That Boost Property Value

Looking for a tree to enhance your property value? Wondering which one is right for your unique landscape? Certified master gardener Liz Jaros has you covered with this look at why trees are a good investment and a profile of 11 trees that will give you the most bang for your buck.