Big Dwarf Conifers

When people think of dwarf conifers they usually think of small plants that may only get a few feet tall or wide. Here I’d like to show off some of the ones that get a bit bigger. I already showed the Cryptomeria Elegans and the Black Dragon. The Elegans will get to some 30 feet, and the Black Dragon to 10-12′, compared to the species at over 100 plus so they’re still dwarfs even if the Elegans gets big. But I’m not posting them again. They’re on a past page with the other Sugis.

Here are a variety of conifers that only get a fraction of the size of their parents and I’m not showing them in any particular order. As they come up, the first one is a small hybrid Yew, a Taxus media “Beanpole”, that only gets 10 feet tall and a foot wide if you believe the websites that list it. So far it’s doing what they say and growing a foot a year so it’s all happy I’d say and it’s in a perfect spot by the corner of the garden to mark the edge of it.

Next is one of the deciduous conifers called a Swamp Cypress, or Taxodium distichum “Peve Minaret”. It’s just starting to lose its leaves now in November and will hold them till December. It’s a lovely, soft “pettable” tree that only gets to 10 feet they say compared to its parent that fills the swamps of the South and gets to over 100 feet tall at least.

Then there is a Japanese Plum Yew, or Cephalotaxus harringtonia “Fastigiata” that only gets to 8-10 feet at most and about 4′ wide. I have just enough room for it to grow where I planted it and it’s doing well. It’s been in a pot on the deck for a couple of years and growing well there, but I finally developed a place to plant it and it’s happy I did. The species gets much bigger and isn’t used as often as this one is for tight spots and the like.

The Oregon Green Pine was discovered in Oregon from a cultivar of the Austrian Black Pine which is its parent and a forest tree in much of Europe. It’s growing in a bowl shape now but is supposed to get to 20 feet tall or so in time. It’s growing a foot or more a year so it’ll take it some time to get there but someday it’ll provide us with a nice piney smell when we enter the front garden. I’m very fond of the magnificent white candles this one puts on for spring before they leaf out. Stunning!

This  Sequoiadendron giganteum cultivar is called Pendula and is supposed to get to 35 or 40 feet but I’ve never seen one that big, tho I’ve seen some large ones. This is still a dwarf compared to the 360 foot tall species that grows in the Central Sierras of California. It still looks and feels like a Redwood and it’s a joy to have it gracing the entrance to the garden. It’s grown 8 or 9 feet since we planted it. Wow.

This one is a cultivar of the Alaska Weeping Cypress called Green Arrow that is native to our northern Pacific Coast of North America. It’s a forest tree but this cultivar only gets to 35 feet and an astounding 2 feet across. I don’t quite believe that but I’ll watch it and see how it does. It can’t get too big where it is but I can train it some to allow its arms to branch out like the species does and looks so cool…

I particularly like this next tree. It’s a variety of the Scotch Pine which has many cultivars. This one is called “Inverleith” after the Inverleith Castle in Scotland where it was found. They say it only gets to 10 0r 12 feet tall, but other sources say it gets to 40 or more so I’m in a bit of a quandry about it. I guess I just have to let it grow and see how it does. I think it’ll be alright…

Next are the dwarf Alberta Spruce, a smaller version of the native that grows in the Rockies and up into Canada. You’ve doubtless seen them before as they’re pretty common. These were salvaged by my partner when the neighbor was going to toss them and he saved them. They’ve grown much taller than I am now, at least one of them has. They give a nice NW feel to the back corner of the yard.

Finally is an Incense Cedar variety, Calocedrus decurrens, called “Maupin Glow”. It’s supposed to only get to 15ft by 5 wide but the species is another forest tree in the Sierras and grows much taller, over 150 feet or more. This has golden tips on the new growth that fades to dark as they age. I was just able to plant it in a new bed we created when we did the walkway. I’ll talk about it in another post…

So there we are with some of the larger dwarf conifers I have in this tiny garden of ours. Someday I’ll try to do a post on the few actual Big Trees that grow here. I don’t have too many but I’m fond of the ones I do have and look forward to the time they grow into themselves as these smaller ones are doing so well. I’m happy to report that some of these dwarfs are at least as tall as I am now (I’m 5’6″), so it feels like I’m in a small forest when I’m in amongst them. It’s a cool feeling and I recommend these large forms for anyone who has the space.

Conifer Joy to you!

Steve

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