Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print

10 Most distinct conifers

As a collector/enthusiast of conifers I am struck by how many conifers appear rather 'ordinary' or similar to eachother, especially of course in the highly cloned Picea abies species. This tendency seems to only emphasize the very unique quality of a number of conifers I've encountered or seen pictures of. Here's my list of ten collector conifers(in no particular order) I consider to have a lot of 'character':

1. Abies pinsanpo 'Horstmann Nana'. Stiff, blue-green needles radiate around similarly stiff branches. Mine seems to grow about 4" a year. It's a pretty unique look.


2. Picea orientalis 'Nutans'. Small dark green needles on a medium-fast growing irregular upright. The branches seem to do what they want, with some order but a lot of chaos. My specimen is young, but already showing some interesting character.


Bob Fincham has this fantastic specimen in his garden at Coenosiums. Looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book. Picture use with permission.


3. Picea abies 'Gold Drift'. A most unique cultivar. The growth habit is very similar to Picea abies 'Pendula' with weeping, spreading branches. Staked for height or let ramble down over a bank or rocks, the difference is that this cultivar colors gold where the sun hits. The color stays for much of the year.


4. Abies koreana 'Gait'. A very heavy coning upright dwarf. According to text, it begins heavily coning at about 10 years of age. The images(from Coenosiums website) do the rest of the talking.



5. Picea pungens 'Pendula'. A fairly rare and most unusual conifer, it shares the same bright silver/blue needles of the 'Glauca' subspecies, but has to be staked for height. This fantastic image and specimen is in Dave(dcsteg)'s garden. As with all 'staked' weepers, I find it most interesting in that each specimen is essentially one-of-a-kind since they are trained differently. I believe this fantastic image and specimen is in Dave(dcsteg)'s garden.


6. Larix kaempferi 'Wolterdingen'. A dwarf conifer, growing wider then tall, it has three distinct colors during the year, spring green, turquiose blue and then hues of gold/white/orange in fall. This picture probably doesn't do it justice but it's the best I could find in my files.


7. Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula'. Couldn't make this list without including this amazing cultivar. Although common enough that it is probably in your neighborhood Lowe's, this sweeping, curving, trainable cedar throws down pendulous ice-blue branches however it is trained. One member on these boards described it as a conifer after an ice storm and I find that description perfect. Photo from 'Serendipity nursery.


8. Abies concolor 'Candicans'. I don't have this cultivar myself(yet!), but many feel it is the brightest silver/blue of all conifers. In the sun, the color can appear closer to white at the tips. Blinding. Standard upright growth with perhaps a wider base. Image from Rich's Foxwillow garden.


9. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Van den Aker' & 'Green Arrow'. Basically any conifer collector(and really any garden) should have one of these super narrow, upright weeping conifers. Twenty foot specimens can be as thin as one foot and it's graceful, slightly tilted silhouette graces any skyline. Picture copy/pasted from Bluespruce's fantastic images from Foxhollow.


10. Picea abies 'Witchel'. An astonishingly slow growing conifer, a must for the miniature collector. I believe this specimen is between ten and fifteen years old. Seldom seen for sale and very difficult to grow, this conifer is reported to grow at around 1/8th of an inch a year or less.

Bob Fincham described it as a 'moss covered rock'. image from Coenosiums.


Feel free to add some of your own! It's winter and all we can do is dream of Spring and share some photos.


Comments (20)

    Grow Landscapes
    Average rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars8 Reviews
    Planning Your Outdoor Space in Loundon County?