Dwarf conifers are the perfect plants for your garden and around the pond. Conifers add year round structure and color to a landscape. They often become the focal point in the garden. Around a pond they can “soften the edges”, provide ground cover, and mimic or accent your waterfalls and streams.
Conifer colors start with various shades of green but cultivars exists which are blue, yellow, gold or grey.Variegated cultivars will have stripes or spots of white, cream or yellow. Some varieties have a different color on the underside of the needle creating a “two tone” effect. As the cones emerge, they too will provide contrasting colors. Look for hues of pink red, blue or purple as the cones form. Some conifers will even change color in the cold winter months taking on shades of yellow, bronze or plum.
The term dwarf conifer refers to the fact that many varieties will not grow to the size of the normal parent. These are mutations that have been discovered and propagated from the parent tree. The most common source of dwarf conifers are from witches’ brooms’. A witches’ broom is a random growth in a tree which has denser branching, smaller needles and often a different color than the parent tree. The American Conifer Society has adopted a relative guide to help group and select dwarf conifers:
Category Growth / Year at 10 Years
Miniature Less than 1 inch Less than 1 foot
Dwarf 1 – 6 inches 1 – 5 feet
Intermediate 6 – 12 inches 5 – 12 feet
Large 12 inches or more 12 feet or more
Visit http://www.conifersociety.org/ for more information about dwarf conifers