Add year-round interest with dwarf conifers!

When it comes to container gardening, most people think of spring and summer annuals–and with good reason. Nothing adds quite the splash of color to a pot like trailing million bells or brightly-colored impatiens. Unfortunately, though, annuals alone in a pot are a fleeting pleasure–come winter, your pots stand empty.

If you’ve struggled with the “what-to-do-with-my-pots-in-winter” conundrum, have you ever considered dressing them up with some year-round interest? Of course, I’m talking about dwarf conifers!

‘Jean’s Dilly’ Alberta Spruce

Often overlooked, dwarf and miniature conifers–the slow-growing cousins to many of your typical evergreen shrubs and trees–are an excellent choice for the centerpiece of just about any container garden. They can even be used in combination with one another to form a completely evergreen container garden.

With a wide variety of colors, shapes and textures, there are plenty of options to match just about any setting
or preference. One of my favorite dwarf conifers is ‘Jean’s Dilly’ (pronounced ‘John’s Dilly’) dwarf Alberta spruce. Like the traditional dwarf Alberta spruce, it has a narrow, upright form. Unique, however, is its incredibly slow growth rate–just an inch or two a year–and its ultimate size of 3-4 feet tall. Because it’s so cold-hardy, it’s an excellent selection for pots you plan to leave outside year-round.

‘Blue Moon’ Boulevard Cypress

Another great dwarf conifer is ‘Blue Moon’ boulevard cypress. This beautiful evergreen has silvery-blue foliage year-round but is especially vibrant in mid- to late spring with its flush of new growth. Standard boulevard cypress grow to 8-10 feet tall; ‘Blue Moon,’ however, stays incredibly small, filling out to an ultimate size of just 2 feet tall and wide–without pruning.

I’ll continue my review of dwarf conifers for container gardens next month with more great options for your pots. In the meantime, stop in to Vander Giessen’s to see what excellent dwarf and miniature conifers we have to fill your containers this season. You’ll love them for years to come!