Perfect hardy conifers for confined spaces

You have a restricted outdoor yard, but you still want to add beautiful conifers? Well, here are 10 hardy conifers that will be perfect for your small landscape.

Following tests conducted by Rock Giguère at his home under climatic conditions corresponding to hardiness zone 3b, he proposes 10 small development dwarf conifers that should be hardy in most areas of Quebec. As a rule, they would also be resistant to diseases and insects under good growing conditions.

‘Blue Sparkler’ Eastern Larch – Larix laricina ‘Blue Sparkler’

  • Foliage: bluish
  • Height: 3 m (9 ft)
  • Width: 1 m (3 ft.)
  • Soil: light and well drained, however, this conifer accepts heavy and poorly drained soils
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 4
  • Interest: dwarf and very compact form of the Eastern Larch, pyramidal habit.

Maxwell Norway Spruce – Picea abies ‘Maxwellii’ (Syn. Picea abies F. maxwellii)

  • Foliage: dark green
  • Height: 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 inches)
  • Width: 45 to 90 cm (18 to 36 inches)
  • Soil: ordinary, well drained and cool
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: Globular and low form, rounded habit, slow growth, ideal conifer for rock gardens.

‘Pendula’ Norway Spruce – Picea abies ‘Pendula’ (Syn. Picea abies F. pendula)

  • Foliage: pale green becoming dark green with age
  • Height: 1.2 to 5 m (4 to 15 ft.) Due to the height at which we stop staking the plant ,30 cm (12 in.) growth per year
  • Width: dependent on the height of the staking
  • Soil: ordinary, well drained and cool
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: conical to pyramidal shape, the shape is determined by the staking (spread if we let terminal leader fall at low height or columnar if the staking is led to a good height).

Glaucous White Spruce – Picea glauca ‘Pendula’

  • Foliage: blue-green
  • Height: 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 feet) after 10 years, 12 to 16 m (40 to 50 feet) at maturity
  • Width: 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 ft.) after 10 years, 1.5 m (8 ft.) at maturity
  • Soil: fertile, moist, well drained, acid to neutral
  • Exposure: full sun, tolerates light shade
  • Hardiness: zone 2
  • Interest: narrow and almost columnar silhouette, falling habit.

Weeping Blue Colorado Spruce – Picea pungens ‘Pendula’

  • Foliage: bluish
  • Height: 1.2 m (4 ft.), annual growth of 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in.)
  • Width: 2.7 m (8 ft.)
  • Soil: deep, moist but well drained
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: pyramidal shape, this spruce can develop original sculptural forms if we direct its growth by staking, we can also let the plant spread on the ground.

‘Gebelle’s Golden Spring’ Glaucous Blue Colorado Spruce – Picea pungens f. glauca ‘Gebelle’s Golden Spring’

  • Foliage: blue-green, yellowish spring shoot
  • Height: 2 to 2.5 m (6 to 8 ft.)
  • Width: 1 to 1.2 m (3 to 4 ft.)
  • Soil: well drained
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: conical and erect habit, new yellowish shoot in the spring contrasting well with mature blue-green foliage, small size.

‘Frisby’ Mountain Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Frisby’

  • Foliage: dark green
  • Height: 25 cm (10 in)
  • Width: 1.2m (4ft)
  • Soil: acidic, well drained
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: creeping form of the Mugo Pine, short needles.

‘Blue Dwarf’ Siberian Dwarf Pine – Pinus pumila ‘Blue Dwarf’

  • Foliage: dark green and bluish
  • Height: 45 to 90 cm (1½ to 3 ft.), slow growth of about 8 cm (3 in) per year
  • Width: 1.2 to 2 m (4 to 6 ft.)
  • Soil: moist or dry, but well drained
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 4
  • Interest: grows more in width than in height, spread habit.

‘Sea Urchin’ Eastern White Pine – Pinus strobus ‘Sea Urchin’

  • Foliage: blue-green
  • Height: 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 ft.), growing 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in.) per year
  • Width: 60 to 1.2 m (2 to 4 ft.)
  • Soil: rich in humus, average moisture, well drained
  • Exposure: full sun, tolerates slight shading
  • Hardiness: zone 3b
  • Interest: dense globular form.

‘Globosa Viridis’ Dwarf Twisted Scotch Pine – Pinus sylvestris ‘Globosa Viridis’

  • Foliage: dark green
  • Height: 1.5 m (5 ft.), annual growth of 7 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in)
  • Width: 2m (6ft)
  • Soil: several types of soils, average humidity, well drained
  • Exposure: full sun
  • Hardiness: zone 3
  • Interest: Pyramidal shape, slightly twisted needles, slow growth, some sources claim that the scientific name Pinus nigra subsp. laricio ‘Globosa Viridis’ is more suitable for this cultivar.