Whether you need to add structure, a fabulous specimen, or year round interest to your garden, then you really need look no further than the beautiful conifer.
Ranging in size from tiny dwarf varieties to magnificent trees, they offer fabulous shades of grey, blue, yellow, bronze and a multitude of greens that are bound to brighten any garden, and looking after them is simple too!
Take a look at our insight into these wonderfully flexible plants, including information on how to care for them, so whichever you choose for your garden will be a great success!
Why choose conifers?
For a start, most conifers are hardy and have a long life expectancy, offering valuable constancy to the structures in your garden. There are varieties which are happy in most soil types and once planted, they need no staking or dead-heading and there are no fallen leaves to rake.
Conifers offer a variety of lovely colours, some of which change with the season – and fantastic shapes too – columns and cones for specimens, or spreading sheets of foliage.
You’ll find leaves which are scale-like or needles, and there are some which resemble coral – all offering fabulous textures.
There are lots to choose from, here are just a few suggestions:
- Cedrus, which loves a sunny site.
- Juniperus, which grows well in cold, windy sites and in any soil.
- Pinus, which grows best in sandy soil and can tolerate drought.
- Thuja, which has wonderfully aromatic leaves
The spreading varieties (like Juniper) are also excellent ground cover and can help to prevent soil erosion and act as a weed suppressant.
All varieties produce lovely seed-bearing cones, although you may find some are more reluctant than others!
And when you’re deciding which conifers are right for your garden, be sure to check the growth rate by researching the plant name carefully, or ask our friendly staff for some expert advice!
Get creative and plant dwarf varieties into pots using a loam-based compost. This will provide you with a display you can change at will which is also very low maintenance.
The miniature varieties are also wonderfully versatile – as they’re slow-growing they can start as part of your potted display, and then be planted out into your garden after 10 years as a permanent feature.
And if you do use conifers in pots, why not underplant with colourful pansies to give an extra splash of colour in winter?
Pruning & Care
Unlike other woody plants, conifers need very little pruning but if you need to prune yours back into shape or to restrict height then follow our simple guide.
- After mid-July is the time to prune – just be sure you’re not working in the hottest part of the day.
- Be sure to prune out green branches as soon as they appear in coloured or variegated conifers to avoid diluting the colour or variegation effect.
- Do not prune into old, brown wood as most conifers will not re-grow.
- Prune out any brown ‘patches’ as this could be conifer blight which will eventually spread to the whole plant. Also keep an eye out for conifer aphid (yellowish-brown with black markings) as this can spread conifer blight – the aphids can be treated with insecticide.
We hope we’ve shown you just a few reasons why a conifer is a great addition to any garden, and of course if you need further inspiration then check out our fabulous displays in store and don’t forget to ask our friendly staff if you’d like some expert advice!