Low Growing Conifers

Used widely in the UK as ground cover plants and in rock gardens low growing conifers are a useful addition to any garden. Many shrubs and bushes such as Junipers are available in low growing or 'prostrate' forms.

Juniperus squamata Blue-Star'Some Taxus cultivars such as Taxus media "Fairview" will reach less than 4ft. Taxus baccata 'Repandens' or 'Spreading English Yew' is another useful low growing conifer. Thuja occidentalis 'Globosa' is another excellent plant.

Low growing conifers are used widely both for the the landscaping value of the foliage as well as being well suited as ground cover plants. The Low growing Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' is pictured right.

Many conifers will grow in dry shade and plants such as Juniperus recurva 'Nana' with its spreading habit will reach less than 30cm in most conditions.

Juniperus Horizontalis Glauca with its dark blue green foliage works well as a ground cover or as a cascading plant. Taxus baccata 'Repandens' or 'Spreading English Yew' is another excellent low growing plant.

Thuja occidentalis 'Globosa' is one of a number of Thuja species that are low growing.

Used widely in rock gardens, to act as features in the border and as ground cover plants for larger public spaces low growing conifers are a versatile and hardy plant well worth consideration.

Pinus MugoMany low growing or prostrate' species are also suitable for growing in pots or containers.

Pinus mugo 'Pumilio' is another low growing conifer, really a 'dwarf' species, pictured right.

Foliage varies from Dark Green through to Blues and Yellows and with a range of cultivars and species to choose from including General Conifer species, Abies, Taxus, Junipers, Pinus and Thuja

Low growing Conifers for Shade

The two types of low growing or dwarf conifers best suited to shade are Taxus and Chamaecyparis. Taxus cuspidata or the Japanese spreading Yew has a few forms that are suited, Taxus cuspidata 'nana' being the best form.A variation is the Taxus cuspidata 'nana aurescens' with attractive golden fo liage, and 'emerald spreader is another'.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ' nana gracilis' and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'gnome' are two other low growing conifers for shade.

Remember that we are looking at part shade, or dappled shade, dense shade is probably not the best situation

John Allman 

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