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Colorful Cold-Loving Conifers

While the garden slumbers under a blanket of snow (and you mostly hide out inside), conifers are working hard in winter to keep it interesting in the garden. Shapely shapes decorated with snow and alive with birds and other wildlife seeking shelter and food, you can count on evergreen conifers to bring color, warmth, and life to the winter landscape. From just inches tall to clocking in at 50′ or more, there’s a conifer for every landscape need and garden space. Here’s where to begin!


Along driveways, down slopes and berms, creeping between stone and paver stepping paths, and softening rock gardens, low growing, spreading evergreen conifers solve so many problems that we often forget to remark on how elegant and refined they look in the landscape. When you need something tough and hardy, but also graceful and colorful, check these out.

Blue Chip Juniper
A superior low evergreen shrub that displays beautiful silver-blue foliage on a widely spreading habit. The deer resistant foliage retains its rich color all year long. 1-2' tall by 4-6' wide.

Use: Slopes, rock gardens, edging driveways or any well-drained, sunny location.

Zone: 3 – 9

Sea of Gold® Juniper

We love how the yellow foliage amps up colors of other plants: perfect with purple, wonderful with white, graceful with green. Full sun. Up to 2-3' tall and 3-4' wide.

Use: Foundations, mixed beds, along stone fences.

Zone: 3 – 9

Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper

A dense mound of ground-hugging branches that radiate from the center. Bright green new growth turns a handsome blue-green as it matures. Winter color has a purple tinge. Up to 1-2' tall and 4-6' wide.

Use: Erosion control on slopes and banks. Cascading over walls. Trained into an upright staked specimen

Zone: 4 – 9

Small (up to 6 feet tall)

Whether naturally dwarf or just really slooow growing, evergreen conifers that top out at no tall than 6′ provide the sort of structure and form that makes all of that leafy goodness of surrounding shrubs really shine. Use them in groups in borders, dot the ends of beds or line along walkways as an tough, evergreen solution for year-round good looks.

Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce

Dwarf, flat-topped and densely branched with bright blue needles that hold their color all year long (but brighter in summer). Partial to full sun. Up to 5′ tall, 6′ wide.

Use: Simply stunning specimen but good low hedge, too.

Zone: 2 – 8

Blue Shag Eastern White Pine

N. American native, easy-care conifer has a dense, dwarf habit with short, blue-green needles that are soft to the touch. Partial shade to full sun. Up to 2-3' tall, 4' wide.

Use: Excellent for low hedges, borders, wildlife habitat gardens.

Zone: 3 – 8

Golden Mop Threadleaf False Cypress

Small-to-medium- sized cypress. A ground-hugging mound that is truly mop-like, with stringy leaves that color best in full sun. Can grow cone-shaped. Superior accent to add contrast to dwarf green conifer plantings. Slow-growing. Plant in full sun. Up to 6-8' tall and 4-6' wide.

Use: Tailored to rock gardens and slope plantings as well as Asian garden schemes.

Zone: 4 – 8

Medium (Up to 12 feet tall)

Conifers in the “just right” mid-range size are especially useful in larger borders, but also to add height to the landscape and soften the corners of a house, flank a front door, or frame a feature such as a gate or arbor. This is where you must be vigilant about the eventual mature size. Don’t be the ones who have to prune your conifers into submission, thereby ruining their inherent graceful shape!

Blue Point Juniper

A favorite for stately lawn specimens and tall screens. Glowing blue-green foliage on a densely branched, broad pyramid form that maintains its natural form well with practically no pruning. Full sun. Up to 6-8’ tall and 3-4’ wide.

Use: Clipped topiary forms make a wonderful formal accent in entrances or on patios.

Zone: 4 – 9

Blue Arrow Juniper

An improved selection with tight, bright blue foliage and a very narrow, upright form. Perfect as a tall, narrow screen where space is limited. Makes a colorful addition to the garden. Produces silvery blue berries from late spring to late winter. Full sun. Up to 9-13’ tall and 2’ wide.

Use: Evergreen accent, windbreak, tall screen, large landscape accent.

Zone: 2 – 8

Forever Goldy

An exceptional variety with intense, yellow-gold foliage. A standout among other varieties, as it holds its bright color year-round, even through winter. Thrives in summer heat without burning, if watered regularly. Tight, upright pyramidal form becomes conical with age. Partial to full sun. Up to 6-8’ tall and 2-3’ wide.

Use: Excellent garden specimen or hedging shrub.

Zone: 5 – 8

LARGE: (12’ or taller)

These conifers make for the perfect specimen or privacy screens for your yard, especially for larger properties, and also make for a beautiful backdrop for perennial beds. These conifers grow about 1 foot per year, so be sure to give them enough room when planting.

Weeping Norway Spruce

A choice evergreen with a naturally low growing form composed of weeping branches that trail outward, densely blanketed with rich green needles. Partial to full sun. Up to 20′ tall, 5-10′ wide.

Use: Excellent when trained in a staked form to feature its naturally pendulous form, creating a dramatic evergreen garden specimen.

Zone: 2 – 8

Green Giant Western Aborvitae

One of the finest evergreens for use as screening or a windbreak, this upright conifer is versatile, strong-rooted and virtually disease-free. Its uniform shape seldom needs pruning, but responds well to shearing. Full sun. Up to 20′ tall, 8-12′ wide.

Use: A durable, handsome accent tree.

Zone: 4 – 8

Oregon Green Austrian Pine

Deep, glossy, rich green, stiff needles densely spaced and curved against the branches give the appearance of large pipe cleaners. In the spring there is a firework explosion of pearly white candles that come out in clusters. Full sun. Up to 20-30′ tall, 5-10′ wide.

Use: The unique, more open form with asymmetrical branching creates a striking landscape specimen.

Zone: 4 – 8

Stop by today and we would love to help you select the perfect conifer combination for your landscape! Click here for our store hours and location!

Post adapted with permission from original blogpost by Monrovia.

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