09 Oct 2018
There are many articles at this time of year heading into autumn and winter regaling the assets of autumn and winter colour in shrubs - but let us not forget the humble conifer and what excellent foliage colour they can bring to the party at this time of year.
Lower light levels and misty mornings make a winter interest conifer stand out from the crowd. Many conifers get better winter colour in colder weather adding to their overall appeal.
There are a plethora of shapes, forms, colours, textures and eventual heights to select from so research into what you are looking for beforehand. Conifers are to be celebrated and planted in amongst borders rather than used solely as hedging plants, for which they are most valuable of course. There are some conifer options highlighted in our Hedging Booklet.
Some Conifers are great for so called problem areas - clay soils or acid soils which can be seen on our factsheets here: Plants for Clay Soils Factsheet & Plants for Acid Soils and low pH Tolerant Plants Factsheet
So, on a dull day with a slither of autumn sunshine some conifers caught my eye and we thought we would highlight a few options for you below;
A particular favourite at the moment is the totally tactile Pinus x schwerinii ‘Wiethorst’ which is so incredibly soft to touch that hang downwards and are so light that they swing in the lightest of breezes. The needles are almost two-tone in colour. This lovely beast has a conical habit and reaches a height of 2.5-3m and so is easily able to be happily mixed with other plants.
Another tactile conifer with t completely different habit and needle formation is Chamaecyparis obtusa Nana Gracilis which is perfect for containers due to its very compact conical habit. This little hobbit of a conifer has been popular for over a century with small whorls of dark green foliage with lighter tips in a scallop shell-like formation.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Jantar’ has brilliant yellow foliage in the summer that takes on a warmer amber hue in the winter. The sprays are flattened and are produced at differing angles adding to the foliage texture. Great for use in the ground and in containers this is a conifer for all seasons.
On the steel blue side of things let’s talk Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’ which has a dense conical habit with vivid glaucous blue that look almost fluorescent in winter light. Perfect for planting in borders where its conical habit and steely blue foliage act as an excellent foils for other plants this blue beauty will reach up to 4m in height but will take it’s time in getting there.
Pinus x schwerinii Wiethorst
Chamaecyparis obtusa Nana Gracilis
Thuja occidentalis Jantar
Picea pungens Hoopsii