Needled evergreens come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Check out the conifers that are suitable for your site.
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Shade to partial shade
There are several conifers that are great for a shady location.
- Hemlocks (Tsuga, hardy to USDA Zones 3-8), come in a variety of forms and colors providing lots of choices. Many do well in sun with moist soils but most tolerate shade extremely well. One of my favorites is 'Jeddeloh', a dwarf and prostrate types growing three feet tall by five feet wide with a subtle depression like a bird's nest in the center. The irregular, upright form of 'Jervis' make it a distinctive selection that, after 30 years, may only be 2-1/2 feet tall. New growth tips are often twisted and grow at odd angles, giving the plant an unusual texture.
Sunny, hot, dry site
For sun and heat, you can't go wrong using juniper (Juniperus, hardy to USDA Zones 4 to 9), spruce (Picea, hardy to USDA Zones 2 to 7) and cypress (Cupressus, hardy to USDA Zones 7 to 10). All offer selections with varied growth habits and foliage colors. They will thrive in a moist but well-drained soil but are quite adaptable to dry sites.
- A great vertical and slender juniper for the hot sun is J. communis 'Gold Cone'. It has striking bright-golden-yellow foliage in spring and summer and grows to just three to four feet tall by 12 inches wide in 10 years. 'Compressa' is also a wonderful dwarf selection (18 inches tall by six inches wide) with light green foliage. 'Berkshire' is a true miniature, growing to just eight inches tall by a foot wide. It forms a dense, bun-shaped mound growing green in the summer and turning bronze in the winter.
- J. procumbens 'Nana' is an outstanding groundcover type juniper growing 8 inches tall by five feet wide. It forms a spreading mat of bright, apple green foliage which turns slightly purple in the winter.