They may not seem the obvious choice but dwarf conifers live happily alongside other plants in containers, or by themselves as specimens. They are a particularly good idea for year round colour on patios and useful with winter and early spring flowerers, which can then be swapped for summer annuals. Try experimenting with shapes. For example, a prostrate conifer with some taller bulbs or a small pyramidal conifer with something more 'relaxed'. Examples include:
Conifers are excellent planted by water features as the strong shapes of their foliage make wonderful reflections in the water and they don't lose their leaves into it. Use prostrate varieties to cover up the edges of your pond liner.
In the rockery, dwarf and prostrate conifers both have a place, particularly as they provide good weed cover and have so many varieties of shape and colour.
Examples for ponds include:
Examples for rockeries include:
Conifers are a popular choice for hiding an ugly feature such as an oil tank or a garage, not least because they will do the job the whole year round. They also make good hedges and some types can even be clipped into topiary shapes given time. Examples include:
X Cupressocyparis 'Leylandii' may have received a bad press in the last few years, but they are extremely useful and if kept under control, will never get out of hand.
They offer very quick cover-up jobs and can easily reach 3 metres (10ft) high and 1.2 metres (4ft) wide in five years. They come in a variety of different colours ranging from Castlewellan (yellow) to Robinson's Gold (lemon yellow).
Soil preparation for all types of conifers is important and a hole not less than 1m (3ft) across and 23cm (9in) deep should be dug when planting. Add suitable organic material such as garden compost, well-rotted farm manure or spent mushroom compost and mix in before filling around the plant’s roots.
Watering and Feeding
The danger time for establishment of all newly planted conifers is April, May and June it is important to keep a regular check on watering in dry weather watering both foliage and soil. Feeding annually each April with Dried Blood will increase the growth rate but more importantly enhance the colour of the foliage.
Keeping them under control
List of most popular conifers and their uses
What you'll need