The Best Conifers for Your Yard

Conifers lend a sense of year-round beauty and structure to your landscape. Here are some of our favorite picks.

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  • Silver Korean Fir

    This is one of the most stunning evergreens we've ever seen. Silver Korean fir offers a dense, beautiful habit and white-bottomed needles that curl up toward the stem. This gives the tree a decidedly flocked appearance year-round.

    Name: Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 30 feet tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Grow It Because: You love the unique silvery effect and soft needles.

  • Weeping White Pine

    An absolutely graceful tree, weeping white pine looks like a waterfall of beautiful blue-green needles. It's especially effective grown over a sturdy arbor or other structure to create a curtain effect. Plus, it's a widely adaptable tree and native to areas of North America.

    Name: Pinus strobus 'Pendula'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: As tall as it's supported; unsupported it grows like a groundcover

    Zones: 4-9

    Grow It Because: You love its long, soft needles and the weeping or groundcover quality it has.

  • Dwarf Blue Spruce

    Loved for its beautiful silvery blue color, dwarf blue spruce is a good choice for small-space landscapes. Many selections reach no more than 8 feet tall and wide.

    Name: Picea pungens 'Montgomery'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 10 feet

    Zones: 3-8

    Grow It Because: You love the blue color and dwarf size.

  • Japanese Umbrella Pine

    A pine look-alike, this beautiful evergreen has shiny, dark green needles and a spire-like habit. It's an uncommon and unusual choice to add a slightly different look to the landscape.

    Name: Sciadopitys verticillata

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow up to 30 feet tall

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It Because: You want something easy, but a little different.

  • Contorted White Pine

    One of the most unique pines in the landscape, contorted white pine offers twisted branches and needles, casting a distinct silhouette. It also offers a small footprint, growing about 10 feet wide at maturity.

    Name: Pinus strobus 'Contorta'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 50 feet or more

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It Because: You like the interesting effect the branches and needles have.

  • Golden Korean Fir

    Most conifers have a golden selection that's either love it or leave it. Golden Korean fir is a standout among these varieties; it offers flat needles with a decidedly golden-green hue.

    Name: Abies koreana 'Aurea'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 30 feet tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Grow It Because: You like the soft needles and golden color.

  • Bristlecone Pine

    Famous for its exceptionally long life, bristlecone pine is also exceptionally beautiful. This gem is extremely slow growing and offers blue-green needles with flecks of white resin. It's native to areas of North America.

    Name: Pinus aristata

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: Very slow growing to 30 feet

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It Because: You like its interesting nature, slow growth, and drought resistance.

  • Dwarf Alberta Spruce

    A favorite for its dense growth, small needles, and nearly perfect cone-shape habit, dwarf Alberta spruce is widely and easily grown. It's native to areas of North America, too.

    Name: Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow up to 20 feet tall

    Zones: 3-6

    Grow It Because: You like the dense growth habit.

  • Mugo Pine

    A landscaper's dream, there are hundreds of mugo pine varieties. Most offer rich, deep green needles that stay looking great all year and a compact mounded habit.

    Name: Pinus mugo

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 10 feet

    Zones: 3-7

    Grow It Because: You like the small size.

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    Japanese White Pine

    A tree of exceptional beauty, Japanese white pine offers clusters of silvery blue needles and a wonderful habit that looks especially good in winter.

    Name: Pinus parviflora

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 80 feet

    Zones: 6-9

    Grow It Because: You like the blue-green needles and the tree's unique shape.

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    Blue Star Juniper

    Among the thousands of junipers, 'Blue Star' stands out for its silvery color and dense, ground-hugging habit.

    Name: Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 16 inches tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Grow It Because: You want a silvery-blue groundcover.

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    Eastern White Pine

    We think this is one of the most beautiful pines. It offers long, soft, blue-green needles and is adaptable to a range of conditions. It's native to areas of North America, so it's a great choice for wildlife gardens.

    Name: Pinus strobus

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow up to 125 feet tall

    Zones: 4-9

    Grow It Because: You want a highly adaptable pine with long, soft needles.

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    Blue Spruce

    The more grown up version of dwarf blue spruce, this tree offers gorgeous blue color and prickly needles. A large number of varieties is available, including columnar forms.

    Name: Picea pungens f. glauca

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 50 feet

    Zones: 3-8

    Grow It Because: You like the silvery-blue color.

  • 14 of 19

    Frasier Fir

    A top landscape tree, as well as a favorite Christmas tree, Frasier fir offers beautiful dark green needles and a wonderful pyramidal shape. Another bonus: This tree is native to Eastern North America.

    Name: Abies fraseri

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow up to 40 feet tall

    Zones: 4-7

    Grow It Because: You like the soft, dark green needles and Christmas-tree shape.

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    Hinoki Cypress

    For a dense screen, you can't go wrong with Hinoki cypress. This tree offers deep green foliage and a wonderful horizontal branching habit.

    Name: Chamaecyparis obtusa

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 80 feet

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It Because: You like the dense habit and dark green color.

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    Balsam Fir

    Native to areas of Northern North America, balsam fir is a top-notch choice because of its wonderful woodsy scent, dark green needles, and purplish-blue cones.

    Name: Abies balsamea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow up to 60 feet tall

    Zones: 3-6

    Grow It Because: You like the soft, dark green needles and Christmas-tree shape.

  • 17 of 19

    Canadian Hemlock

    Another evergreen at the top of our most graceful list, Canadian hemlock has arching, almost feathery new growth. It's also a winner because it doesn't mind a bit of shade.

    Name: Tsuga canadensis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 80 feet

    Zones: 4-7

    Grow It Because: You want an evergreen that thrives in part shade.

  • 18 of 19

    Dawn Redwood

    We admit we're cheating a bit on this one: Dawn redwood offers feathery green needles that look gorgeous in spring and summer. In autumn, they turn russet red and then drop, exposing the tree's delightfully architectural branching habit.

    Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: Varieties can grow as tall as 150 feet

    Zones: 5-10

    Grow It Because: You want something unique with good fall color -- and you don't mind that it loses its needles each winter.

  • Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

    Our Favorite Small Trees

    Small trees can pack a big punch into your landscape. Here are some of our editors' favorite varieties.
    Begin Slideshow »
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