Dwarf Conifers in Atlanta
Q: I want to enhance a relative’s front garden by adding a few dwarf conifers. Can you recommend dwarf conifers that will do well in Atlanta?
A: The phrase “dwarf conifers” seems simple but things get complicated fast. An online search for dwarf conifers yields many that simply cannot tolerate Atlanta summers. In addition, many that are called “dwarf ” might not fit your own size constraints. Some species have different varieties that are more or less dwarf and more or less tolerant of our weather. Karin Guzy, chair of The Cobb Land Trust, has been experimenting with dwarf conifers since 1989. She recommends dwarf Alberta spruce ‘Pixie Dust’, Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Nana’, Chamaecyparis pigmaea ‘China Hibe’, and the elegant, ground-covering Microbiota decussata, called Siberian Cypress. You can also visit the conifer section of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, abg.org, to see what has succeeded there. The American Conifer Society, conifersociety.org, lists several public gardens in Georgia that they use as reference gardens for conifers that thrive in the Southeast. Don’t forget that most conifers grow best in full sun and in soil that drains quickly. Loosen the soil thoroughly in a wide area around each plant.