ACS Collectors’ Conifer of the Year
2006 to Present
Cedrus atlantica ‘Sapphire Nymph’ – this dwarf, prostrate cultivar has densely packed, small, stiff needles, arranged spirally outward around the stems with the ones at the tip pointing forward and being noticeably smaller. At ten years an unstaked plant is about 10″ high and 30″ wide, but it can be staked and allowed to cascade from a chosen height. Overall, the plant has an appealing prickly texture that is not that sharp to the touch. This non-aggressive, low growing conifer stands out with sparkling, bright silvery-blue color and a distinctive look. Suitable for USDA zones 6-9.
Platycladus orientalis ‘Franky Boy’ -an unusual, fine textured Chinese arborvitae that captivates the eye with its bright yellow, airy, filamentous, upright texture. The yellow is more pronounced in full sun and is also enhanced by the lime green foliage deeper in the plant. When colder weather approaches, the yellow begins transforming to hues of orange-butterscotch and bronze tones. Small, bluish-green cones provide additional interest. This multi-stemmed plant responds well to shearing and a good clipping is recommended to maintain a proliferation of fresh, golden threads. Growth rate is relatively slow, generally 4 to 6 inches per year. In 10 years, it can be expected to be 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide, depending on site conditions and attention from clippers. ‘Franky Boy’ is suitable for USDA zones 5 through 9 and tolerates heat very well. \
Thuja occidentalis ‘IslPrim’ Primo™ – the refined, scale-like foliage twists and turns to provide much textural interest and beauty, resembling that of a Hinoki cypress, rather than an arborvitae. In summer, it is a refreshing, vivid green, which becomes muted in winter. Growth is 2 to 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) a year, USDA Zones 3-8.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Blue Surprise’ — the return of an old favorite, this time on disease-resistant rootstock. ‘Blue Surprise’ maintains its juvenile, upward pointing, prickly-looking foliage, which is soft to the touch. The fine-textured, steel-blue needles are highlighted with silver and take on a purplish cast for the winter. This selection grows between 2 to 6 inches (5 – 15 cm) per year and is approximately 6 feet (2 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide after 10 years. USDA Zones 5 to 7.
Picea pungens ‘Ruby Teardrops’ — a handsome globose cultivar of Colorado spruce with a stunning, colorful display of fresh teal-blue foliage and magenta seed cones each spring. USDA Zones 3 to 8.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Jantar’ — a narrow upright ‘Smaragd’ Arborvitae seedling from Poland with pleasant golden foliage and rich warm amber tones in the winter. USDA Zones 4 to 8.
Gingko biloba ‘Snow Cloud’ — a newly-introduced variegated dwarf Maidenhair tree with creamy yellow-white leaf tips. This one does not appear to revert to full green like many other variegated selections. USDA Zones 4 to 9.
Pinus cembra ‘Herman’ — a selection of Swiss stone pine, often promoted under the trade name of Prairie Statesman, attesting to its origin and to its prominent, refined appearance. ‘Herman’ is an extremely hardy, drought resistant specimen, suitable for harsh,natural or urban settings and yet has an elegant, stately manner. It has a narrow form with a strong central leader and lateral branches which curve upward and inward, allowing it to resist snow loads well. USDA Zones 3 to 7.
Pinus parviflora ‘Tanima-no-yuki’ — “Snow of the Valley” in the Japanese language; this lovely pine of unknown origin produces new growth that elongates in colors of pink, cream and green. The pink fades as the curved needles unfurl and the plant appears to have been flocked or dusted with snow. Intense summer sun can bum the variegated needles so site this where it will be protected from afternoon sun. High, overhead shade is the best in hotter climates. USDA Zones 5 to 7.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Schirrmann’s Nordlicht’ — found as a witch’s broom on M. glyptostroboides ‘White Spot’ by Winfried Schirrmann in Germany. Improperly called ‘North Light’ in the U.S. nursery trade, this selection has bright, cheery foliage and is very much slower growing and more globular than the species, with a 10-year size of about 5 to 6 feet (1.5 – 2m) tall and 3 to 5 feet (1 – 1.6m) wide. Needs regular garden water until established, when it tolerates drier conditions much better. USDA Zones 5 to 8.
Pinus x schwerinii ‘Wiethorst’ — an interspecific hybrid of Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ) and Himalayan white pine (Pinus wallichiana ), first discovered near Berlin, Germany in 1905; it combines the characteristic long, graceful leaf of wallichiana with the superior cold hardiness of strobus. ‘Wiethorst’ is a narrow pyramidal dwarf. USDA Zones 4 to 7.
Abies koreana ‘Kohouts Icebreaker’ — a slow-growing, miniature cultivar originally found as a witch’s broom on Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ by Jörg Kouhout of Prietitz, Germany, in 1998. Like its parent, its curling needles show their silvery undersides, but because it’s a tight, round ball, ‘Kohouts Icebreaker’ provides a more intense silver-white effect in the garden. USDA Zones 5 to 7.
Picea abies ‘Gold Drift’ — this selection of Norway spruce was discovered by Bob Fincham of Coenosium Gardens, Eatonville, Washington as a yellow sport on Picea abies ‘Reflexa’. ‘Gold Drift’s’ new growth is lime green in early spring which becomes a vibrant gold in the late spring and summer sun. The gold persists until winter; the color will become more subdued as the winter season progresses. USDA Zones 3 to 7.
Pinus mugo ‘Carstens’ — a slow-growing, compact, broadly globose form of mugo pine. It develops intense bright yellow color as the cold weather intensifies. USDA Zones 2 to 7.
Cunninghamia konishii ‘Little Leo’ — a miniature selection of Taiwan coffin fir with a flattened, round, pin cushion form and a ground-hugging habit. ‘Little Leo’ performs well in USDA Zones 7 to 9 and under hot, humid conditions.
Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Picola’ — this variety of Japanese umbrella pine features short, deep-green needles and dwarf, pyramidal stature. In10 years it will only be 2 feet (60 cm) tall and 1.5 feet (50 cm) wide. It is adaptable in USDA Zones 5 to 7.
Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’ — a small Cypriot cedar with the unique combination of tiny needles and an upright miniature tree-like habit. USDA Zones 7 to 9.
Picea abies ‘Wichtel’ — a witch’s broom found on P. abies ‘Humilis’ in the United Kingdom. Growth is a fraction of an inch per year; a true miniature in the realm of conifers. USDA Zones 3 to 7.
Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman’ —a compact Japanese white pine which features soft silvery blue twisted needles. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’ — an interesting form of Hinoki Cypress with a unique, sculpted growth habit; no two plants will be alike. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Ginkgo biloba ‘Mariken’ — a dwarf, witch’s broom form of Maidenhair tree which assumes the shape of a flattened sphere. The growth is compact but the leaves are of typical size. Look for rich golden yellow color in the fall. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
Larix decidua ‘Puli’ — a selection of European larch which produces light green, lacy foliage, cascading in beautiful curtains across rocks or down a slope. In the fall this curtain will become vivid golden yellow before shedding its needles in late fall. Hardy to USDA Zone 2.
Taxodium distichum ‘Pevé Minaret’ — this Bald cypress is slow growing with a dwarf, upright form. It’s foliage is soft, dense and dark green in color. It can tolerate the extreme summer heat of a southern garden and winter cold in the north. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Pinus heldreichii ‘Smidtii’ — a very dwarf form of Bosnian pine, featuring bright green needles which are dense and are about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. A ten year old plant may be 12 inches (30 cm) tall and wide. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
Pinus strobus ‘Niagara Falls’ — a weeping form of Eastern white pine, featuring a dense, full appearance with numerous branches. Hardy to USDA Zone 3.
Picea pungens ‘The Blues’ — a weeping form of Colorado spruce, featuring powdery blue needles. The tree wants to grow horizontally and mounding; it must be staked to gain vertical height. Hardy to USDA Zone 2.
Picea abies ‘Pusch’ — a witch’s broom found on P. abies ‘Acrocona’. This miniature only grows an inch or two (2.5 – 4 cm) a year. It features bright magenta-red cones that emerge in early spring. It is hardy to USDA Zone 3 and grows well in full sun to partial shade.
Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ — a narrow upright, strictly weeping form of Serbian Spruce. It features bi-colored needles and was first introduced by Bruns Nursery of Germany in 1955. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Picea orientalis ‘Tom Thumb Gold’ — a selection of Caucasian spruce which grows to a dense, low mound with radiating tiny twigs bearing numerous short bright golden-yellow needles at the outer tips. This miniature spruce was found as a baseball-sized witch’s broom on P. orientalis ‘Skylands’. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Ogon’ (aka ‘Gold Rush’) — a fast-growing pyramidal tree. This dawn redwood features fern-like golden-yellow foliage for most of the year until it turns orange and falls from the tree like other deciduous conifers. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Picea glauca var. albertiana ‘Pixie Dust’ — a dwarf form of Alberta spruce. Its striking yellow new growth contrasts dramatically with the deep green mature foliage. Hardy to USDA Zone 3.