Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta' / Minuta Canadian hemlock

Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta' may be the most well known of the truly dwarf conifers.It is a very slow growing, irregular dwarf selection of Canadian hemlock with densely arranged shoots and short needles. At maturity a specimen will be only 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) tall and wide after 10 years in the garden, a rate of growth of only 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 - 4 cm) per year.

This cultivar was found in nature in 1927 on the north flank of Vermont's Green Mountains by Daniel M. St. George of Charlotte, Vermont. The mother plant was over 25 years old and 2 feet (60 cm) tall when he encountered it surrounded by 25 other seedlings. He removed some, cultivated them and, over time, distributed them to some of the early American conifer collectors of the period.

Although quite desirable, it may be difficult to find in most garden centers because of its slow growth. Its diminutive size needs the right setting and protection from being easily trampled.

Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta'
Photo by Len Stubenfoll
Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta'
Photo by Henk van Kempen
Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta' — a well-maintained 50 year old specimen at time of photographing.
Photo by Dennis Groh