Modern plant design gives pride of place to plants with a long-lasting effect, whose intensity and strength are asserted characteristics. Small conifers are magnificent examples of this and are therefore receiving renewed inspiration from gardeners, landscapers and other garden designers.
How to plant conifers indoors
Make an earthy mixture composed equally of very good topsoil, river sand and good topsoil from the garden. Add to this mix a bit of ripe compost. Your soil mixture should be rich. It must be draining to avoid excessive moisture in the winter.
Soak the container in a basin of water at room temperature until it refuses.
Place a layer of grit in the bottom of the pot or bin, covered with a piece of geotextile.
Fill your pot with soil and plant your conifer. Keep a two-centimetre reserve under the rim of the pot or tub for watering.
Water abundantly even in rainy weather. Place your pot on the terrace or balcony on a sunny spot away from strong winds.
The potted conifer likes a regular freshness. Avoid heavy watering that will wash the soil out of the pot, but prefer more frequent watering. Water with a low pressure hose to avoid digging into the soil. Recuperate rainwater, which is ideal for watering conifers.
Conifer maintenance in pots
Water copiously the first summer to ensure recovery. Shower the foliage if the weather is hot and dry, conifers love this refreshment which displeases their main parasites: red spiders. In the following years, fertilize once or twice a year (spring and fall) especially if the subject is in a pot. Prune if necessary in April and late August to reshape the silhouette.
Conifers in pots and the cold
In case of snow, and your conifer is on a balcony, drop it with a broom. The soil in the pot should be moist but not waterlogged. This will increase the effect of frost. For fragile species, bundle the pots away from cold winds.
9 varieties of conifers to be planted indoors
Conifers are the stars of winter. In this season, the gardener is happy to have them in a bed or in a tub on the terrace. Their branches are not bare, and the snow sublimates their port! Philippe Ferret has chosen 10 conifers for you, with a compact and decorative habit.
1. Dwarf black pine
Pinus nigra ‘Pierrick Brégeon’ is a Swiss selection resulting from a witch’s broom, thus a compression of shoots taken from an adult tree then replicated by grafting. This variety thus forms a very compact clump with flexible needles, of a dark green color. The growth is slow, its resistance to drought is proven and its hardiness is evident up to 22°F. Natural cushion growth. Maximum height 30 inches x 4 ft wide in 12 years. Also available grafted on small stem for a miniature tree look.
2. Blue juniper
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ has a compact habit and dense needle-like foliage of metallic blue in all seasons. It will find its place everywhere as long as there is no lack of sunshine. Maximum height 0.50 x 3 ft wide in 15 years.
3. Canadian Spruce
Picea glauca ‘Conica’ is a selected form of this Alberta fir, with small needles. Tight, naturally pyramidal or “sugar loaf” shaped, hence its usual nickname. Tender green ornament during the spring growth and then olive green afterwards. Beware this species is sensitive to red spider attacks in case of prolonged drought.
For supple, moist and fresh soil, in the sun or half-shade. Count 11 ft high by 6 ft wide in 15-20 years. Globe’ is a rounded port version with a maximum height of 20 inches in all directions.
4. Cryptomeria of Japan ‘Vilmoriana’
This beautiful form of Japanese cedar, a conifer usually of high stature and feathery foliage, has given birth to this dwarf form with denser and more compact foliage, forming a small ball. Short green needles, purple red in winter. Expect 1 m in all directions in 20 to 30 years. For sun or semi-shade, in not too calcareous, supple and humiferous soil.
5. Faux cypress of Lawson ‘Ellwood’s Pillar’
The Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwood’s Pillar’ is a superb conifer with dense, yet supple, bluish-grey foliage. Narrow cone-shaped habit 2 m high by 0.70 m wide after 15 years. For sun or light shade in any good garden soil.
6. Norway spruce in the shape of a nest
Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’ has all the characteristics of a fir tree, but its needles are small and its very compact bearing affects a large dense cushion shape. Beautiful green ornament, very fresh at spring budburst. Count 1.50 m high by 4 m wide in 20 to 30 years. For sun or shade, in moist and supple soil.
7. False cypress of Lawson
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Minima Aurea’ is superb in its golden yellow livery with emerald reflections in all seasons. Its branches covered with a non-prickly foliage form large volutes to compose an attractive wide cone. Expect 1 m in all directions in 15-20 years. For luminous situation in any good humus-bearing garden soil.
8. Danica’ Western Red Cedar
It will seduce you with its dense, non-prickly, bright green foliage, somewhat tanned in winter. The branches are arranged on vertical planes. The growth habit is largely globose, reaching 28 inches in all directions in 15-20 years. For sun or semi-shade in any good humus-bearing garden soil.
9. Fake blue Sawara cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’ surprises by the aspect of its branches decorated with feathery foliage, metallic blue with silvery reflections, tinted with purple in winter. The general silhouette is dense and conical, irregular. Average growth with 24 ft high and 12 ft wide in 20 to 25 years.
Conifers are numerous in nature and horticulture has added many varieties. So there is always an exception to any rule concerning conifers. But this also means that there is a conifer for every situation. We present 9 types of conifers to be installed in height