Conifers are ancient plants that include the likes of cedars, cypresses, pines, redwoods, hemlocks, and others. They have existed on this planet for over 300 million years and are as popular today as they have ever been. When dinosaurs roamed the earth, conifers were abundant, and remain so presently. It's extraordinary that we are still selling a huge number of conifers at Gardeners Dream today! Here's why you should consider them for your garden, along with ferns, shrubs, and all manner of interesting plants. Year-Round Colour A great way to create year-round interest in the garden is to plant conifers. These evergreen trees provide green colour all year and can even provide bursts of other colours when they produce berries and cones. This in-depth guide breaks down everything you need to know about conifers; The best types to grow in the UK How to grow a healthy conifer Planting conifers close together in hedges and coniferous forests Restrictions the UK government has put on evergreen trees. Buy today and get free UK delivery.
Conifers are cone bearing evergreen trees.
They are native to the cooler areas of the northern hemisphere and cover the taiga range (a band of land that loops around the world). They prefer to grow in areas where the temperature doesn't get too hot.
If you travel south towards the equator, you will find conifers growing on mountains because the altitude keeps the temperature cool enough for them to thrive.
Conifers have needle like leaves and produce cones and berries. They're also popular at Christmas time, making the perfect real Christmas tree.
The most popular types of conifer plants are;
There are also other types, and we explore these further down. At Gardener's Dream we have a huge selection of conifers so be sure to check out our store! There's free delivery on all our trees, no matter how big or small.
If you don't want to wait for your conifers to grow, you can plant mature conifers. This is particularly useful if you're looking for cover in your garden, such as a hedge.
You should pick your conifer type according to how you want them to grow. For example, if you don't want your conifer getting too large you can choose to grow dwarf trees instead of pruning a full-size conifer. Conifers are known for reaching heights that can sometimes be staggering.
Gardener's Dream stock and deliver mature plants so you can enjoy your tree immediately.
These conifers are also known as Abies grandis and grow well in Scotland (particularly the Highlands).
If you're looking to plant grand firs, you should be aware they can grow extremely tall (up to 100m) and you should make sure you're cutting it back when necessary.
Conifer plants have all the attributes of conifer trees such as foliage with needle like appearance and pines/cones. The most popular conifer plants in the UK are;
Monkey Puzzle Tree
The monkey puzzle tree is an extremely popular conifer plant in the UK and is much-loved for its unusual look and manageable size. It has branches and a structure that looks very different from how you might imagine a conifer would look.
Gardener's Dream stocks the amazing and interesting monkey puzzle tree as well as the other wonderful conifer plants mentioned above.
There are many variants of spruce to choose from and they provide an interesting focal point to your garden. Like the monkey puzzle tree, they aren't always instantly recognisable as conifers and the branches and structure are enchanting. Spruce plants are perfect for landscape gardening and can fill empty spaces in a no fuss way.
The best spruce plants are;
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Dragon Spruce (Picea asperata)
White Spruce (Picea glauca)
Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
It is probably impossible to list the total number of spruce types but rest assured, Gardener's Dream stocks a full range to choose from!
Many conifers are instantly recognisable. We often associate them as having distinctive fir/pine shapes with narrow trunks and branches that are softwood. The truth is that conifer plants are widely varied, some have fused scales, others have unusual bark.
You will notice many conifers have an aromatic quality and many air fresheners make use of pine needles. If you want that extra burst of sensory joy, adding conifers and enjoying the aromatic characteristics is a perfect solution.
Discover our range of conifers at Gardener's Dream, you will be surprised at some of the unusual and exciting large trees you come across!
Conifers make excellent real Christmas trees and can be grown in pots outside, then bought inside for Christmas.
Providing you look after your conifer when you have moved it inside, you should be able to use it year on year. Most real Christmas Trees are coniferous, but some have been specially adapted to prevent the needles dropping as much. With respect to the needle like leaves you will find that a traditional conifer will shed needles.
You may need to tidy up a little more than usual over the Christmas period. Check out our Picea glauca Conica as a Christmas Tree idea for this year.
Creating a coniferous hedge in the UK will require active maintenance - if it is reaching heights over 2m you will need to cut it back - see below section on restrictions.
For many, however, despite the restrictions, an evergreen or semi-evergreen hedge is very attractive as it provides year-round shelter, cover and privacy.
To plant a hedge, you can plant seeds in a row or use mature conifers. Planting established conifers will allow you to create the boundary much more quickly. We have lots of pot-grown ornamental trees to choose from too.
If you own a smallholding and have space for a forest area, you might consider planting a coniferous forest.
You should check that the area is contained and away from neighbouring properties as it can become a nuisance if other people are affected by it. You don't need much space to create a coniferous forest and even an acre of land will be sufficient. Coniferous forests can also be used commercially, providing timber and even real Christmas trees.
If you don't have space for a forest, don't worry! We also have a range of small garden trees that are ideal for tight spaces.
In the UK, there are rules governing how evergreens (which conifers fall under) can be grown.
This is mainly to prevent your neighbours losing light in their gardens but is also there to prevent damage to property. If you have two or more evergreens that form a line it is considered a 'hedge'.
Under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (p8) you mustn't grow any hedges (see above) over the height of 2 metres. Failing to do so can result in an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) and many gardeners have fallen foul of this act.
There are other laws in place as well - specifically around wildlife.
Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 stipulates it an offense to intentionally damage or destroy a wild bird's nest while it is being built or used - so make sure you check your hedges and trees carefully before trimming!
For shorter plants for your garden, take a look at our range of shrubs here at Gardeners Dream.
If you're looking for planting advice you have come to the right place! Conifers are supplied in one of four ways - seeds, bare root, pot-growth and mature trees. Seeds can be planted any time of the year when planting them in pots indoors. Simply plant your seeds in the pot, give them a water and place them on the windowsill and what them grow.
Pot growth indoors is also possible, providing that the conifer has adequate light, and the temperature isn't too warm - remember they are temperature sensitive plants.
Planting outdoors is a little more tricky - but still relatively easy.
You can keep pot grown plants on the patio and providing they have light and well-drained soil; they should grow well. Once the pot-grown plants have reached a good size you can transplant the plants into the ground, using compost to help them adjust to their new home.
Conifers are best planted in early autumn, and you should avoid planting them during the winter when the ground is frozen. You can still plant during the spring or summer though - which is handy if you're looking to plant a hedge before your summer BBQs.
Conifers will struggle to bed in during the winter or if the ground is frozen or snow covered. Make sure you get them in beforehand - that way you can enjoy the snow-covered branches instead!
To start your shop for new conifers and other garden plants, browse the full range at Gardeners Dream.
When shopping for conifers it can be tempting to visit your local garden centre, but this isn't always the best idea. Local garden centres have limited stock, for example they may only have one or two conifers of each species, and if they haven't looked after them well, you could be buying poor quality plants.
Gardener's Dream keeps a broad stock across all species and genus and our plants are hand-selected by our gardening enthusiasts before they are shipped to you!
What's more, we ship anywhere in the UK and offer free delivery, so you can cut down on those fuel prices and spend more time in your garden. Explore our range of garden plants and house plants at Gardener's Dream today.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about conifer trees and how they do in nature.
Conifers don't like warm climates and if you're in the south or south-east of England, you might find your conifer struggles to grow. This makes conifers a little trickier than most in terms of where to plant them.
For example, they can grow very well in full sun areas as long as the sun isn't warm - a conifer planted in a full sun location in Scotland will be fine.
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of a conifer is that they don't grow tremendously well in full shade, they need light to grow properly. You should consider the temperature of the location and ensure your garden receives adequate light.
The key consideration for conifer growth is temperature. The cooler the location the better but don't be tempted to tuck your conifers into dark or small spaces. Conifers love light and need space to spread and grow.
Fortunately, conifers grow more vertically than they do horizontally so you can plant conifers in areas where other trees would grow poorly because they don't have space to spread.
Conifers are extremely fast growers, and a healthy conifer can easily grow 3 to 5 feet a year. In good growing conditions it is not unusual for conifers to reach 90 feet over a 25-year period.
With an average lifespan over half a century, you should really be careful with planting conifers as they can reach monumental heights. If you're concerned about light reaching the floor of your garden, you might want to opt for a more manageable and less substantial tree.
Why not take a look at our range of perennials at Gardeners Dream instead?