Conifers range from tall, majestic trees to cascading ground cover plants. Some grow rapidly making effective hedges and screens, whilst miniature cultivars are good for rock gardens. Most conifers are evergreen with a range of foliage colour adding form and structure to the garden especially in winter. 


Most conifers are evergreen with scale- or needle-like foliage, in shades of green, grey, silver or gold, as well as variegated combinations. Conifers have seed-bearing cones varying from typical ‘fir cones’ seen in pines to the small berry-like fruit of yew.


Most conifers will grow best in an open sunny position in the ground with moist, but not waterlogged, soil. They can be grown in containers, especially the smaller types, when they are watered regularly to keep the compost moist.


Although many conifers make good hedges, most won’t re-grow if you prune them back into old wood, so trim regularly to keep them looking good. . Most also dislike shade from other plants and waterlogged soils

Did you know?

Many dwarf conifers originate from witches’ brooms, slow-growing mutations triggered by insects or fungi. These clustered growths may be grafted or root cuttings taken to develop new plants that are excellent for small gardens

Growing guide

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.