Are you thinking of getting a dwarf pine tree for your garden? There are some amazing specimens that you might like to look at, but which are the best options?
Some of the best examples of dwarf pine trees that you can grow yourself are the Blue Weeping Colorado Spruce, the Pumila Norway Spruce, the Chalet Swiss Stone Pine, and the Dwarf Serbia Spruce. You might also like the Hinoki Cypress or the Dwarf Pencil Point Juniper.
There are many different dwarf pine trees that you can use to make your backyard look like a magical fairyland, so let’s explore some of the top options in more detail.
Top 15 Dwarf Pine Trees To Grow At Home
You aren’t short of choices when it comes to selecting a dwarf pine, and some are small enough to grow in pots and containers on your patio or balcony, while others may need to be in the garden. Most like to have plenty of light, so it’s not advisable to try growing them indoors, even if they are in a container.
You have a whole range of choices, including:
- Dwarf Balsam Fir Tree (Abies balsamea ‘Nana’)
- Dwarf Scotch Pine Tree (Pinus sylvestris ‘Green Penguin’)
- Pumila Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pumila’)
- Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’)
- Upright Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’)
- Dwarf Globe Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
- Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca albertiana ‘Conica’)
- Dwarf Pencil Point Juniper (Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’)
- Dwarf Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’)
- Dwarf Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika ‘Nana’)
- Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
- Miniature Moss False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrosa Minima’)
- Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
- Chalet Swiss Stone Pine (Pinus cembra ‘Chalet’)
- The Blues Weeping Colorado Spruce Tree (Picea pungens ‘The Blues’)
Any of these would be lovely for your garden, so let’s explore their pros and cons in a little more detail.
1. Dwarf Balsam Fir Tree (Abies balsamea ‘Nana’)
The Dwarf Balsam Fir Tree is an immensely popular tree that is low maintenance, attractive, and ideal for small spaces. It can be grown in USDA zones 3-6, and it prefers to be positioned in a sunny spot, with well-draining soil.
It has a round shape and is a slow-growing plant. Once mature, it can enjoy a spread of about 75 cm, and a height of around 60 cm, so it’s a nice size for filling in spaces and making your garden green. It will give you year-round foliage, so it makes an ideal screen, too.
2. Dwarf Scotch Pine Tree (Pinus sylvestris ‘Green Penguin’)
When fully mature, this tree could reach about 6 feet tall. While bigger than the Dwarf Balsam, it’s still wonderfully compact, and should fit well into most gardens. It is a particularly hardy option that will grow happily in USDA zones 3-7, and it can tolerate low temperatures.
This tree needs minimal maintenance and no pruning, so it’s great for people who don’t want to commit too much time tending to the tree. It will naturally shape itself.
3. Pumila Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pumila’)
If you’d rather have a pine tree that’s more shrub-shaped, the Pumila Norway Spruce is an ideal option. It has a much rounder shape, rather like a cushion, which makes it attractive in many different settings. It usually grows to around 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide, and it likes plenty of sun, but cool temperatures.
This tree has attractive, bright green needles and makes for excellent ground cover. It needs no pruning, and it is generally considered an easy tree that gains just a few inches of growth per year. Many people use this specimen for creating attractive rock gardens.
4. Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’)
If you want a unique and amazingly slender tree, the green arrow is an ideal option, with dark foliage that cascades down. It is among the narrowest dwarf trees, often only measuring around 1 foot at its base.
This makes it perfect for slotting into small spaces, although it can reach an impressive 20 feet tall, or sometimes even taller. It’s still considered a dwarf, but be aware of its height if you choose to plant it. It can be extremely striking because of the contrast between its width and its height.
It doesn’t need pruning, and it will grow in full sun, partial shade, and almost any kind of soil, so it’s suitable for a range of gardens.
5. Upright Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’)
This unusual tree produces a V shape with its bushy foliage, and it makes an excellent screen if you want to block off your backyard from prying eyes. Its branches grow vertically, so it’s another narrow tree.
Some of these trees flower and the females are also capable of producing small fruits like plums – as the name suggests.
6. Dwarf Globe Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
A true dwarf, this tree usually only reaches about 5 feet tall at the most. It has flat needles that form highly attractive feathery tendrils. It makes an excellent plant for borders or corners, and it will grow in USDA zones 2-8, so it’s flexible and hardy.
It usually only reaches about 2 feet wide, so it should fit well into even a small space, although it does prefer full sun.
7. Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca albertiana ‘Conica’)
The Dwarf Alberta Spruce can reach an impressive 12 feet tall, but you needn’t worry about this tree outgrowing your garden – because it usually takes about 30 years for it to reach this sort of height.
It has an attractive, conical shape, and it will grow in a container if you provide one large enough. You can prune it to shape the foliage if you would prefer.
8. Dwarf Pencil Point Juniper (Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’)
If that doesn’t appeal, the Dwarf Pencil Point Juniper is a good option, with dense foliage and branches. It’s another narrow tree and has attractive bark with a red coloration. It will grow to about 5 feet tall and a foot across, and it can withstand low temperatures, so it’s an excellent choice for a cold environment.
Planting these trees in a long row makes for a highly attractive display of greenish-gray. They don’t require much pruning but be aware that the tree can cause skin irritation, as its sap is mildly toxic.
9. Dwarf Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’)
A tree with fragrant foliage, this is like a perfect miniature of the non-dwarf version and will grow to about 2 meters high at the most. It can get pretty wide, reaching around 4 meters, so be aware of that and choose your space accordingly.
It’s another hardy option and prefers a position with plenty of sunlight. The needles are long and attractive, and it’s a pleasing, rich green color. Plant it in well-drained soil of any kind; it isn’t fussy about its growing conditions.
10. Dwarf Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika ‘Nana’)
This tree will reach around 5 feet tall, and could get to around 5 feet wide at the base. It will naturally form a conical shape with no need to prune it, and it is a hardy tree that can survive temperatures as low as 40 degrees F.
It only gains a few inches of growth each year, so be aware that it’s a slow grower, and will not fill a space particularly quickly. However, it provides dense foliage that will make a nice screen, or simply add a splash of greenery to your garden.
11. Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
A slow-growing option, the Dwarf Hinoki Cypress will usually only reach between 3 and 6 feet, although some only get to around 1 foot tall. It can take up to ten years to reach its maximum height, or sometimes even longer.
This is a flexible tree for any garden, and it has rich green foliage that is bursting with color. The needles are soft and the tree prefers well-drained soil, with some sun and some shade.
12. Miniature Moss False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrosa Minima’)
If you want a compact tree, the Miniature Moss False Cypress may be the best for you. This tree reaches around 5 feet at most and has attractive silvery foliage that tends to grow in a rounded shape.
Many people love adding this tree to rock gardens, as it is tolerant of multiple types of soil, although it does not like to get dried out. It will tolerate some cold, down to USDA zone 4, but not lower, or it is at risk of freezing and dying. You can also grow it in a container if you prefer.
13. Mugo pine (Pinus mugo)
If the shrub-like nature of the False Cypress appealed to you, you might also love the Mugo pine. It has short branches and also only reaches around 3 to 5 feet tall at the most. Its spread will also be between 3 and 5 feet.
This means that it should fit almost anywhere in your garden. It prefers to be grown in USDA zones 3-7, it’s cold hardy and prefers partial shade to full sun. Make sure you provide it with a little cover for hot, sunny days.
14. Chalet Swiss Stone Pine (Pinus cembra ‘Chalet’)
This pine is a slow grower, with long needles and dense foliage. It likes full sunlight and loamy soils, so position it with care to ensure it stays healthy. As the name suggests, this is a Swiss tree, and very tolerant of cold weather, so it’s ideal if your winters are harsh.
It prefers zones 3-7, so it isn’t as hardy as some of the options on this list, but it’s still fairly tough. It likes sandy soil that drains well, and it can grow to around 8 feet tall at the most. Many people use it to frame doorways because it is tall and narrow.
15. The Blues Weeping Colorado Spruce Tree (Picea pungens ‘The Blues’)
If you want to breathe a touch of silvery magic into your garden, this tree might be the perfect option for you. It has rich, silver-gray foliage that tumbles down toward the ground. It will grow in a container, and this can be a great way to limit its growth. It will otherwise reach a natural height of around 10 feet.
The tree prefers full sun, damp soil and will tolerate USDA zones 2-8, so it’s an excellent, hardy option for your garden.
As you can see, there is an enormous range of different dwarf pine trees that you can grow at home. Some are suitable for growing in containers, although the larger specimens will do much better if they are grown in the ground. Do a bit of research so you know what conditions your tree prefers before planting it.