CONIFERS

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Afrocarpus (Podocarpus) falcatus UCSC95.340 - OUTENIQUA YELLOWWOOD
$14
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1

This is one of the largest and most special trees from southern Africa, as well as one of the largest growing members of the Podocarpaceae family. Although it can reach 180' in the wild after hundreds of years, it is usually seen in gardens as a slightly irregular yet tidy tree to 30 - 50' tall with conical form and billowy masses of soft green foliage. On older trees you may get smooth, flaky peeling bark. It is very easily grown in sun or shade. This clone of A. falcatus was noted to have thriven at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, growing to an impressive tree size in zone 7 North Carolina. It sounds exciting, but we have to admit that hasn't exactly translated to great performance for us in the Pacific Northwest as our plants had some damage when the temperature dropped below 20°F. Whatever, we thought it was worth a shot. If your garden is sheltered be really adventurous, or else try it as a beautiful and trouble-free container plant.

Araucaria araucana - MONKEY PUZZLE TREE
$16
Araucariaceae · Drought resistance code 2 - 3 · Hardy to about -10 to -15°F

This fabulous tree ought to require no introduction, as it is so distinctive that even your non-gardening friend who can't tell a tree from a cell phone tower knows what to call it. I suspect the Sequim and Port Angeles areas may have more of these trees per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Said to look "just as out of place in its Chilean homeland as it does in British gardens" (that, of course, is a compliment), its gigantic symmetrical sprays of dark green, spiny branches arch downwards then turn up towards the sky at their tips. Sexes are separate; female trees produce big round cones that can drop and whack unsuspecting pedestrians on the head, but more commonly disintegrate gradually on the tree. It prefers a position in half to full sun; and, while it endures drought and poor soil once established, it grows far more quickly if watered regularly and mulched: some of the best specimens in the Northwest are in areas of high rainfall such as near the coast and in the Cascade foothills. Much hardier to cold than commonly believed, it has proven successful in Weed, California and even reached 20' tall in Kennewick, Washington. Try it in Salt Lake City. There have also been a few scattered reports of it achieving treehood in the mid-Atlantic region where it seems somewhat of a "holy grail" plant.

 
Cephalotaxus harringtonia - JAPANESE PLUM-YEW
New Fall 2013!
$12
Taxaceae · Drought resistance code 2 · Hardy to about -10°F

For the collector of "prehistoric" looking conifers, this uncommon yew relative has long, deep green needles held on long, spreading branches. Generally a slow grower, it makes a large, rounded shrub or eventually even a small tree after a great many years. It tolerates deep shade or quite a bit of sun in climates that are not too hot.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana [blue form] - PORT ORFORD CEDAR
$9
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 3 · Hardy to about -10°F

One of the Northwest's most special native conifers, this large tree has a restricted distribution in nature, in southwest Oregon and northern California. Although it is very hardy and not difficult to grow, it remains surprisingly hard to find in nurseries; other than dwarf cultivars, which are quite numerous. Here we offer a blue form which is probably 'Pembury Blue' or some such cultivar, but we are just offering it as "blue form" since we are not absolutely certain of the cultivar. It makes a great hedge or even a focal point in the garden as the blue color is beautiful. Port Orford Cedar needs average to good drainage and mulch, as it sometimes has problems on heavy soils. It should be in at least half sun for the best color, and is excellent for coastal gardens.

 
Cupressus duclouxiana var. austro-tibetica
New Fall 2013!
$14
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 2? · Hardy to about 10°F?

Although we received this as C. austro-tibetica, apparently this is thought to be synonymous with C. duclouxiana. However we find it to be a distinct form having greener and coarser foliage than the "usual" form of C. duclouxiana going around in North American cultivation, so we can't just dispense with the austro-tibetica part. As both plants are super rare anyway, we can say this is a largely untried Chinese cypress with a conical habit and delicate, soft foliage. It has been a moderate grower for us, and our best guess is that it may eventually make a tree to 20 - 30' tall in gardens with lesser spread. It may be hardier than indicated.

Cupressus tortulosa [hardy form] (C. pseudohimalaica) - KASHMIR CYPRESS
New Fall 2013!
$14
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 5 - 10°F

A hardy Kashmir cypress? This species is a bit of a taxonomic mess, so let's see if I can explain it. First I must note that we are talking about the species that has generally been known as C. cashmeriana, and not C. torulosa, which looks very different. So we are talking about plants with beautiful soft, weeping, bluish- or greyish-green foliage. The taxonomic mess is a result of both confusion at the time the species was originally described in the 1800's (it is now said that the name "cashmeriana" must be considered invalid in favor of the earlier "tortulosa"), and further confusion arising from someone recently assigning a lot of different names to what are apparently all just slightly differing forms of one species. One of those names, the one under which we received this plant, is C. pseudohimalaica. So there you have it. This is a beautiful and special tree. If you are a conifer enthusiast you have probably resisted (or not) the urge to buy the beautiful weeping specimens seen going around in nurseries as C. cashmerina, on the grounds that it is tender. This form we offer is hardier. The foliage is not quite as fine as the usual form but the color is just as good and it is still a beautiful plant. In the garden it likes partial to full sun and irrigation is probably a good idea in dry-summer climates. It eventually reaches 30' or greater with equal spread. We thank Sean Hogan for sharing this with us from his collection years ago, where it used to grow in the Cistus Nursery display beds until it was crushed when a Eucalyptus nitens fell on it.

Cupressus (New World species)
See Hesperocyparis.
Fitzroya cupressoides - PATAGONIAN CYPRESS
$14
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 0 - 5°F

If you're one of those people who wants plants to grow quickly to their mature size and then stop, this plant from central and southern Chile and Argentina is not for you. Described as the largest tree native to South America, mature trees have been compared to coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in its appearance and stature. Young trees, however, look nothing like redwood, since the foliage is fine-textured and branch tips weep softly. Most importantly (also unlike redwood), it is slow growing, so you can enjoy it in your garden for many years - many decades, even - without it getting overwhelming. And who knows, in a couple thousand years you might have something 300' tall! It will grow in sun or part shade and will appreciate average to good soil with mulch. I have heard of it tolerating temperatures below 0°F in Colorado, so it may be hardier than listed.


Hesperocyparis

We like to keep current on name changes. So apparently all the New World Cupressus species are now Hesperocyparis. Don't blame us. (Actually, we think this is cool.)
 
Hesperocyparis (Cupressus) bakeri - MODOC CYPRESS
New Fall 2013!
$12
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to -30°F or below

Gardeners often associate the true cypresses with the Mediterranean region and other warm climates, but did you know that we have a native species here in the Northwest? This very special tree occurs as far north as the Siskyou-Klamath region of southwest Oregon and ranges into northern California as well, inhabiting a few widely isolated pockets well off most people's beaten path. It is very rare in the wild and in cultivation, but is well worth growing for its soft, grey, scaly foliage and appealing conical habit. It prefers full sun and good drainage and is perfect for low-maintenance and urban gardens. It may reach 30' or more over time but is generally a slow to moderate grower. This tree is easy to grow and there is no reason it shouldn't become far more common in Northwest gardens.

 
Hesperocyparis (Cupressus) macrocarpa 'Donard Gold' - DONARD GOLD MONTEREY CYPRESS
$12
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 3 · Hardy to about 5°F

Who needs a golden compass when you can have a golden cypress? This beautiful, compact, slow-growing selection of Monterey Cypress is truly one of the best golden conifers. While it may grow 10' tall or more after many years, it is slow-growing and always symmetrical and attractive. It is easily grown in the Northwest where it seems to be perfectly drought tolerant once established, and (if anything) perhaps a little bit hardier to cold than the species. It should be planted in at least half sun for the best color, and is ideal for coastal gardens.

 
Hesperocyparis (Cupressus) pygmaea - PYGMY CYPRESS
New Fall 2013!
$12
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to about 5°F

"Pygmy" things are supposed to be a small version of something similar, right? Apparently it doesn't always work that way. When these trees were found in the wild growing on extremely acidic, white sandy soils, they appeared as dwarf specimens and were named as a variant of the nearby C. goveniana, which they resembled in miniature form. Yet, brought into cultivation on normal soils, "pygmaea" turned out to be the faster growing of the two, outpacing C. goveniana in trials. It was recently given species status based on consistent morphological distinctions which place it as close to C. abramsiana as to C. govenaiana. Native to Mendocino County, California, this beautiful tree with mid-green foliage and a spreading habit is suited to gardens west of the Cascades that are not in a severe frost pocket, and should be given partial to (preferably) full sun. Comparable to the better-known (but still all too rare) Monterey cypress, pygmy cypress is a rapid grower that may reach 80' or more.

 
Juniperus communis var. saxatilis IB372
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to -20°F or below

Juniperus communis is one of the most common junipers in the world - so why are we selling it? Because we think there are far too many overused Juniperus cultivars while it is actually very difficult to find any of the native species of Juniper available for sale. Yes, you can actually find Junipers in the wild in the Pacific Northwest and this is one of them. This collection forms a nice low mat to only about 4" tall. It is a slow grower but will gradually spread several feet wide, and it very drought tolerant. Coming from the extreme altitude of 5,800' in the northeast Olympic Mountains, it is certainly hardy to at least -20°F and probably much lower.

 
Juniperus communis var. saxatilis IB383
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to -20°F or below

Juniperus communis is one of the most common junipers in the world - so why are we selling it? Because we think there are far too many overused Juniperus cultivars while it is actually very difficult to find any of the native species of Juniper available for sale. Yes, you can actually find Junipers in the wild in the Pacific Northwest and this is one of them. This collection forms a nice low mat to about 4 - 6" tall with slightly more silvery foliage than other local forms. It is a slow grower but will gradually spread several feet wide, and it very drought tolerant. It comes from about 3,600' in the northeast Olympic Mountains, and we expect it to be hardy to at least -20°F and probably much lower.

 
Juniperus communis var. saxatilis IB515
New Fall 2013!
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to -30°F or below

Juniperus communis is one of the most common junipers in the world - so why are we selling it? Because we think there are far too many overused Juniperus cultivars while it is actually very difficult to find any of the native species of Juniper available for sale. Yes, you can actually find Junipers in the wild in the Pacific Northwest and this is one of them. This collection originates in Skamania County, Washington where we found it growing on Lava. So far in our nursery it has shown vigorous growth and a very flat, prostrate habit - both desirable features, but we have not had it for very long.

Juniperus communis var. saxatilis IB551
New Fall 2013!
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to -20°F or below

Juniperus communis is one of the most common junipers in the world - so why are we selling it? Because we think there are far too many overused Juniperus cultivars while it is actually very difficult to find any of the native species of Juniper available for sale. Yes, you can actually find Junipers in the wild in the Pacific Northwest and this is one of them. This collection originates in the northeast Olympic Mountains at about 3,900', where it is fairly common on rocky outcrops and drier alpine habitats. It is a nice looking groundcover that reaches about 4 - 6" tall and spreads to a few feet wide. Mature plants may produce blue berries in fall.

 
Juniperus communis var. saxatilis [upright form]
$9
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to -20°F or below

Juniperus communis is one of the most common junipers in the world - so why are we selling it? Because we think there are far too many overused Juniperus cultivars while it is actually very difficult to find any of the native species of Juniper available for sale. Yes, you can actually find Junipers in the wild in the Pacific Northwest and this is one of them. This collection is of uncertain geographical origin, and, unlike most of them, is not a groundcover; but grows upright to an undetermined height. How mysterious! But hey, it's certainly easy to grow. We thank Derek Clausen for sharing this from his amazing conifer collection.

Juniperus maritima - SEASIDE JUNIPER
New Fall 2013!
$12
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to -30°F or below

Native only to the headlands and islands from northwest Washington up to the Strait of Georgia area, this tree is quite special and rarely offered by anyone. (A good place to see it in the wild is Washington Park near Anacortes.) As recently as 2007, botanists separated it from the widespread J. scopulorum based on differences of genetics and ecology. The juvenile foliage is handsome and silvery, but quickly transitions to tiny scales on the adult growth, which is generally grey-green though there is some variation. Mature plants produce dark blue berries in fall which may attract birds. Although ancient specimens have exceeded 40' tall, it is a slow growing tree in the garden where one might plan on an eventual 15 - 25' tall and 2/3 as wide. It is very well suited to the Northwest dry garden, where it will prefer full sun, good drainage, and soil that is not too acidic. Our collections come from a disjunct, relictual occurrence of this species on the northeast slope of the Olympic Mountains where it is found on rocky outcrops.

 
Juniperus oxycedrus - PRICKLY JUNIPER
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to -20°F or below

If you're a seasoned gardener, what could possibly sound more exciting than a prickly juniper (especially one that gets really big)? Seriously though, we think it is fun to offer some of these actual wild species junipers. Here we have one that grows into an appealing small tree that eventually reaches 10 - 20' tall with equal spread. As for the sharp, prickly scales; well, you just have to plant it in the right spot! It is hard to imagine a more appropriate tree for a cactus garden or Mediterranean garden, or any difficult spot with poor, dry soil, to which it is quite well suited.

Lagarostrobos (Dacrydium) franklinii - HUON PINE
$12
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 10 - 12°F

In the remote rainforests of south-west Tasmania is found this rare conifer. Its fine, scaly-green foliage is soft to the touch, having a plumose habit and irregular branching distinguishing it from anything familiar. Its wood has been valued for timber in the past, being of exceptional quality, but I doubt anyone is cutting them down now since they are so slow to regenerate. Although it is slow-growing it may reach immense proportions in the wild; however, I haven't seen any exceed 10' tall in the garden. It appreciates a moist, well-drained site in sun or partial shade, and is most at home in a maritime climate such as the Pacific Northwest. We are not entirely sure if we have the cultivar 'Pendula' or if that is really that is really something so different from the main species anyhow. Hardier than a lot of other plants from Tasmania, it can handle temperatures down to about the 10 - 12°F range in the Pacific Northwest.

 
Microbiota decussata - SIBERIAN CYPRESS
New Fall 2013!
$10
Cupressaceae · Drought resistance code 3 · Hardy to -40°F or below

This low growing plant with soft sprays of foliage is native to the area north of Vladivostok. Spreading to 4 - 5' across yet remaining under 2' tall, it grows easily in any garden except one with poor drainage. Its drooping branch tips are unique and give it a very attractive look, and in winter its color may transition from deep green to bronze (that doesn't mean it's dying). A relative latecomer to cultivation, it was only discovered in the 1920s and introduced to cultivation outside of Russia in the 1960s. It grows faster if you speak to it in Russian.

 
Microcachrys tetragona - STRAWBERRY PINE
New Fall 2013!
$12
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 5°F

From the windswept heaths of Tasmania's rugged highlands (I say that whenever I get a chance) comes this unique coniferous shrub that doesn't really look like anything else. It is thought to be a relict from a larger group of plants that was once widespread throughout the Southern Hemisphere. Making a low shrub to an eventual 2' tall and perhaps 3 - 4' wide, its fine, whipcord-like branches are a rich shade of deepest green. In the garden it tolerates sun or partial shade, and while it is easy to grow and moderately vigorous, I would not expect great drought tolerance since it comes from a region of high rainfall. The common name alludes to the female strobili which are bright red and resemble little berries.

 
Phyllocladus alpinus - MOUNTAIN TOATOA
$14
Podocarpaceae (Phyllocladaceae) · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 0 - 5°F

"Beyond weird" aptly describes the appearance of this rare conifer that is widely distributed in the mountains of New Zealand. Starting as a mass of odd, flattened growths that might recall fasciated needles, it grows slowly to 4 - 5' over time (eventually to 20' in the wild), with a silvery sheen resulting from the glaucous new growth that eventually fades to green. Often an understory plant in the wild, it thrives in sun or part shade in a site with moist, acidic soil; and is most likely to succeed in maritime climates that do not get extremely hot in summer - great in Seattle and Portland. It responds well to being mulched with compost, and can will do great for many years in a pot where it makes an appealing curiosity.

 
Pinus jeffreyi - JEFFREY PINE
$10
Pinaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about -30°F

This stately tree is native to the West Coast from southwest Oregon down to Baja California. Growing tall and upright, it is rather similar to Pinus ponderosa but its needles are an appealing blue-green and perhaps slightly softer. Although it grows into a large tree after many decades, one might plan on an eventual height of 40 - 50' in the garden. It does great in the Pacific Northwest, preferring a mostly sunny position. It tolerates poor, rocky soils and drought splendidly, but doesn't mind regular irrigation and will grow faster under such conditions.

 
Podocarpus alpinus
$9
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 - 2 · Hardy to about 0°F

Usually one sees various cultivars and selections of this, but the species itself is also a nice plant and quite rare. With soft little needles, this plant is green, which we have found is a color common to many plants. Variable in form, our plant seems to want to be a mounding groundcover to 1 - 2' tall. It is easily grown in sun or part shade, and likes a little water in hot sites.

 
Podocarpus alpinus 'Red Tip'
$10
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 0°F

Australia has a few native Podocarpus, including this species from the interior mountains of New South Wales. Growing as a dense mound of upright shoots, its leaves are deep green, and the new growth is tipped with deep reddish tones. Compact and low-growing enough for the rock garden, it is wonderfully well-behaved. It will appreciate sun or partial shade, and a little summer water on harsher sites.

Podocarpus lawrencei 'Purple King'
$10
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 - 2 · Hardy to about 0 - 5°F

This conifer from southeast Australia looks much like a yew, but has beautiful purple-tinged new growth, as well as often turning purplish in the winter - a color not commonly seen on the true yews. Although usually advertised as a low, spreading conifer, if it's really happy it can grow into a small tree. It performs beautifully in the Northwest and is a must have for any collector of unusual or Gondwanic conifers, and even normal people too. It appreciates a little irrigation to look its best, and is hardy to around 0 - 5°F once established.

 
Podocarpus macrophyllus
$12
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to about 5°F

Fool all your friends! This yew relative from China and Japan looks nothing like a conifer, with long leaf-ish "needles" to 4" long, which emerge yellow-green and mature to a rich dark green. It has a pleasing, dense habit and looks quite tropical. It may reach 60' tall in hot climates when it is very happy, but in the Northwest is usually seen as a bushy large shrub or small tree to 10 - 20'. Although it will tolerate sun or part shade and a degree of drought, it grows fastest with some summer water in a site with reflected heat from a wall or pavement.

 
Podocarpus salignus
$14
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 · Hardy to 10°F or below

This species from Chile is one of the most exciting conifers for gardeners, and a personal favorite. It resembles one of those soft, weepy, tropical Podocarpus species, but - what's this? It actually likes the Northwest's climate! In the wild it may grow into a tree of 40' or more, but in gardens a size more like 15 - 25' is to be expected: it is probably best thought of as a large, conical or rounded shrub covered in weeping broad "needles" which really suggest angiosperm leaves rather than needles. These are bright green when they emerge, then mature to a fabulous shade of deep green on rich brown stems, and are about 2" long and up to 1/4" wide. It seems to appreciate a little water in Pacific Northwest summers, though it can usually go without once well established. It is also reported to tolerate the climate of the Southeast US better than a lot of things from Chile. It has been intermittently available from specialty nurseries for a while, but it remains very rare. Hardy to around 10°F in the Northwest, possibly lower in hot climates.

 
Podocarpus totara 'Aurea'
$12
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 2 · Hardy to about 5 - 10°F

If you're one of those people who thinks conifers with golden foliage are ugly (and I'll admit to not being the biggest fan of yellow-needled spruces - ugh) you ought to give this plant a look. With its relatively large (to 1") yew-like needles and pleasing upright, branching habit, the golden color succeeds quite well. Although it is a large tree in its native New Zealand, where it is valued for its durable, rot-resistant timber; it grows slowly enough not to have to worry about it getting huge: ours is 9' tall after 12 years in the ground. Moderately drought tolerant, it will grow well in shade but the best coloration is in full sun and appreciates a little water on leaner soils. It has never been winter damaged for us, but we did see it killed in a colder Northwest garden on one occasion - so we will say hardiness is about 5 - 10°F.

 
Prumnopitys andina - CHILEAN PLUM YEW
$14
Podocarpaceae · Drought resistance code 1 - 2 · Hardy to 5 - 10°F or below

Who says conifers can't produce plums? It sure wasn't us. Here's one that produces edible plums that are sweet and tasty, and can be eaten raw or used to make marmalade. The ornamental fruits start out yellow-green and mature to purple. Just don't eat the seeds, as they may be poisonous. This tree is very easy to grow, moderately vigorous, and seems to perform splendidly in the Pacific Northwest, though it remains very rare. In the wild it may reach 100', but in gardens perhaps 20 - 30 might be expected over many years. Notwithstanding the novelty of the fruit, this is a tree of beautiful form and habit at any season, with fresh green sprays of foliage that always look nice. It's certainly hardy to at least 5 - 10°F, and perhaps lower. It is so easy to please that I'm guessing it would even adapt to many other parts of the country outside the Northwest. This is probably the collection ECEH00107, but we're not absolutely positive about that.