Our combination of 5 carefully selected dwarf evergreens is a beautiful blend of color and texture in every season. All are slow growers, averaging 6–10in. annually, but will eventually reach upwards of 6ft. if left untended. They respond well to judicious pruning for shape and have few problems with pests. There is no "right" way to combine them except to please your eye. To grow them in a hedge, arrange the plants in a line, spaced 3ft. apart. To grow as specimens, use a wider spacing between each plant and any neighboring plants.
These evergreens are not difficult to grow if given reasonable soil and plenty of sun. Please follow these basic guidelines.
DESCRIPTIONS OF VARIETIES
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Gold Spangle': Narrow, thread-like foliage forms a low weeping mound that is bright gold all year in full sun. Slow growing but will form a conical tree with time, 6–20ft tall and 3–10ft wide. Plants are taller when grown in partial shade.
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa Aurea': A moderately fast growing selection with soft, feathery plume-like foliage that is rich gold in spring, with parts darkening to green later on, leaving just the tips golden. Juvenile foliage may be a more bronzy yellow. Mature height is 6–15ft. and 6–8ft. wide.
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa Lutescens': An old cultivar, seldom seen in commerce, more upright and conical than 'Plumosa Aurea' but with a similar, though less intense, coloration and characteristic plume-like foliage. Mature size is 6–15ft. tall and 6–8ft. wide.
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Squarrosa': Forms soft, billowing mounds of blue-green, slightly glaucous foliage with a distinctive silvery underside, on heavily branched stems. A most attractive specimen that makes a large, broad pyramid, 6–15ft. tall and 10–12ft. wide.
Thuja occidentalis 'Ericoides Nana': Slender, slightly flattened needles are a yellowish green in summer, turning a dark bronze, almost brown in winter. Forms a rather broad, open pyramidal mound over time, 4–6ft. tall and 5–7ft. wide.
WHEN YOUR ORDER ARRIVES
Check the moisture of the potting mix in the containers. Water thoroughly if it's dry. Pot-grown plants may remain in their original pots outdoors for some time, provided you keep up with their need for water. As plants grow, however, the need for watering becomes more and more frequent; a few hours' inattention on a dry, windy day can desiccate a plant beyond the point of no return. If you must delay planting, we recommend you shift plants into larger pots.
To ensure even and attractive growth, plant your dwarf evergreens in full sun. They may tolerate partial shade, especially in the South, but evergreens will develop an open, ragged appearance if starved for light.
If you are planting your dwarf evergreens in a perennial bed or border, turn a 3–4in. layer of organic matter (compost, aged manure, leafmold, or peat moss) into your soil. Organic matter improves the drainage of heavy clay soils and helps light sandy soils hold moisture longer. If you are planting in unimproved soil, such as a lawn, there is no benefit to amending the soil dug from the planting hole.Chamaecyparis is tolerant of alkaline soils (a pH greater than 7.0). Thuja is pH adaptable and will grow in acid to slightly alkaline soils.
Choose a site with average to moist, well-drained soil, away from drying winds. Dig a hole several times the diameter of the root ball but no deeper than the height of the root ball. Remove the plant from the pot by grasping the rim, turning the pot upside down, and tapping it against the heel of your hand. Gently break up the sides of the root ball with your thumbs (you may find it easier to make several vertical cuts with an old kitchen knife), then set it in the center of the hole. Push soil back into the hole and just over the top of the root ball, and firm the soil by pressing down with both hands. Then make a rim of soil around the edge of the planting hole to form a basin, which will hold water and channel it down to the roots. Finally, fill the basin with water several times.
If rain is not sufficient, you may need to supply water. Always check the amount of moisture in the soil before watering—the best instrument for this measurement is your finger. Feel the top 1in. of soil. Unless it is dry, don't water. Young plants and plants coming out of dormancy use less water than larger or established plants do. Soil that is kept too wet cannot contain enough oxygen for roots. The result is root rot and even plant death.
You can reduce both your watering and weeding chores drastically if you cover the soil surrounding your plants with 2–3in. blanket of mulch. Mulch is any loose material spread over the soil to conserve moisture, inhibit weed seed germination, and moderate soil temperature. We recommend an organic mulch, such as finely chipped or shredded bark, shredded leaves, or pine needles, because it breaks down and enriches the soil. Keep mulch an inch or so away from the crown of plants to discourage disease. Replenish the mulch as necessary every year.
Most plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand, and that is especially true of dwarf evergreens. Here at the Farm, we fertilize our borders, specimen trees, and shrubs just once—in early spring. We use a balanced, granular fertilzer (such as 10-10-10) at the suggested application rate.
As your dwarf evergreens grow, they can be shaped by trimming from late spring to early fall, but be careful not to cut into older wood.
In cold-winter climates (Zone 6 to –10°F and colder), alternate thawing and freezing of the soil in winter can heave the crown of newly planted small shrubs right out of the ground, leaving their roots vulnerable to drying winds and freezing cold. To protect plants from heaving during their first winter, put a 4-6in. layer of loose organic material such as straw, oak leaves, or evergreen boughs (cut into 1–2ft. lengths) on the soil around the stems after the ground freezes (generally in December here in Litchfield, CT). Remove this winter cover gradually in spring when frosts become infrequent, usually at about the time Daffodils and Forsythias are in bloom.