11 Types Of Coniferous Trees Commonly Grown

types of conifer trees

Conifers can be the perfect addition to any garden, providing not only aesthetic appeal but also year-round cover and shelter for wildlife. Whether you’re looking for trees to create hedges, borders, or stand-alone specimens, coniferous trees offer a variety of options. At Tips Tree Planting, we understand the importance of selecting the right conifers for your garden. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 11 common types of coniferous trees that are commonly grown in British gardens.

Why Grow Coniferous Trees?

tall conifer woodlands

Coniferous trees are known for their evergreen nature, meaning they retain their needles or thin leaves throughout the year. This not only enhances the appearance of your garden during the winter months but also provides a habitat for a range of wildlife. However, it’s important to choose the right coniferous trees for your garden, considering factors such as growth rate, size, and impact on surrounding plants. At Tips Tree Planting, we’re here to guide you towards the best choices for your specific needs.

1) Cedar

Cedrus atlantica
Cedrus atlantica

Cedars, belonging to the genus Cedrus, are majestic trees commonly found in larger gardens and estates in the UK. Varieties within this genus include Atlas Cedar (C. atlantica), Cyprus Cedar (C. brevifolia), Himalayan Cedar (C. deodara), and Cedar of Lebanon (C. libani). These trees are often grown as stand-alone specimens but can also be trained as bonsai or grown in pots. Additionally, other coniferous trees commonly referred to as cedars, such as Thuja plicata and Juniperus virginiana, are popular choices in British gardens.

2) Cypress

Leyland cypress
Leyland cypress

Cypress trees, belonging to the Cupressaceae family, offer a range of options for your garden. Some common cypress varieties include Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Monterey Cypress (C. macrocarpa), Leyland Cypress (C. x leylandii), Smooth Arizona Cypress (C. arizonica var. glabra), and Nootka Cypress (Callitropsis nootkatensis). While cypresses, especially Leyland cypress, are commonly used for hedging, their rapid growth and height make them less suitable for smaller gardens. However, smaller shaped, topiary, and bonsai cypresses can be grown in containers even in limited spaces. Chamaecyparis, also known as “false cypresses,” are another popular choice for evergreen trees or hedging plants in the UK.

3) Douglas Fir

Douglas fir tree

The Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is a unique coniferous tree that belongs to the Pinaceae or pine family. Although commonly used as Christmas trees, Douglas Fir also offers ornamental appeal in large gardens and parks.

4) Fir

Nordmann fir
Nordmann fir

True firs (Abies) are a diverse group of coniferous trees offering numerous options for your garden. Some common firs grown in the UK include European silver fir (A. alba), Hudson fir (A. balsamea), White fir (A. concolor), Fraser fir (A. fraseri), and Korean fir (A. koreana). These conifers can be cultivated as full-sized trees or shaped and kept smaller, making them versatile choices for various garden settings.

5) Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis in a pot
Tsuga canadensis in a pot

Hemlock trees (Tsuga) are a genus of coniferous trees offering attractive options for UK gardens. Varieties such as Eastern Hemlock (T. canadensis), Western Hemlock (T. heterophylla), and Mountain Hemlock (T. mertensiana) are slow-growing and visually appealing, making them suitable for pots, beds, or borders.

6) Juniper

Common juniper in a container
Common juniper in a container

Junipers (Juniperus) are widely distributed coniferous trees and shrubs across the Northern hemisphere. In the UK, gardeners can choose from various juniper species, including Common Juniper (J. communis), Chinese Juniper (J. chinensis), Rocky Mountain Juniper (J. scopulorum), Decumbent Juniper (J. procumbens), and Flaky Juniper (J. squamata). The diverse growth habits of junipers make them invaluable in different garden settings.

7) Larch

Drooping foliage of Larix decidua Pendula

Larches (Larix) are unique among conifers as they are deciduous, shedding their needles in winter. Varieties such as European Larch (L. decidua), Dahurian Larch (L. gmelinii), Japanese Larch (L. kaempferi), and Golden Larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) offer a range of sizes, shapes, colors, and forms for British gardens.

8) Monkey Puzzle Tree

Araucaria araucana
Araucaria araucana

The Monkey Puzzle Tree is an enormous evergreen tree commonly found in large gardens. Although it can reach impressive sizes, it may not be ideal for smaller spaces. Interestingly, this tree also produces edible seeds similar to large pine nuts, potentially making it a future food crop in regions where other nut crops struggle to grow.

9) Pine

Pinus mugo
Pinus mugo

Pines encompass a vital category of coniferous trees, offering numerous options for your garden. From Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), native to parts of Scotland, to Blue Spruce (P. pungens), pines provide a wide range of choices in terms of size, shape, and color.

10) Spruce

Picea pungens
Picea pungens

If you’re looking for a diverse selection of coniferous trees, consider the Spruce genus (Picea). Varieties such as Norway Spruce (P. abies), Dragon Spruce (P. asperata), and Blue Spruce (P. pungens) offer a range of options for your garden, including usual conifers.

11) Yew

Taxus baccata with evergreen foliage and red berries

The European Yew (Taxus baccata) is a native evergreen tree that also serves as a popular option for hedging. With several named cultivars available, the Yew offers both aesthetic appeal and functionality in your garden.

These 11 types of coniferous trees commonly grown in Britain are just a starting point for selecting the perfect trees for your garden. At Tips Tree Planting, we’re committed to helping you make informed choices, ensuring your garden thrives with beautiful and resilient conifers. For further inspiration and guidance, visit our website Tips Tree Planting and explore our expert advice and resources. Let us help you create a stunning and sustainable garden with the timeless charm of coniferous trees.