Conifers can be found in most native gardens, as solitaires, as hedges in various sizes, as small groups, topiary trees and so on. What is favorable is that they are evergreen. So they offer a focal point even in winter. In addition, they are usually easy to care for and they offer animals shelter, which is no longer a matter of course in many gardens today.

Conifers – care

Conifers plant care

Conifers are fairly easy to care for, at least once they have grown. The best thing is to let it grow. If you have to cut, for example a hedge or topiary trees, you have a little more to do. Overall, however, they are grateful trees, durable and easy to care for. You only have to be careful with the selection. The final size is crucial. Many a person has planted a cute little tree in his front yard and noticed after a few years that all the windows are overgrown, it is dark in the house and the neighbors complain that they are no longer getting any sun. Some conifers become gigantic, tower over every house and so don’t even fit into the terraced house garden.

A prerequisite for good conifer growth is that the area around the planting disc is weed-free. Every weed is a competitor for nutrients. It is therefore ideal to apply a thick layer of mulch. This means that the earth stays moist longer and does not dry out as quickly.

Conifers are coniferous plants. Belong to this group

  • Araucarias – evergreen trees, deciduous leaves, thrive in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and South America, some trees also survive in the Central European climate
  • Kopfeiben – evergreen small trees or shrubs, needles arranged in a spiral, limited in their distribution to Asia
  • Cypress Family – Trees or shrubby woody plants, distributed worldwide except in Antarctica. The cypress trees include: cedars, sickle firs, spit firs, false cypresses, ornamental cypresses, junipers, arborvitae, sequoias and many more.
  • Pine family – evergreen trees (except larches), used for wood extraction and some for ornamentation, the main area of ​​distribution is the northern hemisphere. The pine family includes: fir, cedar, helmlock, larch and golden larch, pigeon tree, Douglas fir, spruce, pine and others.
  • Stonecaceae – evergreen trees and shrubs, widespread mainly in tropical and subtropical mountain forests in the southern hemisphere. The stone slices include: Afro yellow woods, stone slices, Patagonian yew trees and many more.
  • Umbrella fir family – evergreen, slow-growing tree, single or multi-stemmed, somehow exotic looking, native to Japan, hardy with us
  • Yew family – evergreen trees or shrubs, poisonous plants, mainly found in the northern hemisphere, comprises five genera and several species.


The location is important with conifers. They like it bright, but some don’t get along so well in full sun. The needles can then turn brown. Also, soil that is too dry is not recommended. So you have to check whether the conifer variety you want to plant is also suitable for the intended location.

  • Most conifers like a sunny spot.
  • Some also get along well with a partially shaded place.
  • Yew and Siberian dwarf tree also thrive in the shade.

Plant substrate

Normal garden soil usually works for conifers. The plants just have to deal with it. In the case of individual planting and really bad soil, this can safely be exchanged or upgraded. If you want to plant a meter-long hedge, it will be really time-consuming and expensive. Anyone who puts conifers in the planter should use special conifer soil. The trees really feel at home in it. There is special coniferous soil in the DIY store and gardening market or in soil factories and the like.

  • Most conifers like fresh, humus-rich and well-drained soils that are slightly acidic to alkaline.
  • Special coniferous soil usually contains mother earth, peat, bark humus, sand, clay minerals and organic fertilizers.
  • It is ideal if you add around 50 percent of such soil when planting, i.e. swap it for normal garden soil.
  • Otherwise, sandy soil should be upgraded with betonite (rock flour), as this improves the water storage capacity. You can also work in some compost on the surface.
  • Gravel or wood chips can be mixed in with heavy soils. However, organic material must not be deeper than 30 cm into the ground.

Conifers plant


Conifers need to be planted neatly. You need an optimal location and a good substrate. There are a few things to consider when planting if you want to enjoy your plants for a long time.

  • The best time to plant is in late summer. The trees grow quickly in the warm soil. In addition, there is usually a rainy season ahead, so you don’t have to water too much.
  • Otherwise, conifers can be planted all year round, except when there is frost.
  • It is ideal to use bale goods.
  • Small plants take root better than large ones.
  • Bare-rooted specimens are cheaper, but you cannot tell how well the plants have been treated.
  • In the case of bale goods, make sure that the plant has many fine roots. These trees grow better.
  • Bales without fine roots usually have problems with growth. These trees were cleared without being planted.
  • The planting hole must be twice as large as the root ball.
  • The soil must be loosened well.
  • Only open the ball of the towel in the planting hole. It is essential to untie the knot, do not leave it wrapped!
  • Tear open the root ball of container plants.
  • Do not plant too deep. The base must be above ground level.
  • Form a ring-shaped wall around the trunk, which must be larger than the ball of the foot. This means that excess water cannot run off when watering and arrives where it is needed.
  • A support stake is beneficial because it prevents the freshly planted plants from swaying back and forth and tearing the roots from the subsoil.
  • Plant spacing must be observed.
  • Use string when planting hedges to keep the row straight.
  • Water after planting and for the next few months make sure that the soil does not dry out.

Water and fertilize

Once conifers have grown, they hardly need any watering. They then take care of themselves. It looks different with freshly planted specimens, especially with spring and summer planting. For the first 4 weeks, these plants should be thoroughly watered two to three times a week. You have to keep watering even over the summer. The plants are not allowed to be drowned, however. When planting in autumn, watering is carried out depending on the weather. At this time there is usually more rain and you save yourself watering.

  • Also in winter you have to pay attention to a sufficient water supply, because the plants evaporate a lot of water.
  • Fertilize with conifer fertilizer.
  • Organic fertilizers such as manure or artificial or mineral fertilizers such as blue grain are cheap.
  • First fertilization no earlier than 4 weeks after planting.
  • Fertilize not later than mid-July, otherwise the shoots cannot mature and are at risk of frost.
  • Do not use too much fertilizer and do not get on parts of the plant, this will cause burns!
  • Fertilize with slow release fertilizer only once a year, with normal fertilizer twice, in April and June, exactly as recommended.


Conifers cutting

Conifers like to be cut. Except for hedges and topiary trees, they should not be cut. Radical cuts are not well tolerated and the trees will not sprout out of the old wood anyway. The yew tree is an exception. It can be cut very well. With all other conifers, it is important that pruning is carried out regularly and from the beginning. Then only smaller cuts are necessary and the plants will sprout again well. You can’t let a conifer grow for years and when you notice it is getting too big, expect to get it smaller again. That does not work.

  • Hedges, mostly arborvitae or cypress hedges, should be cut once or twice a year.
  • If you don’t cut regularly, bald and brown spots will remain after a cut.
  • Even with topiary trees, regular pruning is essential.


Conifers are usually reliably hardy. You can get through the cold season well without protection. Only trees that are cultivated in pots need protection. It is best to wrap the planter warm. You should also put it on styrofoam or wooden strips. It is important not to forget to water it even in winter, because the plants still evaporate a lot of water. Water only on frost-free days.


Conifers are best propagated by cuttings. It’s not that complicated. It takes time for these little plants to become a real wood for the garden. So if you want to pull your own hedge, you need a lot of patience and time. It is important to ensure that no mold forms when propagating.

  • Cuttings are cut in winter.
  • The shoots should not be lignified yet.
  • A mixture of compost soil and sand is suitable as a substrate.
  • This is where the instinct is put.
  • Place the container in a light and warm place.
  • Propagation works best in a heated greenhouse.
  • Keep soil moist, but not wet.
  • Cover the vessel with a transparent bag.
  • Ventilate regularly.
  • Roots should have formed by spring.

Diseases and pests

Conifers Diseases and pests

Most damage to conifers is caused by a lack of water. Especially freshly planted, young and very old plants suffer from this. The needles brown and whole shoots dry up. However, these symptoms can also be triggered by diseases and pests.

  • Numerous fungal diseases threaten conifers, but not all fungi and woody plants. Often they are species-specific.
  • There are also bark beetles, thujamin moth, tree lice and also spider mites and scale insects.
  • Most of the time, it is enough to separate diseased parts of the plant. Chemical pesticides only rarely have to be used.

Conifers are great garden plants if you choose them according to the size of the property. Many forget how big such a wood can get. Numerous trees had to be felled in my neighborhood, which required heavy equipment because there was far too little space. This is a huge effort and is really expensive. That can be avoided. You have to cut from the start and limit growth. In the gardens where this was done, the conifers do well too. I especially like topiary. However, we only have one thuja hedge one side of the garden and it was there when we moved in. The dark walls are not my thing, but there are some things you can’t choose. If so, I’d rather have yew. There are very nice varieties.

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