Best choice for part-shade blue conifer?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by jfuller, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. jfuller

    jfuller New Member

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    We currently have columnar yews that we aren't too excited about on our north-facing, but terraced patio. In summer they get near full-sun but in the spring and fall (and winter) as the sun's arc drops, the building will shade the garden for much of the day. It will still be open and bright, but only direct sun for a few hours.

    We are looking to replace the yews with something either globe or mounding which can be maintained at 2-3' in size. Options include dwarf globe blue spruce, Feelin' blue deodar cedar, blue star juniper so far.

    Anyone have experience with the different options above in lower amounts of sun, any any other blue or blue-green short conifers we haven't considered?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Maybe one of the bluer strains of Scots Pine? In general though, blue-toned conifers have evolved in areas with very high sunlight - the glaucous wax is a sun block to protect the plant from intense sun. So they tend not to do well in shade.
     
  3. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Have had 'Feelin' Blue' in afternoon shade and it did well. Might have been bluer in full sun. 'Blue Star' is in winter shade , but does fine with summer sun. Haven't grown them in pots.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  4. jfuller

    jfuller New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, that is interesting on the glaucous wax and makes sense with the full-sun trend I've been noticing in my research. Globe blue spruce is the only one of the mentioned options that notes sun to part shade. Encouraging to hear on 'Feelin Blue'. There is a weeping blue cedar in my neighbourhood that's under a canopy of large trees but still seems to do well, too!
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Should have thought of this before - another 'blue' conifer that'll do better than most others in part shade is Noble Fir Abies procera. Highly attractive into the bargain, too.


    EDIT: Oooops! Just realised I somehow missed seeing this "which can be maintained at 2-3' in size" - forget my suggestions, they'll be aiming for 30 metres or more ;-)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  6. jfuller

    jfuller New Member

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    Ha! Yes, strata would have something to say about that, these will be going into an irrigated 'trough' along the back of the apartment building. Planter box is about 2' wide and 2' deep (x 21' long).

    Thanks for the suggestion anyhow, I wonder then if this would do better than the similar looking spruce?
    http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/545/dwarf-blue-rocky-mountain-fir/

    It notes full sun, vs. the full sun to part shade of the dwarf blue spruce... but I know that is a little too simplistic of a gauge.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Abies lasiocarpa is very fussy, unfortunately - not an easy plant to grow at all. Its main problem is susceptibility to Adelges aphids - where it comes from at high altitudes, the cold winters keep them under control, but these insects will thrive in Vancouver and do it in.
     
  8. jfuller

    jfuller New Member

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    Good to know, thank you. Aphids were really bad for us this year (I don't know the type), we had to spray a few plants with soap repeatedly all summer.

    Any thoughts on Larix kaempferi 'Blue Dwarf'? It is noted on Art's nursery website as 'sun or shade' which seems promising. It's the right size, and the silvery-blue colouring will work well with what we're after!
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Deciduous of course, so you lose the effect in winter - but the autumn colour is also very nice (orangey-yellow, around late Oct to now).
     

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