Picea likiangensis

Conifer Garden

Strong forms range from perfectly symmetrical to Dr Seuss surreal

Ornamental conifers for Auckland's climate

As you enter the garden from Huakaiwaka, the Auckland Botanic Gardens visitor centre, one of the first mature plantings you will see will be the Conifer Collection. With their range of colours through the spectrum of bright yellows to greens to blues, they are bright and beautiful whether contrasted against a clear or a grey sky. Take a walk past these sculptural trees and see if their scent evokes a memory. Their strong forms range from perfectly symmetrical to Dr Seuss surreal. Whether in or out of fashion - this family of trees certainly make a statement.

Although these evergreen trees are usually associated with colder climates, any of the conifers planted here, including cedars, pines, firs, spruces, yews and junipers would perform well in your Auckland garden. If your garden would suit one or more of these primitive and powerful trees and you would like to learn more, please ask us for advice.

Photo featured on this page banner is Keteelaria davidiana.

Cultural

Conifers are gymnosperms – an ancient group of plants which also include cycads and Ginkgo. Gymnosperms are wind pollinated - they have naked seeds which develop on open structures such as the pine cones we know so well. Gymnosperms grew alongside the dinosaurs and were the dominant land plants of the Mesozoic era – the Age of the Reptiles.

Conifers are found in the wild all over the world. Many have high economic value for building, medicines, essential oils, cosmetics, paper and craft materials, nuts, flavourings (e.g. juniper berries in gin) and of course, the Christmas tree.

Gardening Tips for Conifers
  • Conifers come in all shapes and sizes from ground covers to very large trees so you can choose the right variety for your garden conditions and situation.
  • Conifers thrive in open situations in full sun and most will tolerate wind as well as cold and frost.
  • They prefer well-drained conditions though some junipers and thujas will grow well in clay soils.
  • Apply an occasional organic mulch to benefit soil and plant health
  • Most conifers can be pruned to shape and will respond to regular pruning.
  • Some conifers make excellent formal hedges as they clip well.
Conservation

Auckland Botanic Gardens plays its part in conserving several threatened species in this collection including two spruce’s Picea brachytyla and Picea omorika.

Research

Horticulturalists at Auckland Botanic Gardens are evaluating the performance of conifers as the basis for recommendations to home gardeners and for amenity use. For more information or recommendations please contact us.