Evergreen trees are an excellent addition to almost any garden. Most of them easy to grow, and they also maintain their attractive green foliage year-round, which helps make your garden a beautiful retreat in any season. However, regular-sized evergreen trees typically reach heights of 20 to 60 feet, which might be too much for a tiny urban sanctuary or the specific conditions of a rock garden. That's where small evergreen trees come in!
To help you out as you plan your next landscaping project, we've selected over twenty of the best small evergreen trees and shrubs right here in this article. You can also check out our articles 19 Dwarf Evergreen Shrubs for Full Sun or 11 Fast-Growing Evergreen Shrubs That Look Great Year-Round if you have specific requirements. Plus, even if you have a larger space, many of these evergreens look charming planted in containers or used to line a walkway or doorway. So, let's get started!
1. Blue Weeping Colorado Spruce
The Blue Weeping Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens) is a small evergreen with gracefully drooping branches covered in needles that range from green frosted with blue to bright blue. They grow quickly - about 12 inches per year - and are 5 to 10 feet tall at maturity. It's easy to train these trees to grow in particular forms, or you can leave them alone and be surprised at the fantastic shapes they create! Blue Weeping Colorado Spruces prefer sunlight to partial shade and will happily grow in most soil types. They're hardy, resistant to pests, and do well in cold temperatures, up to and including Zone 2.
2. Hinoki Cypress
A Hinoki Cypress is the perfect way to frame your front door, as shown in this image.
A native of Southern Japan, the Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a stately, elegant tree with dense, bright green foliage. It comes in two varieties - the classic type that grows 15 to 30 feet tall, or the dwarf version ('Nana Gracilis') that is about 6 feet tall at maturity. Both varieties grow well in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil that's cool to the touch. Mulch around the base of the tree can aid in both coolness and moisture retention. Hinoki Cypresses enjoy partial shade or full sun for 4 to 6 hours per day, as more sun exposure than that can give them sun scorch. They're hardy, pest-resistant, and prefer humid climates such as Zones 5-7 and 9.
3. Blue Wonder Blue Spruce
As you can see in this image, the Blue Wonder Blue Spruce has needles with a beautiful silvery-blue tint.
The Blue Wonder Blue Spruce (Picea glauca) is a dwarf version of the blue spruce that grows to about 6 feet tall. It has a conical shape and blue-gray needles that retain their color throughout the tree's life, unlike other blue spruce varieties. It's a hardy tree that is tolerant of extreme cold and salt, doesn't have specific soil requirements, and requires full sunlight. The Blue Wonder Blue Spruce grows well in Zones 3-8 and doesn't require any special trimming or watering. Due to its densely packed needles, it's often used as a privacy shield, and it can also be grown in pots to line a walkway or frame a door.
4. Dwarf Balsam Fir
This image of a Dwarf Balsam Fir shows the attractive contrast between the dark green old-growth and light green new growth.
A small, slow-growing tree, the Dwarf Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea 'Nana') is a rounded, multi-stemmed evergreen shrub that reaches heights of 2 to 3 feet at maturity. Its branches are covered on all sides with fine, dark green needles topped with light green new growth. They've been grown in the U.S. since the mid-1800s, making them one of the oldest dwarf conifers originating in the U.S., and are popular in landscapes and rock gardens. The Dwarf Balsam Fir prefers moist, acidic soils in full sunlight and grows best in cooler climates such as Zones 3-6.
5. Chalet Swiss Stone Pine
You can see the way the Chalet Swiss Stone Pine's branches extend skyward in this image.
The Chalet Swiss Stone Pine (Pinus cembra 'Chalet') is a small, narrow, cone-shaped evergreen with branches that reach toward the sky and are covered in long, silvery-green needles. Reaching heights of 5 to 8 feet at maturity, it's a good choice for small, rustic gardens. Full sunlight and sandy, well-drained soil of neutral acidity are preferred, as are the cooler temperatures of Zones 3-7. Due to the Chalet Swiss Stone Pine's long, narrow shape, it's a popular pick for framing doorways, gates, or filling in corners.
6. Tip Top Dwarf Swiss Stone Pine
As you can see in this image, the Tip Top Dwarf Swiss Stone Pine has soft, fluffy needles.
Reaching heights of 6 feet after ten years, the Tip Top Dwarf Swiss Stone Pine (Pinus cembra) is a compact tree with soft, densely packed silvery-blue needles. New growth typically is a lighter green, providing a beautiful contrast. This tree prefers full sun, average, well-drained soil, and the climates of Zones 3-8. Due to its small size and general hardiness, the Tip Top Dwarf Swiss Stone Pine is a perfect tree for small gardens and rock gardens.
7. Dwarf Serbian Spruce
In this image, a Dwarf Serbian Spruce is used as an accent in a garden bed near a building.
The Dwarf Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika 'Nana') is an unusually-shaped tree that morphs from a globe shape in its younger days to a full, rounded pyramid shape when it reaches maturity. It has green needles with white banding on the underside and reaches the height and width of 4 to 8 feet. Although its striking shape makes it a perfect accent tree, the Dwarf Serbian Spruce can also be planted in groups to create a hedge or border. Partial to full sunlight, dry, acidic soil, and the climates of Zones 4-7 are the conditions in which it grows best.
8. Green Spire Euonymus
A Green Spire Euonymus provides vertical interest near the wall of a house in this image.
The Green Spire Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus) is an unusual evergreen hedge with a long, narrow shape and glossy green leaves instead of needles. It's a great choice if you're looking for a way to add height or privacy without sacrificing very much ground space. Best of all, it doesn't require any trimming to maintain its elegant appearance. The Green Spire Euonymus grows best in partial to full sunlight, needs to be watered weekly, and can adapt to almost any type of soil. It's hardy, disease-resistant, and grows best in the warmer climates of Zones 6-9.
9. Compressa Juniper
In this image, a single Compressa Juniper grows in a planter near a fence.
A narrow, compact tree, the Compressa Juniper (Juniperus communis 'Compressa') - also called the Dwarf Pencil Point Juniper - has prickly silvery-blue foliage that changes to copper in the colder months and is so tightly packed that it blocks out all light. It grows to heights of 2 to 5 feet tall at maturity but maintains a width of only 1 to 1.5 feet. This makes it ideal for small spaces, containers, and providing accents in borders and tight corners. The Compressa Juniper loves full sunlight, the climates of Zones 2-6, and can thrive in almost any soil, even poor soil. As a bonus, it's easy to propagate from cuttings!
10. Meyer Juniper
This image of a Meyer Juniper shows the unusual appearance of its leaves.
Native to the Himalayan Mountains and China, the Meyer Juniper (Juniperus squamata 'Meyeri') is an evergreen shrub with silvery-blue foliage that typically grows to about 5 feet tall with a spread of 4 to 7 feet. It's a great plant for accents, hedges, or privacy, and is also sometimes used in bonsai. Although the Meyer Juniper isn't picky about soil type, or pH, it strongly prefers full sunlight and well-drained soil. It's drought-resistant and also very resistant to urban pollution, which makes it an excellent choice for small gardens in the inner city.
11. Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedar
In this image, a row of Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedars looks striking against the sky.
A fantastical looking tree, the Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) is tall and thin with gracefully drooping branches. This dramatic tree typically grows to 10 feet tall, although it can reach heights of 40 feet. However, its naturally narrow shape makes it perfect for small spaces, no matter its eventual height. The Green Arrow Weeping Alaska Cedar is a popular choice for adding spectacular visual interest to a garden, but it can also be grown in containers. Full sun to partial shade, any well-drained soil, and the climates of Zones 4-8 are its ideal growing conditions, and it's resistant to drought and many pests.
12. Green Penguin Dwarf Scotch Pine
A Green Penguin Dwarf Scotch Pine holds its own in a colorful garden in this image.
The Green Penguin Dwarf Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris 'Green Penguin'), named for its cute, chubby silhouette that resembles a penguin, is a pyramid-shaped tree with long, bright green needles. They are tiny, never reaching a height over 2 to 4 feet tall, and have dense foliage that doesn't require any pruning. Green Penguin Dwarf Scotch Pines are easy to grow and thrive equally well when planted in pots or the ground. They grow well in any well-drained soil with full sunlight and are resistant to drought and urban pollution. Zones 3-7 contain their preferred climates.
13. Dwarf Japanese Black Pine
In this image, a Dwarf Japanese Black Pine grows near a deck.
The Dwarf Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii 'Kotobuki') has grown in Japan for centuries alongside its larger counterpart, the Japanese Black Pine. The dwarf variety has short, irregularly shaped, and placed branches covered in short, prickly, evenly-spaced dark green needles. It reaches 4 to 5 feet tall after about a decade of growth and can be grown in the ground, in pots, or as a bonsai. In any situation, the Dwarf Japanese Black Pine benefits from some light pruning and candling to maintain an attractive shape. It prefers any moist, well-drained soil, light shade to full sunlight, and the warmer climates of Zones 5-9. It's also resistant to drought, deer, and salt.
14. Conica Alberta Spruce
As you can see in this image, the Conica Alberta Spruce can even make a great houseplant!
A small evergreen that grows in the classic "Christmas tree" shape, the Conica Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica') is a compact tree with strongly scented, bright green needles. It grows slowly, eventually reaching heights of 10 to 13 feet and a spread of 7 to 10 feet, but will stay smaller if it's planted in a container. This makes it the perfect choice for a live holiday tree! The Conica Alberta Spruce is a hardy tree that prefers moist, well-drained soil with an acidic to neutral pH and full sunlight. Although it can grow in Zones 3-8, it becomes more challenging after Zone 6 because it prefers cooler summers.
15. North Star Dwarf White Spruce
The North Star Dwarf White Spruce is a perfect, classic-looking evergreen for cold climates, as you can see in this image.
The North Star Dwarf White Spruce (Picea glauca 'North Star') is a compact, pyramid-shaped evergreen with branches that grow to the ground and bright green needles. It grows slowly and reaches a height of up to 12 feet at maturity. Due to its extreme hardiness in cold weather, this is a great small evergreen for cooler climates - it thrives in Zones 3-7. North Star Dwarf Spruces prefer full sunlight in a sheltered location and average to moist soil of any type.
16. Fletcher's Douglas Fir
In this image, the Fletcher's Douglas Fir is part of a collection in a border bed.
A compact, oval-shaped evergreen shrub reaching anywhere from 1 to 5 feet tall in maturity, Fletcher's Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Fletcheri') has fine, soft bluish-green foliage with light green new growth in the spring. This shrub has a fluffy, delicate appearance but is very hardy and low-maintenance, only requiring some light pruning of new growth. It's a great choice for accents, hedges, and adding some vertical interest in the garden. Fletcher's Douglas Firs grow best in well-drained, acidic soil in a sunny, sheltered location, and prefers the climate of Zone 5.
17. Pendula Canadian Hemlock
This image shows the dramatic drape of the Pendula Canadia Hemlock's branches.
The Pendula Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula') is a small evergreen with dramatically drooping branches that trail toward and along the ground. It can be trained with stakes to develop different heights and shapes, and typically grows to be around 4 to 5 feet tall with a spread of 10 feet. It's one of the most popular varieties of Canadian Hemlock and is often grown as a striking accent shrub. Pendula Canadian Hemlocks require acidic, average to moist soil in a sheltered location, and grow equally well in full sun or full shade. They prefer the cool to moderate climates of Zones 4-7.
18. Upright Japanese Plum Yew
This Upright Japanese Plum Yew looks right at home among other dense foliage in this image.
Another small evergreen hailing from the islands of Japan, the Upright Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Fastigiata') features multiple vertical stalks with clusters of bright green needles forming small globes. It grows slowly, reaching up to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide in maturity. The tall, striking appearance and dense foliage of the Upright Japanese Plum Yew make it a perfect windbreak or privacy shield. It grows best in the warm climates of Zones 6-9, prefers partial shade ranging to partial sun, and appreciates well-drained soil and regular watering.
19. Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia
Although the Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem') is classified as a dwarf tree, it reaches 20 to 25 feet tall at full maturity. Glossy, dark green leaves remain on the tree year-round and are joined by large, fragrant white blooms in the spring and summer. This is a great accent tree for small gardens or can be planted in multiples to create a sound- and wind-block. The Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia prefers full sunlight, acidic, well-drained soil, regular watering and pruning, and the climates of Zones 7-9.
20. Hetz Midget
The Hetz Midget (Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget') is a small, globe-shaped evergreen shrub with flat foliage that resembles fern fronds. At 3 to 4 feet tall and wide when full-grown, it's a compact shrub that makes a charming addition to the borders of small gardens or planted in containers. This shrub is one of just five cypress species native to the United States, and one of only two that are cultivated. Hetz Midgets love moist, loamy, but well-drained soil and full to partial sunlight. They thrive in the climates of Zones 3-7.
21. Hudsonia Balsam Fir
In this image, a Hudson Balsam Fir spreads over the ground.
The Hudsonia Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea 'Hudsonia') is a hardy evergreen shrub that grows outward after reaching the height of 2 feet in maturity. These shrubs typically grow 3 to 4 more inches each year, resulting in what resembles a round pile of dark green needles. The Hudsonia Balsam Fir is derived from a natural mutation that was found in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and has been cultivated in the United States for over 200 years. They prefer moist, well-drained soil, clay soil excluded, locations with full sun to partial shade, and the cool climates of Zones 3-6.
22. Minima Aurea Cypress
In this image of a young Minima Aurea Cypress, you can see its golden hues.
Also known as the Lawson Cypress, the Minima Aurea Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Minima Aurea') is a small evergreen shrub with densely-packed golden-green foliage. This tiny shrub reaches heights of 20 to 32 inches and spreads of 14 to 20 inches in full maturity, which makes it an excellent choice for small gardens, rock gardens, or container planting. A native of the northern West Coast of the United States, the Minima Aurea Cypress grows best in Zones 5-8. Full sunlight to partial shade, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil, and protection from the wind also ensure their best growth habits.