$5,000 Plants Contest

Nominate and vote for your favorite public garden, botanical garden, or arboretum and they could win $5,000 worth of plants.

The $5,000 Plants Contest is underway! Head to Facebook and vote for the public garden you think should win $5,000 of plants from Conifer Kingdom. http://bit.ly/1u3LuGI

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Gift Plant

We appreciate the business of our customers, so we reward every purchase over $100 (before shipping) with a nice conifer or maple that grows in their climate and has an interesting form, growth rate, or color. We aim to make a selection that performs well in the varied climates of each of our customers. Typically, the size of plant selected for smaller orders is in a BP (Band Pot) size, which are 2 or 3-year-old grafts.

Generally, we offer a larger, more specialized option for people that place even larger orders (over $250). These are often 1-gallon plants that are about 4 years old. Here are some of the ones we have offered in the past.

About once or twice per year, we offer a larger promotion, with a very unique gift plant for even larger orders, typically those in excess of $350. Here are a few previous offerings.

Knowing that some customers cannot grow Japanese maples in their climates, or some customers might prefer conifers, we try to offer a couple options for gift plants. In the past, we either contact the customer once they place their order to ask what gift plant they would prefer, or we simply look at the order and make a determination based on your hardiness zone and what you have ordered. Before the end of the year, we plan to update the website so that the currently-available gift plants will appear at checkout, and you will be able to add it to your order free of charge!
Often we feature special gift plants in our newsletters or blogs. Please subscribe to our newsletters and check facebook for any special promotions.

For the months of August and September, we will have the following plants available as gift plants!
Options for orders over $100: Pinus mugo ‘Carstens’ BP or Acer palmatum ‘Dr. Brown’ BP

Options for orders over $250: Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ #1 or Acer palmatum ‘Ruby Star’ #1

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Choosing Plants for your Landscape

Several factors must be considered before deciding what varieties you should use in your landscape. The hardiness, growth rate, and form of a plant should be determined before making your purchase.

This information allows you to determine what the best selections are for your plantings.

Your hardiness zone is ultimately determined by the lowest temperatures your region experiences on the coldest years. If you do not know your hardiness zone, you can follow this link to the USDA website for a map of US hardiness zones.

USDA Hardiness Zone Map Quicklink
USDA Zones


We have listed every plant on our website an average annual growth rate, to make an easy determination of how dwarf your plant is.

Also, many customers want to know an “ultimate size,” to ensure their tree will never outgrow its spot in the landscape. However, it is important to note that nothing stops growing. If a tree stops growing it is, by definition, dead.

We list a 10-year size on each variety because this is generally the age at which these plants are considered mature in a landscape setting. Also, for many varieties, the annual growth rate slows considerably once they reach this age.

It is also good to reference the 10-year size when selecting your plants to assess their growth pattern and shape. The height is listed first, followed by the width. For instance, narrow conifers such as Pinus sylvestris ‘Spaan’s Slow Column’ are listed as 7’x1.5′. This narrow pine will not require as much room in the garden as will spreading forms like Pinus banksiana ‘Schoodic’, which is represented by a 10-year size of 1’x4′.

Much of the decision-making is simply based on preferences, however. Some people prefer variegated conifers such as
Acer p. – 10C
P. contorta -15C
p. sylvestris -25C
p. strobiformis – 20C
p. abies -25C
A. born. – 15 C
2, 3, & 4 no overwintering
5. 2 & 3 needle pines, & spruce
6. everything except Abies & Cedrus, Acer ok
7. all good

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History and Culture of the Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees were first conceived over a thousand years ago. Creating a bonsai has been considered a work of art, and the finished products are revered as living souvenirs in decorative containers. Although the miniaturized trees and the containers are the focal points, small landscapes are often created at the bases of the trees which create their own allure.
Small clay pagodas or nice gravel rock beds are frequently used in the “landscape” around these trees to simulate a tiny world. Carpets of moss are used in place of grassy fields, making these trees very captivating and intriguing.

The Purpose of Bonsai

Large trees are difficult to maintain, and they envelope a large area of any landscape. This was one reason that bonsai was developed—to enjoy a variety of trees but on a smaller scale. These living sculptures are the product of much patience and creativity on the part of the bonsai artist.

How to Develop a Bonsai

To those who have a passion for small, decorative trees, the time and effort involved in maintaining these beautiful masterpieces passes very quickly. However, much practice is required to keep them looking their best.
Not only branch pruning but also root pruning is necessary to preserve the dwarf growth form of these unique trees. For instance, on pine trees, new growth emerges as cylindrical buds at the branch tips, called “candles.” These can be cut back considerably in early spring before needles emerge, to dwarf the growth and ultimately keep the plant more dense.
Root pruning is performed by digging the plant from its container and quite literally cutting back on the roots so that it will not outgrow its small container. These types of pruning prevent the tree from growing too rapidly and keep it easy to maintain.
Copper wires are sometimes used to manipulate branching in such a way that it looks aesthetically appealing, and some branches are literally broken to gain a desired angle. The result is thick, very fascinating branch structures that make the plants look ancient!

Conifer and Maple Varieties Commonly Used for Bonsai

There are particular varieties or cultivars of both maples and conifers that are commonly used as bonsai. Acer palmatum ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’ has a wonderful, densely-set leaf arrangement that naturally makes it look like a large tree on a miniature scale. The sculptural branching and rich dark-green leaf color augment its remarkable form, making it among the most popular of our offerings for use in bonsai.

Conifer and Maple Varieties Commonly Used for Bonsai

Seedlings from ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’ Seedlings from ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’ inherit the same characteristics as the parent plant, making them less-expensive, more unique, and just as beautiful alternatives to ‘Mikawa’. Their varied forms makes no two quite alike!

Dwarf Hinoki Cypresses are often used as bonsai as well. Their incredibly slow growth rate (1-3” per year) make them choice selections! Many forms develop excellent trunk structures, causing them to have an ancient appearance. These naturally-sculptural plants are one of the most popular conifers for use in bonsai.
A pine that is often used in bonsai is Pinus mugo. Its naturally-short, green needles provide excellent structure for the numerous mounding cultivars available. These can easily be cloud pruned or done in the Japanese pan style to display unique forms.

Japanese White Pine has also commonly been used in bonsai over the years due to its attractive, often windswept, form. The silvery-blue needles are frequently curled at the tips. The branching habit of Pinus parviflora makes niwaki-style pruning very easy, and it develops very attractively.

Japanese White Pine

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