Virtues: A rugged, dense evergreen shrub that makes a nice evergreen mat. Foliage turns bronze or purplish bronze in winter, for something “different.” A good alternative to mat-forming junipers.
Common name: Russian cypress, Russian arborvitae, Siberian cypress
Botanical name: Microbiota decussata
Foliage: Foliage looks soft and feathery but feels sharp. Foliage is green in warm weather and bronze in cold weather.
Habit: Low, spreading evergreen conifer to 12 inches tall and 10 feet wide. Branches arch, giving it a mounded look.
Origin: Mountains of Siberia, above the tree line.
Cultivation: Grow in full sun to partial shade. Coloration and form are best in more sun. easy to grow and tolerant of various soils, but needs good drainage. A slow grower. Tolerates wind. Deer resistant. USDA Zones 3–7.
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Shrubs and trees with great winter interest are featured in Wonders of the Winter Landscape.
Choose the best conifers for our garden with The Timber Press Pocket Guide to Conifers.
Heat-tolerant groundcovers abound in Groundcovers for the South.