Potted Trees That Stay Green in Cold Weather

Chilly fall weather triggers plants to put in a dormant condition for winter. Many trees lose their leaves, but evergreens are vibrant year around. Evergreen trees growing in containers have a tendency to stay smaller than when they were planted in the ground, however potted trees need more permeable to live in their container for a long time to come.

Narrow-Leaved Trees

Narrow-leaved trees produce needle-like leaves, which can be brief or long. Pruning the ends of the branches back to control dimension permits those trees grow for a long time in containers. Fern podocarpus trees (Podocarpus gracilior) produce dense branches covered with delicate textured gray-green narrow leaves at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. This fern-like tree attains 50 feet tall when grown from the ground, but shearing this tree back will continue to keep its size under control. “Papoose” dwarf Sitka spruce trees (Picea sitchensis “Papoose”) are dwarf conifers that grow 2 inches each year, reaching 3 to 6 ft tall. This tree grows best in USDA zones 7 and 8, with all puffballs composed of fresh needle growth at the tips of its branches. Its needles mature to silvery-blue on one side and green on the other.

Broad-Leaved Trees

The leaves on broad-leaved trees are broader and flatter than needle-like leaves. “Small Ollie” olive trees (Olea europaea “Small Ollie”), growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, reach 4 to 6 ft tall and wide with dark green leaves. This olive tree does not produce fruit and also tolerates drought conditions. White fragrant Himalayan champaca (Michelia champaca “Alba”) rises slowly, reaching 25 to 30 feet tall and wide when not trimmed back. In USDA zones 10 and 11, this shrub produces fragrant white blossoms appearing in the middle of winter during spring.

Small-Leaved Trees

Small-leaved trees produce foliage broader than needle-like leaves, but smaller than wide leaves. Most of these kinds of evergreen trees have been grown for their foliage, which shears well into contours. “Green Mountain” boxwood trees (Buxus sempervirens “Green Mountain”) grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 8 with dark green leaves. This slow-growing dwarf evergreen tree, reaching 3 feet tall and wide, is usually grown as a potted topiary. Sweet bay trees (Laurus nobilis) grow in a pyramidal form, with yellow spring flowers and aromatic green leaves that are used to season food. Sweet bay attains 20 to 35 feet tall when planted in the ground, but remains smaller when grown in containers and also kept trimmed back.

Frond-Leaved Trees

Trees with fronds provide container gardens a verdant tropical appearance. Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) rises in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, producing a multi-trunked tree with blue-green fronds and tiny yellow blossoms. This slow-growing palm tree attains 10 to 15 tall. Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) grows best in USDA zones 9 through 11, with tropical 3- to 6-foot-long fronds forming rosettes in addition to stout trunks. The large leaves are made up of many narrow stiff leaflets. This extremely slow-growing tree attains 10 feet tall and blooms just when fully grown.

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