Make Your Garden Beautiful With Columnar Shrubs – The Ultimate Guide

As the world of gardening is expanding, the landscapers look for ways to utilize whatever space they have most effectively. One such purpose is fulfilled by the columnar shrubs and the columnar evergreen trees. These are the narrow plants that can realize your dream of having a tree even in the smallest space.

The columnar plants add flair to the garden design. They bloom with the most beautiful flowers, some just have shiny leaves, most of them give the nectar and pollen to various hosts, while some even give juicy fruits.

We hope that you are intrigued enough about them and it is here that we suggest you read on to know more.


What are the columnar shrubs?

columnar shrubs

Also known as Fastigiate trees, the columnar trees or shrubs are known for their distinctive growing habits. These exhibit a naturally narrow and tall growth pattern, have erect branches that make the plant appear like a straight and erect column as they also reduce the size of the canopy. This growth form allows efficient sunlight penetration even to the tips of the branch.

Due to their shape, they act as an excellent filler and prove to be very practically useful and space-efficient. Their narrow habit makes them suitable for a large variety of landscapes and even the tightest of spaces.

The significance of these trees lies in the fact they are a symbol of confidence, majesty, and strength because of their upright growth and stand.

What are the benefits of having columnar plants in the garden?

There are a lot of ways the columnar shrubs and the columnar evergreen trees add charm to any landscape. Let’s see how:

  • They add a vertical impact and power to any space by anchoring any planting bed or displaying contrasting plant forms.
  • They can make any entrance dramatic by acting as pole pair and act as attractive property boundary or fencing too when planted together closely.
  • A great thing about them is you have a type of columnar plant for every size of space and they have a very tiny footprint.
  • They also make up to be strong windbreakers by slowing it down and rolling inwards, absorb the noise in the environment, and give privacy to the home from the onlookers.
  • Most of these trees have a neat, tidy, and formal appearance which adds a sharp and edgy definition to the gardens.
  • The best part is that they need low maintenance and their pruning needs are also less unless you want to give them any specific shape.

What are some of the types of columnar plants?

There is no strict classification as the plants exhibit a mix of characteristics and the gardeners use them for various purposes. However, for your convenience, we have categorized some popular examples for you to decide better as to which one you will pick out of these columnar shrubs.

columnar shrubs

Deciduous columnar trees

Slender Silhouette Sweetgum

This tree can grow as long as 60 feet just like a network tower upon its maturity. It looks like whiplash and possesses extremely beautiful foliage of star shape. This native of the Southeast is very tough and adapts to a wide range of climatic variations.

It grows fast with the right care and emits the perfect radiance during fall.

Kindred Spirit Oak

This columnar is known for its youthfulness and long life that will surely become the catchiest part of your landscape. It never overbears foliage that makes it appear tidy and narrow. This foliage also changes its hue from silver to golden-brown during the fall, leaving the sculpted branches exposed.

Red Obelisk European Beech

The Obelisk is another tree that has a magnificent appearance and they will accompany you for a long time. The spring season is their blooming time when they put on to display lush foliage of young red leaves that shimmer. It grows to the limits of the sky and yet manages to remain bounded in the narrow shape.

Columnar evergreen trees

Columnar Norway spruce

It is very small when compared to a regular Spruce tree but poses like a proud and tall sentinel. The foliage consists of needle-shaped leaves, forest green in color, and it gives an amazing color-rich background to other plants of the garden. Be it any kind of landscape, these trees will be the perfect addition.

Dragon Lady Holly

It is a lovely tree and poses like a stylish and slender pyramid of vibrancy. The lush green foliage of the tree along with shiny red berries is the primary component of the tree’s grandeur. The natural shape of Lady Holly is very formal and tidy but you can enhance it further with some pruning as required.

Columnar Colorado blue spruce

Also known as Picea pungens, this coniferous tree has silvery green-blue needles foliage and can survive in the coldest conditions. It has conical habitat and the shade of the tree makes it stand out in the landscape. It grows to various heights, needs low maintenance, and the base of the tree exhibits a lush blossom.

Fruit-bearing columnar trees

Red Apple or the Scarlet Sentinel

This is a cultivar of the apple tree that is deciduous and super narrow in shape. This beautiful and rare specimen is sustained by the strong branches that are the key development. The lovely and bright white flowers bloom in the spring and then become red apples that mature during September.

Weeping Persimmon

This columnar has a huge lifespan of around 75 years during which it keeps growing to great heights as much as 30 feet. The name weeping denotes the unique shape of the branches that curve inwards from a point where they were pointing up. The leaves are thick, jade in color, and the white flowers grow into becoming plump, sweet orange fruit.

Narrow trees for small landscapes

The columnar shrubs are best for narrow landscapes as they take less horizontal space and add a charming layer of interest and dimension to them.

Ilex Crenata or Sky Pencil

This variety of the columnar shrubs is narrow and upright with height as long as 6 feet. This holly has smooth leaves and they have two different species of male and female. They are evergreen hollies, perfect for miniature gardens, and the female specie produces small purple berries too.

Emerald Green Arborvitae

A large number of homeowners and landscapers prefer this columnar for filling the tight spaces with evergreen blossoms. They retain their shiny green color in all the seasons and makeup to be a very attractive natural privacy screen when grown tightly together. These North-east natives are very adaptable and flourish best in dry and hot regions.

Skyrocket juniper

It’s a North American native that hits up to a height of 15 feet easily and spreads 2-3 foot around. The foliage of the tree makes a statement with the green-blue color and displays a stunning screen. It’s that specie of the Juniper which has evergreen foliage and doesn’t require maintenance or pruning for shaping.

Columnar barberries

The varieties named Helmond’s Pillar and Sunjoy Gold Pilar are the ones you can plant in your garden, even in the smallest of spaces like container, garage walkways, entrance, or fences. You can plant them in groups or alone depending on the height you prefer. They exhibit amazing fall colors and the grandeur is magnified by the berries.

Fine line Buckthorn

It’s one of the versatile columnar shrubs and possesses the unique qualities of drought resistance, self-maintenance, flexible light needs, and sterility. The leaves have a fine texture and bright yellow color during the fall season. The brown stems are the foundation of its sturdy sculpture which looks beautiful even after the leaves fall.

You can plant these columnar trees if you have large landscapes.

American Arborvitae or Thuja occidentalis

This conical and round columnar will make to be the perfect fencing if you have a huge garden. It reaches up to a height of 30 feet and they display stunning peaks to stun the audience. They have scaly leaves, yellowish-green seed cones, fanny branches, brownish-red bark, and need very low maintenance.

Italian Cypress

It’s a true columnar tree that is very narrow and best for a lot of purposes. Their height range is very wide, they can be as short as 2 feet and they go all the way up to 40 feet if left on their whims. The lush foliage grows greener in full sun and can be seen in the residential areas as fences or even container plants.

How to care for columnar evergreen trees?

columnar shrubs

The trees belong to the low maintenance category but you still need to know some essential things about them. You must first know the growing zone and then pick the right plant accordingly.

The next step is to cater to the sunlight needs of the plant as it differs with every variety. Most of them prefer full to partial sun. The soil medium must be well-drained and with adequate moisture, so water and mulch them accordingly.

Fertilize them according to the need of the particular plant. As already stated, these trees don’t require any additional trimming unless for preventing excess growth and removing the dead branches. Mostly, late fall or early spring is the right time for their pruning.

Plant a Columnar according to the space keeping in mind their height. Watch this video to know more.


We are pretty sure that now you have decided to get columnar shrubs for your garden for enhancing the appearance of your garden. There are so many other varieties to explore and we suggest you take care of your preferences before option for the columnar evergreen trees.

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Happy gardening!

Tom Rico

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