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Gold Rush

Golden conifers are one of the hottest trends in landscaping today.

Golden conifers
The glow of larch (top left) is brilliant but brief. 'Taylor's Sunburst'pine (top right), 'Wintergold' fir (bottom left) and 'Sunkist' arborvitae (bottom right) are dazzling and hold onto their needles all year.
Have you ever seen a larch tree in autumn? Its green needles turn to gold—an awesome sight (top left photo). Unfortunately the needles drop after one month, leaving you with six months of bleak, barren branches to stare at. Yikes!

What if there were evergreens that sparkled in gold while holding onto their needles?

This dream has come true. Nurseries have discovered an amazing array of golden conifers. Some of these plants sparkle in spring, some in winter, and some all year round! These colorful conifers are one of the hottest trends in landscaping today.

Start with ‘Taylor’s Sunburst’ lodgepole pine, a true showstopper! I’ve seen its dazzling presence at the Minot Zoo and it grows well in Bismarck landscapes (top right photo). Its new needles emerge in a burst of bright gold, then lighten during summer, and finally turn into a rich green in fall. The tree can be used as a showy specimen in any landscape.

If you are looking for gold in winter, consider ‘Wintergold’ concolor fir. Its needles appear as chartreuse in spring (bottom left photo), changing to dark green in summer, and then yellow in fall. This fir does best in partial sun. Spectacular!

The needles of ‘Sunkist’ arborvitae emerge as lemon yellow in spring (bottom right photo), turning warm orange in fall. ‘Rheingold’, ‘Golden Globe’ and ‘Holmstrup’ are other promising arborvitaes. Select a sheltered spot to prevent injury from winter winds.

Be on the lookout for these golden conifers at your local garden center or search online. “Gold Fever” is spreading among nurseries and new varieties are being discovered all the time.


Written by , Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report for August 18, 2017

Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers. Andrei  Zverev, Greg Morgenson, NDSU; Sam Pratt Copyright of Conifer Kingdom 2017; Bailey Nurseries, Inc..

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