In The Garden Now… Gentsch White Hemlock

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gentsch White Dwarf Hemlock 
Gentsch White Dwarf Hemlock 
Text and photo
by Victoria Gilleland

If you love the garden in winter when snow dusts the boughs of evergreen trees and shrubs with white you’re going to love this shrub.

Gentsch White Hemlock has what appears to be a delicate dusting of snow on its branches year round. No actual snow or freezing temperatures required!

A stunning dwarf member of the Hemlock family Gentsch White Hemlock would be a wonderful addition to most any part shade to shady garden. 

Because this plant tends to grow branches all the way to the ground it can be used as a feature shrub by itself in the garden.

The white tipped new growth sets this shrub apart from most everything else in the garden and really does look like snow covered branches or maybe branches dusted with powdered sugar which seems a little more understandable in summer.

The evergreen white foliage adds a unique light texture to the landscape. If grown in full sun the fresh whitish foliage takes on an unappealing burnt toast look……like it’s on its way out! 

This is a dwarf conifer but remember its close relatives are 50 to 80 foot tall forest trees! You can expect the plant to reach 8 feet or more high and wide if not sheared. 

If sheared in spring a new crop of branches covered with fresh creamy needles will soon appear and the plant will grow in a roundish shape to 4 - 5 feet high and wide by the time winter arrives.

Due to space limitations I want my shrub to stay around four feet. Each spring I shear my plant to about 1 ½ feet high and wide. It quickly grows back into an attractive snow sprinkled evergreen shrub that everyone asks about. It’s a real knockout in the garden!

(Botanical Name: Tsuga canadensis ‘Gentsch White’)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


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