Heat and Humidity Tolerant Conifers for the Aiken Area by George Brubaker

Below is a listing of some conifers that should perform satisfactorily in the Aiken and surrounding areas. Given existing microclimates and growing conditions, individual experience will vary. Some will benefit with a little protection from direct hot afternoon sun in our area.
There are several cultivars for most of the conifers listed, many of which are smaller than the species. Conifers are generally rated by the annual rate of growth as follows:
Miniature – up to 1”/year
Dwarf – 1”to 6”/year
Intermediate – 6” to 12”/year
Large – more than 12”/year

  • Fir – Abies firma
  • Monkey Puzzle – Auracaria araucana
  • Cedar (true cedars) – Cedrus deodara, atlantica and libanii
  • Japanese Plum Yew – Cephalotaxus harringtonia
  • Hinoki Cypress – Chamaecyparis obtusa
  • Sawara Cypress – Chamaecyparis pisifera
  • Japanese Cedar – Cryptomeria japonica
  • Blue China Fir – Cunninghamia lanceolota
  • Cypress (true cypress) – Cupressus arizonica or glabra and sempervirens
  • Dawn Redwood – Metasequoia glyptostroboides
  • Junipers – Juniperus most species
  • Spruce – Picea omorika and orientalis
  • Pines – Pinus except mugo, and contorta. P. strobus is not real happy but will work. best species are densiflora, thunbergii, sylvestris, bungeana, heldreichii and nigra.
  • Podocarpus
  • Bald Cypress – Taxodium ascendans and distichum
  • Arborvitae – Thuja occidentalis
  • Harbor or False Arborvitae – Thujopsis dolabrata
  • Canadian Hemlock – Tsuga canadensis (Shade and coolest spot in yard)

The source for the above list comes from information provided by the curator and owner of a private arboretum near Atlanta, an arboretum at Armstrong Atlantic State U. in Savannah, review of the internet and literature, and my own experience. Join the American Conifer Society at $30.00 per year. Membership requests can be made to the American Conifer Society National Office, 175 Charisma Lane, Lewisville, NC 27023-
9611. With membership, you receive the “Conifer Quarterly” containing much information of interest to those who are afflicted to the Addicted Conifer Syndrome (ACS). The Society maintains a website, www.conifersociety.org, which contains information on conifers, latest chapter and national information, a link to some sources, a conifer database and other matters of interest.