If you’re looking to add some superb interest to your landscape, or a unique feature tree to your small garden, then you’ve come to the right spot. Here, you’ll see 15 different dwarf weepers guaranteed to level up your landscaping.
But, what are “dwarf weepers”, exactly?
Well, they are described in horticultural terms as trees that grow to a mature size of 1-6 feet, in 10-15 years, at a rate of 1-6 inches per year. If they fit that criterion, then they can be categorized as dwarfs.
Genuine weeping trees are simply anomalies of nature. Where new tree seeds develop and germinate without the biological instructions for rigid trunks and branches.
Choosing Small Weeping Trees
Small weepers have become increasingly popular over the years and are now widely used in landscape design. The compact stature of dwarfs combined with the unique growing habits of weepers makes them versatile enough to fit into a variety of design styles.
They also come in a number of different tree categories. Such as evergreen, ornamental, flowering, and even fruiting. All of which I’ll share with you in a moment.
When considering each of these weeping trees, and imagining one or two of them in your garden, keep in mind the following factors:
- Hardiness Zone
- Maturity Size
- Sunlight Requirements
- Maintenance Requirements
When each of these ticks the right boxes for your proposed planting space, you’ll know you’ve found the perfect one.
Weeping anomalies don’t occur in nature often enough for them to be farmed and commercially sold. Most weepers found in nurseries and garden centers, today, have been cultivated through grafting.
Grafting is a technique whereby two trees are joined so that they appear to grow as a single plant.
In this case, a large branch from a genuine weeping tree is grafted onto the trunk (or rootstock) of a non-weeper of the same species.
Eventual Height and Spread
As mentioned, dwarf weepers can grow up to 6’ tall with an equal spread, at maturity. In rare cases, a bit larger. When planting this ‘ en masse for a privacy wall or hedge, it’s important to space them according to their size at planting time. But, more importantly, size at maturity.
Proper spacing will allow for adequate growth room. In addition to sufficient air circulation to avoid pest and fungal infestations.
Flowering, Evergreen, or Deciduous
The beauty of having so many dwarf weeping trees on offer is that you’re not limited to picking just one. A single feature tree can be absolutely stunning. Yet, in a long border, or circular planting “island”, you can position trees of varying heights, widths, and characteristics together with other shrubs and flowering plants. Creating a stunning composition that will provide visual interest throughout the growing season and right through winter.
One key factor that will make or break the success of your weeping tree choices is the hardiness zone in which they naturally thrive.
Evergreens add an element of strength and resilience to severe, winter landscapes. Remains a brilliant, steadfast green as a reminder that spring is on its way.
In warm climates, where spring appears eternal, evergreens may not be as happy. This is where many fruiting and flowering dwarf weepers flourish.
Weeping Trees for Pots
In cold climates, one way to get around that pesky growing-zone issue is to pick dwarf weepers that can be grown in pots. These can easily be placed throughout your garden with the flexibility of putting them in different places every year. Then, appropriately wintered-over, indoors.
Naturally, in warm climates, this won’t be a concern. But, just as in cold climates, the same flexibility of placement and movement is there.
Dwarf Weeping Trees And Shrubs
Now that you know what dwarf weeping trees and shrubs are, how they’re made and where to grow them, let’s take a look at four distinct dwarf categories. Evergreens, ornamentals, flowering trees, and the piece de resistance, the wondrous weeping cherry. Of which, there are several varieties.
Looking to increase the presence of birds and pollinators in your garden? Keep an eye out for fruiting trees, as these have the sweetest nectar.
For a modern aesthetic, look for evergreens that can withstand heavy pruning. Or a single prolific bloomer that will beautifully offset its minimalist surroundings.
Dwarf Weeping Evergreens
The term “evergreen tree” often sparks images of pinecone-laden, statuesque conifers in dark green hues. That’s certainly not the case with the following three compelling examples.
I’ve chosen to start with these three striking examples, to demonstrate just how interesting and versatile dwarf weeping evergreens can be.
(Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’)
Looking for a small, low-growing evergreen that’s a bit unconventional? The Gold Mop cypress is considered a dwarf shrub with drooping, chartreuse needles that stay true through winter.
Golden Mop cypress will gradually reach 2-3’ tall and wide in the first 10 years. Potentially growing up to 5’ tall, if left unpruned.
Requiring little to no maintenance, this cold-hardy weeper is also insect and disease-resistant. It prefers full sun, in zones 4-8 (Hint: The more sun it has, the brighter its color). As well as moist, fertile soil with a 5.5 to 6.8 pH.
For a hedge or backdrop, plant these 2-3’ apart (from the center of each). In borders or beds, plant them at least 5’ from other shrubs, to allow for healthy growth.
These are currently averaging in price from $50 – $100 for a 1–3-gallon pot.
(Cedrus deodara ‘Monkinn’)
For something equally as vibrant in pots or containers, this unusual dwarf weeping deodar has attractive gold foliage, with hints of bluish-green-variegation. The needles are highly ornamental and remain gold throughout the winter.
The Feelin’ Sunny Cedar can grow (without pruning) to 4’ tall by 8’ wide, at maturity. At a rate of 4 to 6” per year.
Relatively low maintenance, this petite weeper will grow best without pruning. It prefers full sun, in zones 7-9, and moderately fertile soil with a 5.1-7.8 pH.
Due to its unique growing habit, this is typically grown as a feature tree or shrub rather than a hedge or privacy wall.
When planting, the hole should be at least three times wider than the tree’s root ball. This will accommodate for growth and surrounding plantings.
The average price for a trained tree is around $250.
(Tsuga canadensis ‘Pendula’)
This elegant, draping hemlock will be the talk of your garden. With its dramatic dance of growing upward then drooping down at the branch tips. All while spreading lush, lime-green foliage across rock walls, bare tree trunks, and perennial beds, even in winter.
Its “dwarf” nature will still reach 10’ to 15’ tall if allowed to roam up an adjacent tree. Unpruned, it can reach 30’ across your garden. an annual growth rate of 12 inches (30 cm) or more.
Weeping hemlocks perform well in both full sun and partial shade, in zones 4 through 8. While not terribly fussy about soil type, this does prefer consistently moist (but not soggy) soil with a 4.5-6.0 pH range.
Hemlocks will quickly fill in and should therefore be spaced roughly 5 to 10 feet apart. The average price for weeping hemlock starts at $30.
Weeping Dwarf Ornamentals
In contrast to evergreens, ornamentals are defined as deciduous trees with attention-grabbing features. Such as the uncommon, “peeling” bark of birch trees or those with rich and ever-evolving foliage color.
The following three weeping specimens are perfect examples of diminutive ornamentals. Each in their own unique way.
(Cercis canadensis Covey LAVENDER TWIST®)
Named for its spring-blooming, lavender-pink flowers on weeping and twisting branches, this unique redbud can be quite the garden feature. In summer and autumn, it develops large, heart-shaped leaves that change from deep green to rich purple.
This lovely, dwarf redbud can reach 6’ tall (when staked) by 8’ wide, at a rate of 12” per year. Thriving in zones 5-9, Lavender Twist Redbuds prefer loamy, well-draining soil with a 6.5 to 8.0 pH range.
They need a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight, although, in warmer climates, this should be 4 hours of morning sun with afternoon shade, to avoid leaf scorch.
When planting multiples, these uncommon Redbuds trees should be spaced at a minimum of 10 feet apart, for healthy growth.
The starting price for this long-lived bloomer is around $130 for a 4ft specimen.
(Loropetalum chinense ‘Peack’ PP18441)
The ‘Purple Pixie’ displays ornate flowers that resemble small pink tassels, in spring. Coupled with deep burgundy, evergreen foliage, in zones 7-10, for year-round interest.
The weeping loropetalum is considered a trailing dwarf shrub that grows to a mature height of only 1-2 ft. Yet its cascading branches can run 4-5’ long.
Perfect for adding unique color and form to containers, window boxes, and raised perennial beds. Its low, spreading growth works beautifully along slopes, walls, in mass plantings, or as a border edge.
Being an acid-loving plant, this attractive shrub thrives in full sun (for deeper color) and prefers loose, fertile, well-draining soil with a 6.0-7.0 pH.
When used as a groundcover or in mass plantings, position weeping loropetalums 5 ½-6 feet apart.
The average price for this richly colored creeper is less than $100 for a 3gal pot.
(Ginkgo Biloba ‘Mariken’)
The Ginkgo Biloba ‘Mariken’ (Maidenhair) is a dwarf, deciduous tree with a semi-pendulous growing habit. Short, thick branches arc downward, covered in delicate, fan-shaped leaves. Light green foliage fades to brilliant golden yellow, come autumn.
The dwarf weeping ginkgo may only reach 2′ tall by 2′ wide over the first 10 years. Gradually topping out (minus pruning) at 3′ tall by 8′ wide, in zones 4 through 9. Making it a great choice along pathways and in pots.
A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Tolerant to a wide range of soil conditions, including both alkaline and acidic soils.
In borders or pathways, use this tree’s maturity size as a spacing guide with roughly 2’ ft in between mature trees.
The going rate for ginkgo maidenhair is between $120 and $130 for a 2gal pot.
Weeping Flowering Trees
An ornamental is defined as a tree grown for purely aesthetic value, not grown for harvesting its fruit or wood.
The previous category of weeping dwarfs was full of visual beauty and interest. But these next three examples raise the stakes with abundant blooming, fragrance, and color.
(Philadelphus x virginalis)
The Mock orange is a fast-growing, deciduous shrub with a dense, weeping growth habit. Presenting dark green leaves and cupped, white flowers, in late spring and early summer, that fill the air with the scent of orange blossoms.
Considered great value for money, these shrubs can grow a rapid 2’ per year. Growing to a mature height and width of 10-12’, with a rounded shape. Even larger when grown in full sun. Giving the appearance of scalloped lace from a distance.
These aromatic beauties are grown as both a singular, garden feature or in bulk as a stunning privacy hedge. In which case, mock oranges should be planted 6-8’ apart to accommodate their mature size and growth rate.
The average price per plant depends on the stage of maturity and ranges from $50.00 for a 1-gallon plant to around $80 for 3-4ft shrubs.
(Cercis canadensis ‘Pink Heartbreaker’ PP23043)
One of the prettiest pink redbuds around, this heartbreaker is a cold-hardy, spring bloomer that produces hundreds of tiny blush and dark pink flowers along weeping branches. Followed by deep green foliage that matures to a rich copper in autumn.
When staked, this Redbud cultivar will grow to 12’x10’ in just five years. With a relatively fast growth rate, redbuds can live for 60 years, in zones 4-8.
This charmer performs best in full/partial sun and relatively moist conditions. and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. Not choosy as to soil type or pH, these are tolerant enough to thrive in urban, suburban, or rural areas.
As a privacy hedge, space these trees 12 feet apart for healthy growth and sufficient air circulation.
The Pink Heartbreaker Redbud can be yours for around $150 for a semi-mature, 6ft specimen.
(Cercis canadensis ‘Vanilla Twist’ PP22744)
The Vanilla Twist is the only white-blooming Redbud and a delicious alternative to its Lavender cousin, for subtle color palettes. In spring, this presents tiny peach-colored leaves and a multitude of flower clusters. In summer, leaves mature to large hearts of dark green.
This Redbud puts on quite a show for its size, reaching a maximum of 6’ by 4’. In zones 5-9, it prefers full/partial sun and moist conditions. Tolerant of most soil types, these are hardy enough to grow anywhere within their hardiness zone.
As a privacy barrier, space these trees 12’ apart for healthy growth and sufficient air circulation. They should be planted no closer than 8’ from the house when used as an accent or corner planting.
The average price per plant depends on the stage of maturity and ranges from $100.00-$200.00.
Miniature Weeping Cherry Trees
For the grand finale, I present the Weeping Cherry. As one of the most beautiful weepers in the horticultural world, these range from only 8’ tall, at maturity, to 40’. The larger can be maintained at a much smaller size when planted as a young sapling.
(Prunus x yedoensis pendula)
Japanese flowering cherry trees are a definite standout in this category. With cascading branches full of almond-scented, white, and pink blossoms that materialize in spring. In summer, dark pink leaves emerge that mature to dark green before turning a radiant crimson and copper in fall.
The Yoshino Cherry can grow to 30’ tall by 20’ wide, at maturity. Yet, can be kept to a more manageable size when started as a small sapling.
In zones 5-8, this cultivar thrives in full sun and moist well-draining soil types that have a pH range of 6.0-7.0.
As a curb appeal feature, there should be at least 10 feet between your Yoshino weeping cherry and your home. When planting ‘en masse, allow for at least 60 feet in between each tree, to accommodate maturity size.
A 3-4’ sapling can be obtained for around $140.
(Prunus x ‘Extrazam’)
This extraordinary weeping cherry is the newest cultivar on the market. Known for its uncommon double-petalled, pink blooms that deepen in color throughout spring. In summer, a fountain of emerald-green leaves is created that develops gradient hues of burgundy.
This cherry weeper reaches heights of 20’, at a rate of 1-2’ per year. Perfect as a front garden feature with visual interest throughout the year. In zones 5-8, it prefers full sun or partial shade and loose, well-drained soil.
Just as with the Yoshino Cherry, there should be at least 10’ between your cherry cultivar and your home. For larger groupings, plant these trees no less than 60’ apart, to allow for the healthy growth of each root system.
The average price for a Weeping Extraordinaire Cherry is between $170 and $220, depending on the stage of maturity and pot size.
(Prunus x ‘Snofozam’)
As weeping cherry trees go, the dwarf Snow Fountains Cherry couldn’t be more spectacular. Pendulous branches, covered in pure white, spring blooms, give the appearance of gently falling snow. In summer, 3” long leaves bud in alternate positions along each branch.
Compared to other cherry cultivars, this small weeper remains a petite 8 to 15 ft. tall, and 6 to 12 ft. wide. The ideal size for small gardens and oversized pots. Cold-hardy, this cherry tree performs best in moist and fertile, well-draining soil with full sun exposure.
Its smaller stature and root system won’t pose as much of a concern, compared to larger weeping cherry varieties. Planting these 6-8 feet from the foundation of your home, or other structure will be sufficient, without being invasive.
The average price for a Weeping Extraordinaire Cherry is between $70 and $200, depending on pot size.
Using Dwarf Trees For Garden Landscaping
Dwarf trees can be found highlighting a surprising array of landscape designs. The Snow Fountain weeping cherry would be an essential component of any Zen Garden. Contributing color, subtle fragrance, and form.
Imagine a pair of Feelin’ Sunny Deodar Cedar Trees flanking the front entrance of a craftsman’s home. Offering a sense of light and complimentary whimsy to hard lines and dark colors.
The Gold Mop Cypress would blend perfectly into a cottage or informal garden. And of course, we can’t forget all those luscious redbuds! Low maintenance and color abound in gardens of any size.
Dwarf Weeping Trees Final Thoughts
Nothing adds more eye-catching interest to landscapes than dwarf weeping evergreen trees and shrubs. Their downward-flowing presence will create a unique feature, no matter what your design aesthetic.
Keeping in mind that not everyone has 6 acres of garden to play with, dwarf trees offer the same wow factor as larger specimens. The only difference is that a mere fraction of the room is needed.
The important thing is to have fun with color and seasonal interests. Pick one (or a few!) that really speaks to you and your gardening style. The rewards will be endless.