I'm looking for a dwarf blue conifer to put in a partial shade garden. Is anyone aware of a particular variety that does better with less sun? My understanding is that they need sun.
blue evergreen for shade?
Describe your "partial shade" conditions. Morning sun? Afternoon sun? Dappled shade all day under trees? Would make a difference with some conifers.
It's dappled all day under trees. That area gets a lot more sun during the winter when the leaves are down. But in summer it's dappled.
You could try one of the false cypress blue varieties, especially Chamaecyparis squarrosa 'Boulevard'. It's relatively easy to find and very attractive. However, your best bet would be to use the very common juniper 'Pfitzeriana Glauca' ('Blue Pfitzer') which I have growing happily in the heavy shade of some maple trees, with just a little morning sun. It eventually grows large, up to 8' to 10' tall, but you could keep it pruned low and spreading. Also, Juniperus var. sargentii 'Glauca' ('Blue Sargents' juniper) which gets to be only 1.5' high and spreads to 6'. I have seen 'Blue Rug' junipers growing fine in shade. Junipers are inexpensive, and would be very hardy for you. Then there are the blue hollies which should do really fine for you in NC. They are not the light blue of the junipers though. There are probably some other evergreens in the South that I am not familiar with. Drive around neighborhoods and see what you can find growing happily in other landscapes.