8 Beautiful Dwarf Weeping Trees

Weeping trees have long been admired for the tranquil ambience their cascading fronds bring to a variety of countryside settings. 

While a spacious plain or ample pasture is ideal for the larger of these beauteous species, a fitting and equally mesmerizing alternative for the gardener working with a smaller patch of land may be found in its diminutive cousin: the aptly named Dwarf Weeping Tree.

These low-maintenance, striking and compact trees are perfect for those looking to add an ornamental touch with year-round appeal. In fact, Dwarf Willow Trees are prized by many; from professional landscapers designing a highly structured haven to the novice gardener looking to bring a touch of originality and flair to a courtyard or balcony. 

In this article, I have listed some of the most elegant and popular varieties and included steps to help you choose and care for your selected specimen.

Types of Dwarf Weeping Trees

Whether evergreen or deciduous, Dwarf Weeping Trees have many unique characteristics such as arching branches, unrivaled blossoms, an abundance of colors and contrasting leaves. Plus, they are more manageable if you have a smaller landscape compared to larger varieties and types of willow trees.

You just need to decide if you want a cascade of year-round greenery or a change for all seasons. 

Flowering Dwarf Weeping Trees

The wonderful thing about flowering dwarf weeping trees is that they can enliven the smallest garden space with the feel of a secret forest! Most flowering dwarf trees will appreciate full sun but some can tolerate shade and even a degree of cold. 

In this article, I have included a number of flowering dwarf weeping trees that will enable you to create a dramatic focal point no matter what your space options are. 

From the delicate pink petals of a weeping cherry tree to the rich ‘red dragon’ vermillion impact of a Japanese maple. I’ve covered details about how to identify and care for a range of foliage-rich canopies. 

Evergreen Weeping Dwarf Trees

These small drooping trees are surprisingly easy to take care of and can maintain winter interest long after your other shrubs have turned to gold and brown. Most are versatile and adapt well to differing conditions, remaining functional yet elegant all year round. 

With a natural affinity for stone and rocks, many dwarf weeping evergreens fit perfectly with patios and terraces. Drought-resistant and hardy, you will find a sprawling cornucopia of shades and shapes, all perfect for breaking up the geometric lines of your garden or yard. 

Read on to discover a host of evergreen dwarf weeping trees and learn all about their care requirements. 

1. Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus pendula)

Weeping Cherry Tree
  • Grows in full sun or partial shade
  • Dimensions: 6 to 15 ft height x 4 to 8 ft spread
  • Seeds, stems and leaves are toxic

Dwarf weeping cherry trees will grow best in fertile soil with full or partial sun. Just be careful of planting them in too much shade as their growth will be affected and make them susceptible to root rot. This springtime flowering delight is hardy in USDA Zones 2-8.

The flexible, flowering branches are what create the ‘weeping’ appearance of these decorative, deciduous trees. Each flower has 5 or more petals in shades ranging from white to deep pink. 

Their delicate blossoms also attract a plethora of bees and butterflies. However, if this is one of your aims, avoid the double-flowering varieties as the bees will not be able to get to the nectar. 

A dwarf weeping cherry tree shares many characteristics with other cherry trees but has a genome which limits its growth. In fact, it will only grow to a maximum height of 15 ft.

Only a few of the flowers it produces will turn into fruit which is sour, small and completely inedible for humans. Birds, however, do enjoy these tiny cherries and will feast on as many as they can get!

If you have decided upon a dwarf weeping cherry tree, it will be best placed in well-draining soil which is moist without being waterlogged. 

Be sure to take into account the amount of space they need once their arched branches umbrella out into blossoming canopies. They need oxygen to circulate between the foliage 

The leaves, blossoms and stems of the dwarf cherry tree are toxic to both humans and animals.

2. Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’

Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’
  • Grows in sun or partial shade
  • Dimensions: 4 – 8 ft height  x 4 -8 ft spread
  • Mildly toxic to humans

This small evergreen tree can be planted all year round if you water it well for the first few months or if there is prolonged exposure to dry and hot weather. It is hardy through USDA Zones 5-7 or 8.

The long arching branches will form a convex shape with glossy dark green leaves offsetting the white flowers which will make themselves known by June or July. These will attract pollen-seeking bees who by autumn, will be replaced by birds hunting for the tiny, ripening red berries.

The cotoneaster can be quite easily propagated from seeds or stem cuttings. The cutting method is favoured by gardeners because the seeds can take over a year to germinate.

Typically growing to a maximum height of 4 – 8 feet, the dwarf cotoneaster is easy to care for if you have a good location, they need full sun or partial shade. They require little or no pruning so are ideal for a new plant parent.

3. Dwarf Acer (Palmatum dissectum) ‘Ever Red Tree’

Dwarf Acer
Author: Lars Curfs CC by 3.0
  • Partial sun
  • Dimensions:  3 ft height x 6 ft spread
  • Not toxic to people or pets

The dwarf Acer likes to be in a sheltered position as they need protection from cold winds as well as from frosts. Although they are tolerant of most soils, they will benefit from some extra care when it comes to climate.

Dappled shade will produce the most beautiful colours and too much sun can quickly fade the stunning red hues. These are hardy in USDA zones 4-8.

Known for their rich, lacy form, they adapt very well to pot growing and their proportions make them perfect for small gardens and patios. Reaching a maximum of around 3 feet, they are ideal for smaller spaces and are easy to care for.

Known to be somewhat drought tolerant, however, I strongly recommend using rainwater to water your dwarf Acer as the acidity will produce a more striking range of colours.

Carry out pruning during dormant months (November-March) to avoid weakening the overall structure. Pruning should include removing damaged, distorted, and diseased branches very gently and sparingly.

4. Dwarf Weeping Fig Tree (Ficus benjamina)

4. Dwarf Weeping Fig Tree (Ficus benjamina)
  • Plenty of indirect sunlight
  • Dimensions: 3 ft height x 3 ft spread
  • Sap within the plant is mildly toxic

Native to tropical climates, the dwarf weeping fig tree will thrive in high humidity and if this is not available, it will show with dry and fading leaves.

In its natural environment, it can tolerate shade and semi-shade but when growing indoors, it will need plenty of light. This dwarf variety does not like being moved around and in the search for the right amount of light, you may find you are unintentionally causing it distress.

This fast-growing elegant tree with its thick, glossy leaves is comparatively easy to propagate from cuttings. Try to take these in the Spring when warmth and moisture are more readily available. It is unusual to be successful in trying to propagate from seeds or for indoor plants to bear fruit. Despite its name, this tree is not to be mistaken for the standard fig tree Ficus carica with its delicious large sweet fruit.

Dwarf weeping fig trees can reach a maximum of around 3 feet tall and are hardy in USDA Zones 9-11.

Somewhat susceptible to common pests such as mealybugs, aphids and spider mites, keep a close eye and use insecticidal soap to save your tree from destruction.

5. Cercidiphyllum Japonicum Pendulum Tree (Katsura tree)

Cercidiphyllum Japonicum Pendulum Tree
Author: Quadell CC-BY-3.0
  • Grow in a sheltered position, away from frost
  • Dimensions: 3 ft height x 3 ft spread
  • No toxic effects reported

Native to the forests of China and Japan, Cercidiphyllum japonicum likes lots of room to spread out. As well as some dappled shade and shelter from cold winds. Leaves can suffer damage when left exposed to a prolonged frost. This long-lived deciduous tree will do well in USDA Zones 4-8

Given adequate conditions, this small, elegant Katsura tree has tiny heart-shaped leaves, and rich deep green foliage which turns orange, yellow, pink, purple and red when autumn comes. The scent it produces has been said to be reminiscent of burnt sugar or cotton candy.

It will grow to around 3 x 3 metres tall in well-drained, moist chalk, clay and sand soil with a neutral pH.

It is also relatively easy to propagate by seed or semi-hardwood and basal cuttings.

6. Cercis canadensis redbud tree ‘Lavender Twist’

Cercis canadensis redbud tree
  • Grow in full sun to partial shade
  • Dimensions: 12 ft height x 15 ft spread
  • Parts of the plant are toxic

Native to North America, the Cercis canadensis redbud tree (otherwise known as a lavender twist) is a small, cascading deciduous tree which provides year-round interest if it has fertile soil and a consistent level of moisture.

Ensure you water well for the first few months and keep checking soil moisture levels when the weather is excessively hot and dry to avoid drying out.

Good companion plants for your lavender twist are bluebells, violets, daffodils and woodland phlox.

Typically reaching 12 feet in height, this dwarf tree is very manageable and requires very little pruning. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 9.

Expect the most fantastic display of blooms if allowed to bathe in full sun but if you happen to be in an extremely hot climate, then do consider a shadier spot. This dwarf variety is highly attractive to bees and butterflies when flowering.

Keep a good area of 1-2ft around your lavender twist free from roaming grass and weeds which will compete for nutrients and moisture otherwise. Easily propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings.

7. Gold Mop Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

Gold Mop Cypress
  • Prefers full sun
  • Dimensions: 5 ft height x 5 ft spread
  • Not toxic for humans or animals

Native to Japan, the golden mop is a cold-hardy weeping tree that can grow to around 5 feet tall if allowed to go unpruned for several years. With a preference for full sun, it will thrive in USDA Zones 4-8 but bear in mind that the more sun it receives, the brighter and richer the colour will be.

This extremely low-maintenance evergreen prefers fertile soil with a pH of between 5.5 – 6.8 and is wonderfully insect and disease resistant. The golden mop is perfect for rock gardens, patios and roof gardens, in fact, its compact size and self-sufficiency make it an ideal choice for any gardener wanting to add a particularly unique shrub to their outdoor spaces.

Its foliage has been compared to fine, stringy jewellery because of the way the delicate golden-yellow threads hang. This pendulous golden mop will retain its colour throughout the year while its red-brown bark creates a beautiful contrast. Reaching a maximum height of 5 feet, it is very manageable and requires little maintenance making it an ideal choice for the new plant parent!

8. Dwarf birch (Betula nana)

Dwarf birch
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Dimensions: 3-4 ft x 3-4 ft spread
  • Not known to be toxic

This many-branched shrub is native to the mountainous regions of Europe, from the Alps to Norway, Asia, Siberia and North-west territories. It appreciates cold areas and thrives in USDA Zone 2. This variety does not bode well in warmer climes and ideally prefers heavy clay soil (pH range of 5.0 to 6.5) in an exposed spot.

Growing up to 4 ft in height, the dwarf weeping birch tree has delicate, heart-shaped, airy fronds which droop into canopies of brilliant green foliage. It is perfect for those who love birch trees but either have limited space options or are concerned that the highly decorative and sprawling birch may overpower the rest of the garden.

This diminutive birch is generally pest resistant, but it has been noted that this species is vulnerable to honey fungus.

Best propagated from seed, simply cover slightly and place the pot in a place with plenty of light.

Dwarf Weeping Tree Care

There are many reasons to choose a dwarf weeping tree for your garden, patio or balcony: They are easier to take care of than a full-size tree – not only because of their stature but weeping trees’ habit of growing in down-ward cascades means that they take up less space.

They are simpler to move around if you want to revive the structure of your horticultural display and they can add a uniquely personal and intimate touch which is easy to monitor and track the progress of. Florida University explains here why dwarf trees make such great garden companions.

We have looked at a number of dwarf weeping trees in this article and seen that they have varying requirements and characteristics but there are some universal tips and guidance which apply to most, if not all of these ornamental shrubs.

For instance, most require neutral or acid soil which is well-drained. If fruit-bearing or flowering, they will require as much sun as possible and all will need dead or diseased branches to be removed by clean, sharp, disinfected shears.

Dwarf Weeping Trees FAQ

What is the most popular dwarf weeping tree?

One of the most stunning, compact and easy-to-care-for dwarf weeping trees is the dwarf weeping cherry tree (Prunus pendula). Ideal for smaller spaces, this beautiful little tree will produce masses of pink and white flowers in the spring and will look spectacular throughout the year with minimal care.

Citations

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.