Habit and Form
Literally dozens of cultivars exist, but those listed here are most common a represent the broad spectrum of forms available.
'Bobozam' (Mr. Bowling Ball) - Perhaps worth owning just for its unique names, this new dwarf form reportedly forms a perfect ball no larger than 3' tall and wide. The foliage is dense and medium green, needing no pruning to remain neat and tidy.
'Emerald' (also known as 'Smaragd' and 'Emerald Green') - This plant has become one of the most commercially popular standard forms. It displays bright emerald green foliage that holds its color well even during the winter months. The habit is narrow and compact with vertically held sprays of foliage. It grows to 15' tall and 5' wide and is well suited to hedging, formal accents and barriers. This cultivar shows excellent cold and heat tolerance.
'Hetz Midget' - A popular dwarf form, this old selection forms a rounded mound of layered light green foliage. It is slow-growing and usually does not exceed 3' tall.
'Holmstrup' - Popular for its narrow, compact upright habit to 5' tall and 2' wide, this plant bears upright sprays of light green foliage. It thrives in light shade, produces good cone set and functions well as a low hedge.
'Little Gem' - In time reaching 3' tall and greater in spread, this dense rounded form bears dark green foliage that bronzes slightly in winter.
'Little Giant' - This 6' tall and wide globe of healthy green foliage grows slowly and is easily maintained as a dwarf plant.
'Lutea' (also known as 'George Peabody') - This is a large-growing pyramidal form that can exceed 30' tall. The most notable feature of this fine old form, however, is the bright yellow foliage that is strong most of the season.
'Nigra' - Selected for its fine dark green winter color, this symmetrical, pyramidal form reaches 15' to 25' tall and 5' to 8' wide.
'Pyramidalis' - Representing perhaps more than one clone, this cultivar describes a form that is narrow and compact with a pyramidal form to 15' tall and 4' wide. The summer foliage is soft and bright green, but the plant may suffer winter discoloration.
'Rheingold' (very similar to 'Ellwangeriana Aurea') - Very popular in recent years, this ovoid plant grows to 5' tall and wide and is most notable for its orange-yellow foliage that deepens and reddens in winter. 'Aurea' is similar, but smaller -- to 3' tall and wide with a globe shape.
'Sherwood Frost' (also listed, perhaps incorrectly, as 'Sherwood Forest') - A very unusual variegated plant that shines in winter, this broad-upright plant has branch tips colored creamy-white. It is slow-growing and compact, possibly benefitting from a site in light shade.
'Techny' (also known as 'Mission') - Popular as a subject for hedging and screening, this broad pyramidal plant grows slowly to 15' tall. It holds its deep green foliage all year and is considered one of the hardiest forms available.
'Wareana' - The leaves of this very hardy form are blue-green and appear thick and heavy. It is useful for screens, but growth is slow to 8' tall with a pyramidal shape. This cultivar is considered one of the best choices for areas with cold winters. 'Wareana Lutescens' is similar, but has unusual creamy-yellow foliage coloring.
'Wintergreen' (also known as 'Hetz Wintergreen') - A superior pyramidal form which grows to 30' tall and 10' wide, this plant holds its dark green foliage color even through cold winters. It may also display better shade tolerance than other forms, but is not as fine-textured in foliage and habit.
'Woodwardii' - This is an older globe-shaped form which generally reaches 5' tall and wide. The foliage is dark green in summer, but often browns badly in winter. For this reason, it is not considered preferable to other, newer globular forms.