Dwarf Birch Trees For Shade [11 Excellent Options For Landscaping]

Popular and admired by many gardeners, birch trees are slender and graceful trees that look magically enchanting throughout the whole year. These trees change their appearance every season, from having beautiful leaflets in the spring to their beautifully exposed bark in the winter.

Most birches are very tall, but dwarf birch varieties grow a lot shorter and provide excellent shade for gardens. These plants add a touch of elegance to any garden, which is why landscapers enjoy adding dwarf birch trees to many homes. Here are some of the excellent options you can try in your garden.

Scenic view of summer lake. Small wooden house on the lake shore. Dwarf Birch Trees For Shade [11 Excellent Options For Landscaping]

Dwarf Birch Trees For Shade [11 Excellent Options For Landscaping]

Birches have a number of varieties that showcases their beauty in all forms. Most birches are trees, growing quite high and mighty. However, birches also have smaller varieties that grow into shrubs, or short trees that don't grow too tall for a garden.

Birch trees are also popular for their shade because of their wide-spreading crown of leaves, as well as thick foliage. Whatever variant of birch you choose, make sure to allocate the proper space for them to grow, as well as the rich, moist soil that these trees love.

1. Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)

The smallest out of the many varieties of birch trees, the Dwarf Birch is native to Alaska and northern Canada, to Baffin Island, Labrador, and Greenland. It is also very common in the United Kingdom and it is often used as groundcover in many gardens. It can also be an ornamental plant in any garden.

Autumnal dwarf birch (Betula nana)

The Dwarf Birch are actually small alpine and tundra shrubs. They grow about 20 inches tall on average, but good conditions can help them grow a bit taller. This plant has circular leaves and they act as a food source for birds and grazing animals.

2. Cesky Gold® Birch (Betula x plettkei)

The Cesky Gold® Birch is the Proven Winners' cultivated birch variety. This birch is cold-tolerant and deer-resistant, which makes them a great addition to garden landscapes that have wild fauna surrounding them. 

This particular birch looks beautiful throughout any season, as the foliage changes in pretty hues of red, yellow, orange, and chartreuse. When left alone, its fan-like appearance will add a touch of wildness to any landscaped garden, but it can also be pruned into shape to use in low hedges.

3. Resin Birch (Betula glandulosa or Betula nana s.l.)

Resin Birch or sometimes commonly called the American Dwarf Birch is a birch shrub that grows a little taller than its predecessors. It can grow up to 6 to 10 feet tall, with a dark brown colored bark. The twigs have large resinous warty glands, with leaves that are round and leathery.

This species of birch is native to North America, and it is a pretty common source of food for many wildlife. The addition of this particular birch variety to your landscaped garden will particularly be beneficial if your area needs erosion control. 

4. Bog Birch (Betula pumila)

Bog Birch or otherwise known as Swamp Birch is a plant native to Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. This birch variety can grow anywhere from 5 to 10 feet and particularly enjoys locations that are wet.

Birches on the river Bank

When planted in landscaped gardens, the Bog Birch will do well in bodies of water or boggy areas. It's a great addition to gardens that have water features as this birch variety will thrive well in this environment. It's also a great addition to rain gardens because of the amount of water it will receive.

5. Water Birch (Betula occidentalis, Betula fontinalis)

Water Birch comes in many varieties, and they can grow up to 30 feet tall as a tree or up to 20 feet tall as a shrub. Native to the western coasts of North America, this birch particularly enjoys moist places in order to grow well. It has dark red bark and because of this, Water Birch is also called Red Birch.

Water Birch trees are very hardy, making them a great addition to many gardens. This variety likes a lot of exposure to the sun and moist, well-draining soil. If you have water features in your garden, this tree will thrive very well since the water will keep most of the surrounding soil very moist.

6. Erman's Birch (Betula ermanii)

A medium-sized birch tree, the Erman's Birch is a graceful, enchanting-looking tree that comes with cream-colored bark peeling from its trunk. It comes in shades of coppery-pink tones and paper-brown colored bark on the branches, which pairs well with its toothed, heart-shaped leaves.

Erman birches (Betula ermanii) on the top of the hill with trail road

Although relatively bigger than the dwarf species, Erman's Birch is considered quite short for most birch trees. It grows to about 50 feet tall and it requires a little bit of pruning. In gardens, the Erman's Birch provides shade and beauty with its golden yellow leaves during the fall season.

7. Snow Queen Birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii 'Doorenbos')

Truly astounding to look at, the Snow Queen Birch showcases an attractive snow-white bark on its trunk and branches. It starts off as a luminescent pale orange color before gradually peeling into this attractive bright white hue.

Plantation of West Himalayan Birch (Betulla utilis var. jacquemontii 'Doorenbos') in a Garden

Perfect for small cottage gardens, the Snow Queen Birch can grow up to 30 feet tall. It is very tolerant to many kinds of soil, as long as it is moderately moist to wet. The dark green leaves of the Snow Queen Birch will turn into warm golden yellows in the fall, making your backyard look beautiful.

8. Magical® Globe Birch (Betula pendula 'Globe')

A dwarf form of the Betula pendula, the Magical® Globe Birch is a popular landscaping favorite because of its tight branches that form a rounded ball of leaves. It sits on top of bright white trunks, thereby giving it the look of a lollipop growing in the garden.

The Magical Globe Birch requires very little maintenance to keep the rounded shape of the tree. Because of its ornamental looks, this tree looks beautiful as a border of your garden's path to make your landscape look whimsical.

9. Little King Birch (Betula nigra 'Little King')

The Little King Birch is a cultivar that grows dense and compact, with an irregularly shaped crown. This tree grows to about 8 to 10 feet and it provides excellent shade because of its wide 12-foot spread. The bark comes in an orange to brown shade, which lightens as the tree matures.

To use this tree in landscaping, the Little King Birch will thrive wonderfully in rain gardens. Since this tree is a cultivar of the River Birch, the Little King Birch prefers soil that is moist, fertile, and acidic, or in semi-aquatic conditions. It can tolerate drier soil, but it would be happier with moist, well-draining soil.

10. Trinity College Birch (Betula utilis subsp. jacquemontii 'Trinity College')

Taken from a tree at the original Trinity College Botanic Garden in Dublin, the Trinity College Birch is a medium-sized tree that can grow up to 20 feet tall. This tree is upright and graceful, and the shape of its foliage doesn't spread too much so it is best to plant this tree in small gardens.

The Trinity College Birch has a bright white bark and a beautiful collection of dark green leaves with serrated edges. During the fall, the leaves turn into a buttery yellow, which will make your garden look very picturesque.

11. Grayswood Ghost Birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii 'Grayswood Ghost')

Another majestic-looking birch, the Grayswood Ghost Birch is known to have the whitest bark of all the birch varieties. It is luminescent looking, with a stark white ghostly-looking smooth bark that seems to glow in low light.

Summer Foliage of a Deciduous Himalayan Birch Tree (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii 'Grayswood Ghost')

The Grayswood Ghos Birch can grow up to 30 feet tall, but its slim appearance makes it perfect to use in landscaping small gardens. The leaves are rich green in color, and it turns into bright yellow foliage during the fall. This tree does not need too much maintenance, which is why it's a landscaper's favorite.

Plantation of West Himalayan Birch in a Garden. Dwarf Birch Trees For Shade [11 Excellent Options For Landscaping]

Final Thoughts

They may be small, but they definitely don't lack the elegance of many garden trees. Dwarf birch trees look fantastic against any garden, and they help paint a beautiful picture in your landscape with a consistently changing look throughout the seasons.

Are you looking to learn more about plants that grow as shade in your homes? We have some articles that you might enjoy:

15 Zone 9 Shrubs For Partial Shade

How Tall Should Shrubs Be In Front Of House?