Blue spruce, also known as Colorado spruce, is a conical-shaped evergreen tree with stiff horizontal branches and short stiff needles. It is a commonly used tree in Midwest landscapes. In nature the needles are often green, but many specimens produce blue-green needles.
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- North America
- Zone 2
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Dry sites
- Alkaline soil
- Clay soil
- Road salt
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Small shrub (3-5 feet)
- Early winter
- Mid winter
- Late winter
- Early spring
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early summer
- Mid summer
- Late summer
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
Size & Form
30 to 60 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide
A dense, symmetrical pyramidal habit
Tree & Plant Care
Spruce grow best in full sun. Dense shade results in bare branches. Protect from drying winds.
Adaptable to wide range of soil but require good drainage and benefits from irrigation in dry weather.
Spruce need very little in the way of pruning.
All evergreens experience seasonal needle drop. Spruce will hang on to needles for 3 to 4 years.
Disease, pests, and problems
Cankers, needle casts, spruce adelgid, spider mites, spruce budworm, cytospera canker
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the southwestern United States from Colorado Rockies, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah
Bark color and texture
Bark is gray and broken into large scales
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Green or blue-green, 1 to 1/2 inch sharp needles attached singly around the stem. Individual needles are four sided in cross section and borne on a a raised peg on the stem.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male pollen cones and female cones that become woody when pollinated. Both male and female cones found on the same tree.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Medium-sized cylindrical cones, 2 to 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, light brown in color. Cones are often clustered near the top of the tree.
Cultivars and their differences
Globe blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa') Grows only 3 to 5 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide producing a neat, dense, compact, rounded shape. Seldom produces cones. Good accent plant for foundations and borders.
Montgomery blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Montgomery') Grows 5 to 6 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide. Rounded when young; broad and conical when mature. Seldom produces cones. The silver-blue foliage adds color to the winter landscape.