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. This tree is also known as Picea pungens 'Glauca'.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- North America
- Residential and parks
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet),
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 2,
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early spring,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
- Small mammals,
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, cytospora 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 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.
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.