Oriental spruce can reach a height of 50 to 60 feet with a spread of 15 to 25 feet. The delicate texture of the small needles and graceful habit make this a good choice for the home landscape.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks
Tree or Plant Type:
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Intolerant of pollution,
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early spring,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Nesting birds,
Tree & Plant Care
Best in full sun, adaptable to many soil types as long as they are moist and well-drained.
The shallow, spreading root system benefits from a 3-4” layer of organic mulch.
Spruces require very little pruning.
All evergreens experience seasonal needle fall in autumn. On spruces this shows up as brown needles on the interior of the tree.
Disease, pests, and problems
Needle cast, cankers, bagworms and mites are possible problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Found natively in the mountains of the Caucasus.
Bark color and texture
Bark is brown and may peel as the tree ages.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Short, dark green, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long needles attached singly to the stem. Needles are 4-sided with a blunt tip.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Not ornamentally important.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Cones are on short stalks found at the ends of branches, mature cones are cylindrical; 2 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.
Cone scales have smooth margins. The cones start out reddish purple, changing to brown at maturity.
Cultivars and their differences
Gowdy oriental spruce (Picea orientalis 'Gowdy'): This is a narrow, slow-growing cultivar.
Skylands oriental spruce (Picea orientalis 'Skylands'): New foliage emerges yellow and contrasts with the darker green inner foliage. Color will fade in summer and needles may burn in hot climates.