picea

Spruce trees are wonderful! They may be a tad prickly on the outside, but Piceas are colorful and reliable. They come in all shapes and sizes too, offering a wide range of garden-worthy options.

Picea abies: Norway Spruce

The magnificent Norway spruce populates much of Europe and is commonly used as a holiday tree. Over 150 cultivated varieties exist, including many with interesting shapes and smaller statures. Here are some of our favorites:

Cupressina

Picea abies 'Cupressina'

'Cupressina' has an upright narrow shape that creates a strong vertical accent, perfect for planting at the corners of a tall house. Needles are dark green and branches are strong, withstanding heavy snow better than other narrow-growing conifers.

Grows fast, more than 12” per year to 10-12’ x 2’ in 10 years. Sun, Z3.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Little Gem

Picea abies ‘Little Gem’: Bird Nest Spruce

Very slow-growing dwarf spruce with tiny dark green needles and short stiff branches resembles a thick pincushion. Grows 1-2” per year to 12-18” x 18-24” in 10 years. Sun, part shade, Zone 4.

Picea abies 'Pendula'

Picea abies ‘Pendula’: Weeping Norway Spruce

Dark green needles on weeping branches. Often one branch is selected to serve as a trunk and trained to grow upright, allowing the other branches to weep and skirt the ground. Without training branches grow along the ground as a groundcover. Both are nice applications.

Grows more than 12” per year. Sun, part shade, Z3.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.


Picea glauca: White Spruce

White spruce grows up to the arctic tree line along the top of north America. It's a tough plant that withstands heat, cold, drought and crowding. Cultivated varieties range from commonly used Alberta spruce to impressive weeping shapes. 

Picea gluca 'Conica'

Picea glauca ‘Conica’: Dwarf Alberta Spruce

A very popular dwarf conifer with short green needles and a perfect cone shape. This is a nice selection for growing in containers because it grows so slowly that it can remain in the same pot for years.

Grows 2-3’ x 10-12” in 10 years, 6-7'x3-4' eventually. Sun, Zone 4. Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea glauca 'Pixie'

Picea glauca 'Jean's Dilly'

'Jean's Dilly' grows even slower than 'Conica', about 1-3"/yr. and stays small. It's a great choice for containers and rock gardens! There are many more garden worthy cultivars. ‘Rainbow’s End’ has creamy new growth, ‘Sander’s Blue’ has silvery blue needles. All grow in a dense pyramid shape.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea glaucens 'Densata'

Picea glauca 'Densata': Black Hills Spruce

Black Hills Spruce is an upright symmetrical pyramid with short dark needles. Native to the Black Hills of South Dakota, it is commonly used for a holiday tree in the mid-west. 

Grows 6-12” per year, maturing at 20-40’ in 40-80 years. Sun, Zone 2.

Picea glaucens 'Pendula'

Picea glauca 'Pendula': Weeping White Spruce

Discovered in France, 1867, this lovely tree was nearly lost to cultivation but thanks to Iseli Nursery it was saved and reintroduced in 1982.

This outstanding specimen has blue-green needles on a strong central leader with branches that weep strictly downward and spread when they hit the ground into round skirt. 

Grows 6-12” per year, 6-10’ x 2-3’ in 10 years. Sun, Zone 2


Picea omorika: Serbian Spruce

Native to the upper Drina River Valley in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Flat needles are two-toned, dark green above and silvery white below and show both colors in some cultivars. Cones are small and red-brown when ripe. In the forest it is a slender pyramid shape resembles that of a Douglas Fir, but cultivated varieties are smaller in stature.

Picea omorika 'Nana'

Picea omorika ‘Nana’: Dwarf Serbian Spruce

A dwarf globe shaped shrub with two-toned needles, green on top and white beneath that lend a silvery cast to the plant.

Grows to 3’ x 3’ in 10 years, 8-10’ given time. Sun, Zone 4.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea omorika 'Pendula'

Picea omorika ‘Pendula’: Weeping Serbian Spruce

This beautiful tree is a perfect choice for a focal point in any garden. Green and silver needles on an upright narrow spire with sweeping branches that curl up at the tips. Forms a lovely skirt around the base of the tree.

Grows 12” per year, 12’ x 4’ in 10 years. Sun, Zone 5.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.


Picea orientalis: Caucasus or Oriental Spruce

Native to mountainous parts of Caucasus, the border area between Europe and Asia. Needles are short and grow flat against the branches, creating interesting texture. Forest trees are quite tall and some of the cultivated varieties are as well, but dwarf and miniature varieties are also available.

Picea orientalis 'Aureospicata'

Picea orientalis ‘Aureospicata’

Bright yellow new growth in spring turns dark green in summer heat. Needles are short and sit close to slender branches. Narrow pyramidal shape with a strong central leader and graceful arching side branches.

Grows about 12” per year, 12-15’ x 6-8’ in 10 years, much larger given time. Sun, Zone 4.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea orientalis 'Shadow's Broom'

Picea orientalis ‘Shadow’s Broom’

Short rich dark green needles, stiff ascending branches and slow growth. In youth, the shape is nest-like with an indention in the center, but over time it will fill out to a mounded shape.

Dwarf, grows 3-6” per year, 2-3’ tall x 3-4’ wide in 10 years. Sun, Zone 4.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea orientalis 'Skylands'

Picea orientalis ‘Skylands'

Yellow and green needles look like they are frosted with lemon icing. Color holds year-round but is brighter in spring.

Grows in an upright pyramidal shape similar to ‘Aureospicata’. Gold leaves can burn in the hottest part of summer, so afternoon shade is preferable. Zone 4.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.

Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb'

Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb'

As the name suggests, 'Tom Thumb' is a miniature, and it's one of our favorites. Short gold needles lie flat against short stubby branches. It grows about 1"/yr, into a little mound slightly wider than tall. 

Miniature, grows 1" per year, 12" x 18". Sun, Zone 4.


Picea pungens: Colorado Spruce

Colorado spruce are known for their bright powder blue needles and have been grown in cultivation for decades. All are extremely cold hardy, to 50f! Here are a few popular cultivars:

Picea glaucens 'Fat Albert'

Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert'

Bright blue needles and strong upright wide pyramid shape. 

Grows about 15"/year to 25' x 15'. Sun, Z2

Picea pungens 'Procumbens'

Picea pungens ‘Procumbens’

A weeping or prostrate form with irregular branching, beautiful draping over rocks.

Grows 1’ tall x 8’ wide in 10 years. Sun, Z2.

Picea pungens 'RH Montgomery'

Picea pungens ‘RH Montgomery’

Dwarf globe shaped shrub, grows 3-6”/yr to 4’ x 3’ in 10 years.

Photo courtesy of our supplier, Iseli Nursery.


Picea sitchensis

Sitka Spruce: Picea sitchensis

Native to the Pacific Northwest along the coast from Alaska to California. Sharp glossy green needles have white reverse. Bark is smooth and gray, cones are 2-4” long. Habit is upright and pyramidal with irregular slender branches that sweep upward at the tips.

Grows 12”/yr or more, to 40-60’ tall – given time it can grow over 150’ tall.

Sun-part shade, loves moist air, foggy coast line. Hardiness information varies. Some sources say zone 7, others zone 5. Both should be fine in Portland and along the coast, but venturing out from there, be careful!!


Sitka Spruce Cultivars:

Picea stitchenis 'Papoose'

Picea sitchensis ‘Papoose’

Lovely little dwarf with stiff two-toned needles that cast a shimmery glow. Grows in a globe shape when young and eventually produces a leader forming a squatty cone shape.

Growth is very slow, 3” per year to 2-3’ in 10 years. Sun, part shade, Zone 5.

Find the best Trees for your Garden

We carry a wide variety of trees year-round. These represent only a fraction of what you will find and are some of our favorites. Note: Viewing a Native Plant will take you into our Native Plant section.

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Oxydendrum: The Sourwood Tree

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Picea: The Spruce Tree

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