The blue spruce is among the most spectacular conifers that stay green throughout the year. This plant is very popular among gardeners and landscape designers. And they fell in love with it for its unusual appearance and spectacular color of the needles. When several species of prickly spruces are planted in one place, the blue spruce will look the most graceful and spectacular.
Peculiarities of the blue spruce
The name blue spruce (Picea pungens) refers to the unusual pale blue color of its needles.
However, the popularity of this plant in culture is not only due to the spectacular color of its needles.
Appearance and height
In the Russian Federation an adult blue spruce has a height of 4 to 12 m, with a width of about 1 m. The height of trees growing in the wild is quite often up to 20 m. It is not uncommon to find specimens whose trunk consists of several main trunks at once. Most often this phenomenon applies to old spruces.
The color of the bark also changes noticeably over the years. At first, while the plant is young, the bark has a grayish color, and sometimes it is even white. Over the years it changes its color to brownish-red. Throughout a spruce's life, the width of the bark can increase up to 30 millimeters.
The color of the branches also changes significantly over time.
At first they are colored orange, but over time they become brownish-gray. Throughout the plant's life, the branches are bare and short, but they are also very strong. The needle-shaped needles of this plant are greenish-blue in color. The length of the needles is about 30 millimeters. The needles have four sides, and the tip is pointed.
The needles of wild specimens are less bright colored than those of cultivated trees.
Heads of blue spruce also look rather spectacular. They are formed at the very end of the crown. The top of the hanging cones are covered with scales that have a leathery-woody structure. They can vary in length from 6 to 10 centimetres.
The cones are green in color immediately after they appear, but later they turn brown.
The cones first form on a tree that is two or three years old. This is most often the time when abundant fruiting begins. Seeds fully mature in autumn, around October-November. Both the tree and cones have the same appearance all year round.
In nature, blue spruce is most commonly found at elevations of 1800-3000 meters above sea level. That is why it prefers to grow in the foothills and mountainous regions in the vicinity of streams or rivers. The reason is that the plant prefers damp soil.
This tree is native to North America. There it is the most widespread.
On the territory of Russia this plant appeared after its seeds were imported. This unpretentious plant is very popular with gardeners here.
Selecting a blue spruce for your garden
Sorts of blue spruce with photo
There are several dozen varieties of blue spruce in total. Each of them, however, is found only in a certain part of the globe. Such a plant has found wide application in a variety of industries.
The varieties that are most popular in culture will be described below.
Herman naue spiky spruce (Picea pungens hermann naue)
This highly ornamental plant has a dwarf form. This plant is widespread in culture, with its spectacular cones being of the greatest interest to gardeners. Even when young, they form and initially have an unusual red color, which turns creamy-brown later on. The tree is only 0.
6 m tall and about 0.8 m wide. The color of the needles in this variety is bluish gray.
Thorny Nimetz Spruce (Picea pungens nimetz)
This spectacular tree is also a dwarf, with a height of no more than 80 centimeters. This plant has a pronounced apex, as there is a white growth on the tops of the needles.
Due to this growth, the shrub looks very spectacular, as if there is a layer of snow on the plant at any time of the year. Overall, this ornamental variety is very unusual, as is the spiky green Virgata spruce.
Spiny Spruce Glauca prostrata (Picea pungens glauca prostrata)
This variety is very rare, making it a dream of most gardeners to acquire. The high decorative value of such a tree lies in its unusual shape. This plant is stunted: an adult spruce is about 100 centimeters tall, with a trunk that can also reach 100 centimeters across.
Spiny Blue Spruce (Picea pungens f. Glauca)
This tree has a symmetrical triangle crown and needles colored in a greenish-blue hue. It can vary in height from 10 to 15 meters, with a trunk that can reach about 7 meters across. This plant is often used as a solo planting as well as an entire array. It often decorates streets and alleys.
Silver Spiked Spruce
This plant stands out from other varieties for its slender appearance and it is very resistant to heavy snowfall and polluted air. This variety retains its decorativeness throughout the year. The maximum longevity of this tree is about 100 years. Its height as an adult can vary from 20 to 25 meters but the species can reach a height of 40 meters.
Thorny Picea pungens Erich Frahm
This species is known for its lighting qualities and its demanding growing conditions.
However, it does very well in places with very polluted air. Individual branches grow so long that they touch the ground and are serpentine in shape. An adult plant can be about 10 meters tall.
This is not all varieties of blue spruce, there are quite a few more. That said, each variety is interesting in its own way.
Blue spruce varieties and their features
Picea pungens Montgomery
When the plant is young, it has a spherical shape. A sunny site with well-drained soil is great for planting.
Picea pungens Sonia
The needles are silvery in color and grow green. This makes the needles appear blue.
Picea pungens Glauca Arizona (Arizona spruce)
The crown has an unusual tiered structure.
It lifts over the years, causing the trunk to become bare.
Picea pungens Blue Trinket
The crown is dense and the needles are prickly and stiff.
An artificial species is usually purchased and becomes the main decoration of the house for the New Year holidays.
Picea pungens Stanley Gold
This plant has a conical crown and yellowish needles.
Picea pungens Sun on the Sky
Tightly planted, short needles are soft.
Picea pungens Jozsa
For planting it is recommended to choose a semi-shaded area. Can be a major ornament in a not very large garden.
Picea pungens Baby Blue Eyes
This slow-growing tree has a symmetrical crown. Its branches are decorated with dense silver needles.
Picea pungens Kuba
This variety is very rare and belongs to the collection variety.
The plant is dwarf.
This light-loving tree is noted for its unpretentiousness. It grows and develops well in any soil and under any conditions.
Picea pungens Omega
Sunny sites with nutritious soil are recommended for planting. The plant responds well to fertilizer.
Picea pungens schovenhorst
This ornamental variety does not respond well to excessive moisture and salty soil.
Picea pungens blue mountain
This slow growing plant can live up to 500 years in nature. Yet in urban conditions, its maximum lifespan is 100 years.
Propagation of blue spruce
In order to grow a spectacular blue spruce, special attention must be paid to proper propagation and planting. This is where many gardeners and even experienced landscapers make many mistakes.
This tree is most commonly propagated by cuttings. However, experienced gardeners can also grow it from seed. For cutting cuttings, it is recommended to choose a plant of medium age. Experts state that the most suitable age for cuttings of a prickly spruce is 4-40 years old.
Cuttings can be harvested all year round except during the fall.
Their length can vary from 60 to 100 millimeters. Planting for rooting should be done on the same day that the cuttings were cut. At first, the cuttings planted in the substrate are kept in the greenhouse. Once the cuttings have grown their own root system, they can be planted in the garden.
To ensure that the cuttings take root, it is advisable to resort to the use of root growth stimulants.
The main thing to remember is that this tree is a slow grower, so you will need patience and time.
If you wish, such a plant can be used to create bonsai. Bonsai is a dwarf tree that is grown in a pot in the room. The dwarf variety of blue spruce is suitable. When the cuttings have taken root, they are planted in a pot.
Blue spruce from cuttings to seedlings (100% result)
Grooming for blue spruce
How often should the blue spruce seedling be watered before it is one year old: 6 or 7 times a day, with water poured under the tree in small portions. The mature plant is watered regularly, but more rarely: once every two days.
Many gardeners notice that the tree grows extremely slowly, but think that it does not need any fertilizer at all. If you do decide to fertilize, a fertilizer designed for conifers is ideal.
The blue spruce tolerates pruning well and is recommended at least twice during the year.
Forming the Fir. BLUE FERRY KEYBAB.
Diseases and Pests
As with most spruces, the blue spruce is not highly resistant to diseases and pests. Most of them can cause the plant to die or lose its ornamental qualities.
For preventive purposes, it is recommended to regularly inspect the plant for signs of disease or the presence of pests.
If they are found, then treat the affected parts of the plant with an appropriate product as soon as possible.
Use in landscape design and significance
In the Russian Federation blue spruce is grown only as a decorative plant. And also such a tree is often cultivated in room conditions as a bonsai. Also this plant feels well in the city environment and helps to purify the polluted air.
This plant can be planted in your vegetable garden or garden as well as along the street.
It will decorate them for many years. Among the many varieties of blue spruce, you can choose those that are suitable for large areas or for small beds. This plant blends perfectly with decorative stones or products.
Blue Spruce in the Garden ✔️ How to Grow