Korean Fir: Description, Varieties, Planting And Care In The Open Ground

The evergreen coniferous tree Korean fir (abies koreana) is part of the Pine family. It is native to the Korean peninsula. There it is very widespread and even forms mixed and fir forests. Fir can grow together with birch and also with other conifers (e.g.

pine, spruce). It prefers to grow on stony soils and can be found up to 1850 metres above sea level.

The average life span of this plant is around 150 years. It is quite popular in culture because of its spectacular appearance and undemanding nature. Due to breeding, a large number of fir varieties have come into the world.

They are distinguished by the unique color of the needles and a small height (there are even dwarf varieties). Ornamental fir varieties are actively used for decoration of public gardens, parks and private gardens.

Features of Korean Fir

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

In natural conditions Korean Fir can be up to 15m. Its crown can reach up to 80cm in diameter. The spreading crown is cone-shaped.

The branches are decorated with dense needles. The needles can be colored in many different shades, from silver, blue to dark green, depending on the variety. When they are young the needles are flat and prickly, and very stiff. The needles are 0.2-0.

25 cm wide and about 1.5 cm long. They have a curved shape, which makes the tree look very unusual. The lower surface of the needles is light colored or has longitudinal stripes of a lighter shade. This will make the needles appear to overflow.

After the tree reaches the age of 10 years, green cylindrical cones begin to form in the upper part of the tree. They are about 30 mm wide and up to 70 mm long. Over time, the buds change their color to purple-purple. While the shoots are young, they have a pale yellow color. Over time, they turn a purplish hue.

The slightly resinous apex buds are rounded in shape. The bark of the young fir is smooth and grayish, but over the years, many brownish-red cracks form on its surface.

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Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

In the wild, Korean fir is widely distributed on Jeju Island and in southern Korea. However, its hybrid varieties are much more widespread in nature.

They were introduced to Europe in the last century and became established there. Such hybrids are frost-resistant and unpretentious, thanks to which they managed to reach northern regions of the European part of Russia as well as Ural and Siberia.

Spreading methods

Growing from seeds

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Korean fir multiplication in most cases uses 3 methods: cuttings, seeds and grafts. With a few simple rules, you can get great results.

After the seed has fully matured in the bud, it can be harvested.

The cones which are not fully ripe are collected and then dried thoroughly before they are thoroughly ripe. When the cone is completely dried, it will open on its own and the seeds will fall out. All you will have to do is collect them. Then you can start preparing them for sowing.

Please note that only stratified seeds are used for sowing.

Place it in a moist substrate and keep it in a cold place. The seeds will take about 30 days to stratify. This will make the seedlings more amicable and they will sprout much faster. Use containers filled with substrate for sowing. The seeds should be sown in special warm conditions, for example, cover with plastic or glass and put in a warm place.

It is recommended to sow the seeds in early spring or in late autumn.

Containers are filled with a special soil mixture purchased for coniferous crops. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the substrate and bury them about 20 mm deep. Water the seeds in good time and air them regularly. After about 30 days the first seedlings should appear.

It is easy to take care of them - just loosen the surface of the substrate in time and moisten it systematically. After one year, the plants can be sprouted into their own containers.

How to grow Korean Fir from SEEDS!!!


Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

It is much easier and faster to propagate Korean Fir from cuttings. To do this, strong and healthy annual branches are cut from the selected tree. Then from them cut cuttings, with each of them must have an apex heel bud (a piece of bark of the parent tree).

The optimum length of the cuttings is 15 to 20 centimeters.

The cuttings should be soaked for 24 hours in a solution of a root-stimulating agent such as Cornevin or Epin. Then plant them for rooting in a moist soil mixture consisting of sand, garden soil and humus. On top of them should be covered with a transparent cover, for example, a glass jar, a cut plastic bottle, a bag, etc. Cuttings are removed to a place where it is always warm.

Next year, with the onset of the spring time, cuttings can be moved to fresh air for hardening. After they are fully rooted, which will happen by fall, they are planted permanently in the open ground.

Rooting green cuttings of coniferous plants. My experiment 🧪 Korean Fir and Blue Spruce

Spring propagation

It is also not rare to propagate Korean Fir at home by grafts. This method of propagation is considered the easiest and fastest.

For this purpose, the lowest branches of the tree are chosen, which must necessarily be healthy. They should be bent to the surface of the ground in the spring and fixed with a special staple. Then it is buried in the ground to a depth of approximately 50 mm.

For the whole season the soil near future branches should be necessarily moistened, and its surface should be covered with a layer of mulch (humus). Pay attention to the fact that the offshoots will not survive the winter without insulation.

Full rooting will occur after 12-24 months. After that, the offshoots are carefully separated from the parent tree and planted in a new permanent place.

Planting Korean fir in the open ground

Effective Korean fir can be grown not only by qualified specialists, but also by inexperienced gardeners. The fact is that it is quite undemanding to growing conditions, and also does not need any special care. But for the tree to grow healthy and beautiful, you need to follow simple rules of planting and care.

Site and seedling selection

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Before planting a seedling in the open ground, you should try to choose the best place for it to plant. For such a tree, it is recommended to choose an open well-lit place, which should have reliable protection from the wind. In such a place, young trees quickly take root and grow much better.

When planting fir seedlings, it should be taken into account that they have a rather capricious nature. For example, planting in a slightly shady place or even a slight draught can lead to their death.

The root system of this coniferous culture is quite sprawling, so it will be quite difficult to transplant it. The fact is that severe trauma to the root system can cause the fir to simply die. Also, to prevent injury to the roots, you can not plant other crops in close proximity to the tree.

The seedlings at the age of four to five years are the best when transplanted to the open ground. While the trees are too young, they are grown in containers in protected soil in special nurseries.

The fact is that while the fir is too young, it has a low frost resistance. In connection with this, the trees in containers are hardened year after year: annual lowering of the temperature in winter time.

If a seedling of Korean fir was grown in room conditions, the container with the tree in winter time should be kept warm. When the plant is four years old, it is transplanted to a permanent place.

The plot should be chosen with fertile and loose soil.

The fir takes stagnant liquid in the roots and acidic soil very badly. Under no circumstances should it be planted in lowlands and swampy areas. If there is no choice and the tree has to be planted in the lowlands, then first you should create a quality drainage system, then an elevation is made of the ground. The plant feels best in sandy light nutritious soil. If necessary, it can be prepared with your own hands during the preparation of planting a seedling in the open ground.

Precautions for planting

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

The planting of the seedling is recommended in the spring. First, a planting hole is made, the depth of which is directly related to the type of plant (about 0.7 m on average). The more lush and wider the crown, the deeper and more voluminous the hole should be made. At the bottom make a thick layer of drainage from sand, brick fragments or claydite.

A layer of fertile soil mixture, which includes peat and garden soil, is poured on top of the drainage.

In the center of the prepared pit you should make a hill. Then the plant should be placed on it. Carefully align its roots, distributing evenly on the surface of the hill. Next, fill the pit with the prepared earth mixture.

The surface of the earth should be tamped, after which the fir is watered. Pour about 20 liters of water under one tree.

Make sure that the root neck is at the same level with the soil surface. When planting the seedling, do not bury it too deep into the soil because the root system needs enough oxygen for normal development. To avoid excessively rapid evaporation of moisture, it is recommended to cover the surface of the root circle with a layer of mulch (dry needles or sawdust).

When planting in groups, the minimum distance between seedlings is 4 to 5 m. When creating a hedge between the trees, keep a distance of about 200 cm. Once the fir has adapted to its new location and has taken root, you will be able to see fresh growth on it.

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Korean Fir care

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Korean Fir will require special care during its first years in the open ground. It needs to be regularly fed and watered.

The plant also needs to be protected from the cold during the frosty winter months. Well-timed watering ensures that you will have lush needles in the branches.


The newly planted tree needs to be watered everyday until it takes root and starts to grow. You can tell when a fir is starting to grow by its young needles and its bright color.

The following year the tree only needs to be watered 3 times during the growing season.

If you have a long dry spell, it should be watered regularly once every two weeks. In order to slow the evaporation of moisture from the soil, it is necessary to regularly cover the surface of the root zone with a fresh layer of mulch. And after watering, you must be sure to gently loosen the soil surface. During the hot summer months, moisture-loving varieties may be regularly sprinkled.


The plant needs systematic fertilizing.

You fertilize it for the first time 3 years after planting. To maintain its decorative appearance, the plant should be pruned regularly. This procedure should be done in the first weeks of spring before the sap starts to flow.

Korean fir. Forming pruning


Young trees that have not yet had time to get strong need mandatory good winter sheltering.

Otherwise they may die due to severe frosts. First, special shields are installed around them, then wrapped with agrofiber.

Mature trees do not fear any frost. But often their long thick branches break, not withstanding the weight of the snow. To prevent this, you are recommended to provide special supports or you can tie them up.

Diseases and pests


Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Korean fir is highly resistant to diseases. However, if it is not growing in the right conditions, it may become diseased.

For example, if moisture stagnates regularly in the soil, it may cause the roots to rot, which in turn may lead to the death of the plant. In addition, such a coniferous crop is often affected by fungal diseases. In a diseased tree on the crown you can see spots of brown color.

The needles become yellow and fly off. In a plant affected by this disease, you need to cut off all the damaged parts. After that, the treatment with a Bordeaux mixture is carried out. All cuts should be covered with garden varnish. Most often the fungal disease occurs due to excessive thickening of the crown.

The needles located near the trunk die off. And this leads to optimal conditions for the reproduction of pathogens and pests. The crown should therefore be systematically thinned by cutting back dried out branches.

An annual fir treatment in the springtime is recommended as a preventive measure. A solution of copper-containing preparations is used for this purpose.

In addition, pruning for sanitary purposes is carried out systematically. The tree is trimmed before the sap starts to flow, removing all dried branches. Use very sharp, sanitized garden shears. Try to cut only dry branches, without touching healthy ones. This crop is extremely slow growing, so it takes a relatively long time for all damage to overgrow.


Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Korean fir, like most other coniferous crops, is susceptible to pest attacks. Not only can they reduce the ornamental value of the plant, but they can also kill it. Most often such a tree is harmed by spruce moths, aphids, hemeres and leafminer.

A very dangerous pest that prefers to live on coniferous plants is hemeres. It feeds on the sap it extracts from the shoots of young trees.

You can tell that a chermess has settled on a fir by the presence of galls on the last year's branches and by the whitish fuzz on the tops of young shoots. Under this fuzz are the larvae that suck the sap from young branches. The galls look like small cones. Females lay eggs in galls and larvae emerged from the eggs use the sap in galls as food.

The plant on which such pests settle begins to wither and drop needles en masse.

If there are many pests, it can lead to the death of the fir. Timely detection of pests will help regular inspections. If they are detected, all affected parts of the tree should be removed. Then it is treated with an insecticide preparation. The most effective against chermes are such means as: Bazalo, Aktara, Caesar, Confidor and Prestige.

If aphids have settled on the plant, its needles begin to turn yellow. Getting rid of such a pest is quite simple. If the affected areas are not very large, you can destroy the pest by treating it with a special agent (Rogor). For preventive purposes, it is recommended to treat annually in March with a universal means "Antio". This product also fights many other pests that can settle on fir.

Korean fir varieties with photos

There are quite a few varieties of Korean fir that differ from each other in color of needles, size and shape of crown. Thanks to plant breeders, many varieties of silver fir have come into existence, which are beloved by most landscape designers. And also these varieties can often be seen in gardens and parks. The most popular varieties in culture are described below.

Blue Magic (abies koreana blue magic)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This variety has a slow growth, with an average height of 100 cm, but some specimens can reach up to 250 cm.

It owes its name to the color of its needles, which are bluish-green in the shade and silvery-blue in the sun. Pyramidal crown can be made cushion-shaped by pruning. It doesn't need sheltering in winter time, it is not afraid of frosts up to 23 degrees below zero. Able to quickly develop immunity to a variety of diseases.

Bonsai Blue (abies koreana bonsai blue)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

In appearance, the variety is similar to a bonsai tree.

It grows faster in width than in height. By the age of 10, the diameter of its crown is about 100 cm. Only after that time there is an active beginning of the development of the top of the tree (annual growth of about 50 mm). Prefers well-lit open areas, with reliable protection from the wind. However, it can also grow in slight shade.

The species is winter-hardy, not suffering temperature fall as low as -29 degrees without shelter.

Tundra (abies koreana tundra)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This variety is the most miniature. The tree is about 0.4 m tall and up to 0.6 m wide.

The soft, lush, rich green needles retain their color in all conditions. The lower surface of the needles is colored in a silvery shade. Grows well in the shade and does not suffer from strong frosts (up to minus 29 degrees). Needs regular watering and increased air humidity. It responds well to sprinkling.

Oberon (abies koreana oberon)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

The tree has a unique cone-shaped crown shape. Its width and height are approximately equal and can reach up to 150 cm. Wide and short needles have a white lower surface and a green upper one. Not uncommonly used as a decoration for alpine rockeries or in group plantings with other unusual crops.

Silver Shaw (abies koreana silver show)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This medium-sized variety will reach a maximum diameter of 4 metres and a height of 10 metres.

The lush crown is shaped like a regular cone. Its appearance is similar to Silberlock, but the tree is taller and grows faster. The trunk is flat, the branches are covered with silver needles, curved in a spiral. While the tree is young, it is adorned with many spectacular cones of purple color. Prefers to grow in light, moist and fertile soil.

The place can be sunny or located in the penumbra, and it must have protection from the wind. It responds well to sprinkling in heat and drought.

Silver Star (abies koreana silver star)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This dwarf variety has an irregular cone-shaped crown. The tree reaches a maximum height of 100 cm. The lower surface of the two-colored needles is silvery or white and the upper surface is bright green.

Rich purple cones are formed only on a young tree. Planted solely or used in compositions with flowers or other conifers.

Compacta (Compacta)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This tiny plant has a dense, spherical crown shape. Over the years it becomes cushion-shaped. The lateral branches are arranged perpendicular to the central trunk.

The upper branches point upwards at an acute angle. The branches are covered with lush short needles, the upper surface of which is dark green and the lower one is bluish-white. The tree grows best in sunny areas. It is not even afraid of severe frosts, so it does not need shelter.

Verdener dom (abies koreana verdener dom)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

The plant has a narrow conical crown.

It is about 80 cm in diameter and up to 120 cm tall. The lower surface of the glossy needles has a white stripe longitudinally, while the upper side is deep green. The annual growth of this slow-growing variety is about 10-20 centimeters. This allows you to plant it in the middle of the bed to create a bright accent. It does not shade other, stunted cultivars.

Cis (abies koreana cis)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This miniature variety has a rounded crown and reaches 100 cm across. The crown increases in height by only 10-30 mm per year. It is prized for its unusual shape, compactness and drought tolerance. It is characterized by a high demand for soil, negatively reacts to stagnant moisture in the roots. In this regard, a thick layer of drainage should be made at the bottom of the planting hole.

The needles are soft and emerald green. The candle-like blue buds grow upwards and are up to 50 mm long. Because of its unique appearance, this variety is often used for decorative compositions along with herbs and flowers.

Blower Pfiff (abies koreana blauer pfiff)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

The crown has a very unusual rounded pillow-like shape. Over the years, it changes to cone-shaped.

The bluish-green or blue short needles densely cover the branches. The cylindrical cones are colored purple-blue. Responds well to sprinkling and is a moisture-loving variety. Needs well-drained, nutritious soil. Can be used as a solo crop and for landscape compositions.

Green Carpet (abies koreana green carpet)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

The variety is cultivated in boles. The spherical crown reaches 0.3-0.4 m across. The needles are lush greenish.

The plant has special requirements to the soil, it prefers well-lit areas. It is often planted in alpine rock gardens.

Kristallkugel (abies koreana kristallkugel)

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

This evergreen, compact plant has a rounded crown which reaches 0.3-0.4m across.

The needles are deep green in color. The branches are decorated with many upwardly pointing purple cones, which are 50-60 mm long. They grow on the tops of last year's shoots. Choose a site protected from the wind and well-lit with moist and nutritious soil.

In addition to these varieties, other varieties of Korean fir should also be considered:

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Blauer eskimo

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground


Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Блю стандарт

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground


Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

  1. The dwarf variety of abies koreana blauer eskimo.

    The spherical crown reaches 0.3 m across and 0.2 m in height. The tree is often decorated with alpinaries and rocky slides.

  2. Luminetta (abies koreana luminetta).

    The needles are creamy yellow in the warm season and deep yellow with a silver colored underside in the winter. Used as a solitaire and in rock gardens.

  3. Blue standard (abies koreana blue standart). The cone-shaped, silver-gray crown has spectacular blue-purple cones.
  4. Gait (abies koreana gait).

    The dark green pole-shaped crown is adorned with many blue-colored cones.

  5. Fastiguata. The regular, narrow cone-shaped crown is characterized by blue-colored needles. The upward-curved, saber-shaped needles are about 80 mm long. The initial cylindrical cones are green, eventually turning brownish.

    They are 8 to 15 centimeters long. A drought-tolerant plant, it prefers a little shade and is undemanding of soil.

Application and significance

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Korean fir improves the ecological condition of the place in which it grows. The needles release special phytoncides into the air, which help purify the air of viruses, toxins and harmful microorganisms. Near the firs it is easier to breathe.

In fir plantations you can even take preventive measures for people who are often ill with colds. Dwarf varieties have become widespread in culture.

This plant is frost-resistant, undemanding to care for and has an unusual appearance. New varieties and hybrids of silver fir appear every year.

Application to landscaping

Korean fir: description, varieties, planting and care in the open ground

Because of its unusual appearance Korean silver fir is very popular with landscapers.

It can be planted as a solitary plant or in groups with other shrubs and flowering crops. The best neighbors for this tree are larch, spruce, maple and pine. It is used when creating a stony garden, hedge and alpine hill. By planting different varieties of fir in different colors you can create a unique composition in a square or park. Dwarf varieties are used for creating compositions with thuja, flowering crops or deciduous shrubs.

For gardeners this coniferous plant is also very popular. It is used for creation of rest zones and effective compositions together with deciduous trees. As it is a slow growing tree, it can be pruned to create an original sculpture. Its shape will last for a long time.

Korean Silberlock/Planting and Care/ Crown Shaping


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