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PICEA pungens

Image of Picea pungens

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Pinaceae

Botanical Name

PICEA pungens

Plant Common Name

Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce

General Description

Colorado spruce is a medium to large pyramidal evergreen conifer native to the central and southern Rocky Mountains in the western United States. In its native habitat, this exceptionally hardy tree exists in moist, cool spots and is commonly found along streamsides in mixed conifer forests. Due to its resilience and beauty, it has become a popular landscape tree and many exceptional cultivated varieties exist.

The stiff, prickly-when-grasped needles of this tree are green to silvery blue and aromatic and pungent when crushed. In the springtime, male and female cones are produced. The female, or seed, cones are 2.5 to 4 inches (6-10 centimeters) long and have scales that are thin, flexible and elongated. The branches are dense and provide important cover for forest animals large and small.

Colorado spruce is best situated in a full sun location with well-drained, fertile soil. It can withstand many stresses including drought, pollution, salt and wind. Use it as a specimen or screen in a spacious setting such as park, large lawn, gold course or campus. Many cultivars are available, including dwarf forms that are well-suited to small garden spaces, and more intensely blue-leaved selections. Those with exceptionally blue needles are found in the Glauca Group and always referred to as Colorado blue spruces.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-80' / 9.1m - 24.4m (60)

  • Width

    10'-30' / 3.0m - 9.1m (20)

  • Native To

    Western United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green, Steel Blue

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Steel Blue

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green, Steel Blue

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Steel Blue

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No