Blue Colorado Spruce

(Picea pungens glauca)


These trees naturally occur only in the Rocky Mountains region at elevations of 6000 to 10,000 feet.  Since the 1860’s, however, it has become a very popular and often over used specimen plant.

Colorado Spruces come in every shade of green, gray and blue and can grow 25 feet wide by 120 feet tall in the wild.  In most landscape conditions, 20 feet by 60 feet is the norm.  They can live to exceed 100 years old, but in warm and humid climates they have an ornamental life span of around 30 years.

Colorado Spruces are easily propagated from seeds and cuttings and can be planted balled-and-burlapped or bare root with equal success.  They are grown from USDA Zones 2 to 7 in just about any soil type, provided it’s not constantly wet.  Plants need full sun to achieve their best growth and color.  Some common problems with Colorado Spruce are spruce gall adelgid, spider mites and cytospora canker, which kills the lower branches.

The stiff bluish needles are ¾ to 1 ¼ inches long and sharp to the touch.  The branching pattern is equally stiff with a narrow pyramidal shape lending itself to very formal landscape designs. Dwarf varieties such as “Globosa”, “Prostrata” and “Montgomery” are also very popular in the landscape and are more realistic around foundations as they only reach about 6 feet in height.