Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ – This form of Norway Spruce is an exceptionally handsome tree, with bright red cones forming at the tips of new growth in spring, eventually enlarging and turning brown. The weight of the cones at maturity will pull down the tips, giving the tree a weeping appearance. It does not grow as large as the species, rather it as broad as tall, up to 30 feet. Give this one some space in the landscape and enjoy the unique characteristics of this fantastic conifer.
Picea abies ‘Brevifolia’ - Defined as “ short-needled”, this dwarf form of Norway Spruce has a very compact appearance. It does indeed have a much shorter needle and its habit is very squat, growing 6 to7 feet tall by 7 to 10 feet wide. This is a lovely dark green addition to the sunny rock garden.
Picea abies ‘Clanbrassiliana’ – The first dwarf Norway Spruce cultivar ever discovered. This one is a low, flat spreading form with dark green needles. This one still deserves a spot in a sunny rock garden or the foreground of a landscape bed.
Picea abies ‘Clanbrassiliana Stricta’ – A Norway Spruce that forms into a tight, upright, conical shape, this is not truly a dwarf, rather it is more intermediate in growth. Very deep green in color, this cultivar should be placed at the back of a rock garden or in another sunny location with a bit of room to grow.
Picea abies ‘Compressiania’ – If a vertical statement is needed in the garden, try this Norway Spruce. This dark green tree grows 10 to 12 inches annually, with branches that are held tightly to the main trunk. ‘Compressiania’ should be planted in a sunny location, either as a grouping, a solitary specimen, or as vertical framing feature. As with most spruce, good drainage is required.
Picea abies ‘Diffusa’ – A special spot in the rock garden should be reserved for this tight little dwarf form of Norway Spruce. This one has a tight, dense, rounded shape that may in time push a leader. Either remove this growth or allow it to develop, creating a low, broad cone. Full sun and good drainage are required for ‘Diffusa’.
Picea abies ‘Elegantissima’ – ‘Elegantissima’ has an upright, somewhat narrow habit and pushes bright yellow new growth in spring. The yellow needles will darken as the summer progresses. Plant this tree as an accent specimen in a sunny location.
Picea abies ‘Formanek’ – With a combination of a weeping habit and a growth rate less than 6 inches per year, ‘Formanek’ is an ideal candidate for a special place in the rock garden. It can be staked to gain more height or allowed to trail and form a dense mat of medium-green color. Give this weeper full sun and good drainage.
Picea abies ‘Frohburg’ – Another weeping Norway Spruce? This one is the one to have, especially if space is limited. ‘Frohburg’ has shorter needles than ‘Pendula’ and is more dramatically weeping. It should be staked to the desired height and then let go. As it grows, a beautiful skirt forms, which would be dramatic near a water feature or over a boulder. As with most spruce, full sun and good drainage give the best results.
Picea abies ‘Gold Drift’ – A branch sport from Picea abies ‘Reflexa’, ‘Gold Drift’ is a wonderful golden weeping Norway Spruce. It has bright yellow new growth that becomes duller through the summer and fall, turning green just as the next year’s new growth emerges. It must be staked to the desired height and kept out of blazing sun to avoid burning. This beautiful conifer should be any shaded rock garden.
Picea abies ‘Hillside Upright’ – This Norway Spruce is a very upright, conical grower. Among the darkest green needles, the growth is tufted in appearance. This tree is not a large growing plant, it has an open, yet narrow habit unless sheared from time to time, so it will make a very vertical statement in the garden. The brown buds contrast nicely against the dark green foliage.
Picea abies ‘Iola’ – Iola is a dwarf by Norway Spruce standards. It will grow into a slightly broad, upright oval. It also has a twisted, contorted growth on its new shoots that help distinguish this cultivar.
Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’ – Bird’s Nest Spruce is a widely grown and planted dwarf form of Norway Spruce. It has needles that are not as dark as other cultivars, and it grows very flat-topped with a slight depression, giving it a “nest” appearance. Plant this in full sun and give it a little room in the rock garden because it will grow up to 3 to 4 feet tall while spreading out to 6 feet or more.
Picea abies ‘Pendula’ – The weeping Norway Spruce offers the artist or sadist in you many chances to experiment. Strongly growing, it will push a foot or more of dark green new growth annually. With judicious staking and training, many variable shapes can be created. (You should see what Rob does to his.) Give this plant some room as it can get large. This specimen should be featured prominently in any garden.
Picea abies ‘Pendula’ prostrate form – This is an unstaked form of the weeping Norway Spruce. These plants will trail along the ground or over a wall and create a lovely cascading effect. Plant them in full sun and give them plenty of space.
Picea abies ‘Pumila’ – A dwarf form of Norway Spruce that is an excellent substitute for the Bird’s Nest Spruce. This is a darker green plant that is slightly rounded rather than flat, and in time will spread significantly. Notably, this conifer breaks bud a couple of weeks later than other forms, thereby being safe from a late season freeze. Situate this in a sunny rock garden or the foreground of a landscape bed.
Picea abies “Pygmaea’ - Commonly called Pygmy Spruce, this dwarf Norway Spruce is a very dense globose conifer that deserves a place in any sunny rock garden. The color of this cultivar is lighter green than other dwarf forms and it has a coarser texture. As with most spruces, supply good drainage.
Picea abies ‘Remonti’ – This dwarf conifer is considered rare because of propagation difficulties. It is upright, broad at the base, and conical in shape. With a growth rate of 6 inches or less per year, it will take many years to reach a mature height of 10 to 12 feet. Suitable for the back or middle of the rock garden, this little specimen makes a great addition to any landscape.
Picea abies ‘Rubra Spicata’ – “COOL!” is the first reaction of many observers when they see this Norway Spruce in the spring. Bright red new growth emerges and lengthens, but lasts only a couple of weeks. Plant this conifer in full sun, with plenty of room and good drainage. It grows about 12 inches per year and has shorter needles than the species. Treat as a large specimen tree and enjoy the show each spring.
Picea abies ‘Will’s Zwerg’ – The translation means “Will’s Dwarf” that is described as a dwarf or semi-dwarf. This conifer grows 6 inches or less per year with exceptionally bright green new growth. The shape is upright and conical and requires full sun. It will grow ultimately to 15 to 20 feet, so allow some room at the back of a rock garden or landscape bed.
Picea abies ‘Winkler’s Wang’ – One can only speculate how this name came about, check this website for updates. This cultivar of Norway Spruce pops about 12 inches of new wood every year. However, the new wood is thick but not erect as this conifer is a weeping form. Stake this plant to the desired height and plant in full sun with good drainage. Display the tag for this conifer prominently and proudly.
Picea bicolor ‘Howell’s Dwarf’ – The most unique needle color of the conifer world, this flat topped form of Adcock’s Spruce is a nice addition to the rock garden. It is categorized as a dwarf, growing less than 6 inches per year. The needles are silver-blue on the underside, and green on top with a hint of yellow when it is in full sun, which is where it belongs. In its youth, ‘Howell’s’ is flat-topped and spreading. Eventually a leader may form to give it a broad pyramidal shape. Frequently the leader is removed to keep the broad shape. Reddish-blue cones contrast dramatically with the foliage.
Picea glauca ‘Arenson’s Blue Variegated’ – This is a blue version of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce. It is a rigid upright cone that is powdery-blue with flecks of green. Use it in a rock garden or any sunny spot with good drainage.
Picea glauca ‘Beehive’ - A dwarf form of White Spruce, this one has blue-grey needles with a dense, upright habit resembling a beehive. ‘Beehive is a rock garden candidate if it is planted in full sun.
Picea glauca ‘Caerulea’ – This form of White Spruce is an irregular upright pyramid. It is slow growing to a height up to 6 feet. The blue-gray needles make it a bright addition to a border. This conifer enjoys full sun and good drainage.
Picea glauca ‘Conica’ – The Alberta Spruce is known by virtually everyone. As its name suggests, this dwarf grows in a perfectly conical shape. Since it grows only an inch or two per year, this dwarf tree will not outgrow its space. Plant in full sun, with good drainage, and enjoy this plant for years to come. Alberta Spruce is also suitable for topiary shapes, whether pom-pom or spiral and is used frequently as a container plant.
Picea glauca ‘Echiniformis’ – A sport of white spruce, ‘Echiniformis’ falls into the category of a miniature conifer since it grows less than 1 inch per year. It is steel blue- green in color and stays petite as a flat or bun shaped plant. This cutie wants full sun, good drainage, and belongs at the front of any rock garden or tough garden.
Picea glauca ‘Naylor’s Blue’
Picea glauca ‘Rainbow’s End’ – The habit of this showy dwarf conifer is very similar to Alberta Spruce but with a dramatic difference. The new growth emerges creamy yellow in color, hardening off green. The second flush of growth is brighter and stays that way through the remainder of the season. Give this plant ample moisture, fertilize regularly, and perhaps some late day shade to avoid burning the new growth.
Picea glauca ‘Sander’s Blue’ – This is another dwarf spruce strongly resembling the Alberta Spruce except for the powder blue coloration. Plant in full sun for best results.
Picea jezoensis ‘Chitosemaru’ - This is a dwarf form of Yezo Spruce or Hondo Spruce with short needles that are blue and green in color. It will very slowly grow into an upright conical conifer suitable for a sunny rock garden.
Picea likiangensis – The Likiang Spruce, from China, is a strong growing upright tree. With short, dark green needles, it makes an attractive specimen in a sunny area with plenty of room. Early red cones grow upright on the branches and then turn downward as they mature into longer brown cones. As with virtually all spruces, provide good drainage.
Picea omorika ‘Nana’ – Dwarf Serbian Spruce is a colorful addition to a sunny garden. It will start out as a globe shaped plant and can be kept this way by shearing. If left alone, one or several leaders may form, giving it a broadly pyramidal shape. The needles are somewhat short, green on the upper side and silvery-blue beneath, creating a pleasing bi-color effect. Give this one room unless you shear it, the potential size can reach 15 feet or more.
Picea omorika ‘Pendula’ – Weeping Serbian Spruce is a beautiful upright tree with branches that droop, and then turn up at the tips. Small branchlets hang all along the branches creating a dramatic weeping effect. Not as large growing as the species, this one does need some room in a sunny location. As a specimen accent in the landscape, it gets better and better as it matures. The bi-colored needles and purple cones unite to make this a stunning conifer.
Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ – This weeping Serbian Spruce really weeps! Selected by the Conifer Society as the Conifer of the Year in 2007, one look and you will know why. The tree is vertical in every way, with a central leader growing straight up and all lateral branches hanging straight down along the trunk. It can and should be sited as a specimen in any sunny location where an eye-popping tree is desired. The green and silver needles enhance the appeal so much more.
Picea orientalis ‘Atrovirens’ - ‘Atrovirens’ is a cultivar of Oriental Spruce that is a very dark green, upright grower. It has a habit that is more open than the species, but is by no means leggy and sparse. Plant this beauty in an open area with plenty of sun and room to grow. This conifer deserves a prominent spot in the landscape.
Picea orientalis ‘Aureospicata’ – The Oriental Spruce cultivars are all desirable garden plants with their short needles growing tightly to the branch and their varied forms. Put this one at the top of the list. This conifer needs room since it can attain 40 feet or more in height. The real show begins in spring when the new growth emerges bright yellow, contrasting vividly against the dark green mature growth. This will last about six weeks until the growth darkens and makes you look forward to the next spring. Full sun and good drainage are best.
Picea orientalis ‘Barnes’ – This Oriental Spruce is a beautiful dwarf form growing as a low nest shape. It has a rich, dark, shiny green color and a very compact habit. This one belongs in a sunny spot of the rock garden. With age, ‘Barnes’ can develop a leader which if allowed to grow will give this conifer a very low, broad, pyramidal shape. Prune the leader out to stay with the nest shape.
Picea orientalis ‘Bergman’s Gem’ – A dark green, short-needled bun best describes this gem of an Oriental Spruce. Slightly rounded in form, it develops into a more globose form as it matures. Perfect for a rock garden setting, this very dwarf conifer desires full sun and good drainage.
Picea orientalis ‘Connecticut Turnpike’ – Yet another dwarf form of Oriental Spruce that we grow but this one has a different habit. “Turnpike” is very slow and develops into a broad, low pyramidal shape. Place this cultivar towards the middle of the rock garden in full sun.
Picea orientalis ‘Gowdy’ – This variety of Oriental Spruce has a much narrower habit than the species. Described as either columnar or a narrow pyramid, Gowdy does not demand a lot of space in the landscape. The recurved sweeping branches have the typical dark green and shiny needles that hug the stems. The growth rate is 6 to 12 inches per year and it may reach 15 feet in 10 years.
Picea orientalis ‘Gracilis’ – ‘Gracilis’ forms a low, broad pyramid that is slow growing. Variously described as a dwarf or semi-dwarf, the growth rate may reach 6 inches per year. The shiny dark green needles hug the stems and are shorter near the tips. This plant belongs in the middle area of the rock garden.
Picea orientalis ‘Martin K’ – This dwarf conifer is upright in form and has short dark green needles typical of Oriental Spruce. The chartreuse new growth will then darken as it matures. The growth twists and bends, therefore the ultimate shape determined by the training of the grower can create a mound, a weeper, or a spreading form. Bright red new buds are an added ornamental feature. It could be an odd specimen for a sunny rock garden depending on the final shape that takes hold.
Picea orientalis ‘Nana Compacta’
Picea orientalis ‘Pendula’
Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ – A yellow form of Oriental Spruce, ‘Skylands’ starts out slow when young and develops into a tall, narrow tree. The new growth is a bright yellow that dulls a bit as it hardens off, but still contrasts nicely against the darker green old growth. This is a fantastic accent piece that thrives if given some shade in the afternoon. An added bonus are the red cones that develop on older plants.
Picea orientalis ‘Nigra Compacta’ – This cultivar of Oriental Spruce is a deep green, tight growing tree. It resembles the straight species in most ways except size. It will be too big as a rock garden plant, but would work well as an single specimen or an anchor in a foundation planting. As with the other Orientals, plant in full sun with good drainage.
Picea orientalis ‘Shadow’s Broom’ – A dwarf form of Oriental Spruce, this cultivar begins life as a nest type plant. In time, a leader develops that will transform it into a broad pyramidal form. Bright green new growth in spring will harden off to a deep, shiny green in summer. This one is suitable for a rock garden.
Picea pungens ‘Baby Blue Eyes’
Picea pungens ‘Bakeri’
Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ – This Colorado Spruce form is exceptionally more attractive than the Bill Cosby cartoon character for which it is named. It is a vivid blue form that grows uniformly symmetrical without staking. ‘Fat Albert’ is not as fast growing as other selections. It is broad at the base and very dense with a slightly softer needle than other Glauca forms. An outstanding plant as a single specimen or in a grouping, plant this in full sun with good drainage.
Picea pungens ‘Glauca Pendula’ – A weeping form of Colorado Spruce, find a place in the rock garden or landscape foreground to plant this beautiful specimen. The plant shapes can be highly variable depending on how each one was staked and trained. It requires full sun, good drainage, and a creative imagination to place it in the garden, such as trailing over a wall or around a boulder.
Picea pungens ‘Glauca Globosa’ – The new growth of this dwarf Colorado Spruce is a bright blue, which contrasts nicely against the older blue-gray needles. It can be used in a rock garden if some space is provided since ultimately this conifer can reach 6 feet in width. Provide a site with full sun and good drainage to maximize the color since shade will make it a dull blue, if not green. On occasion a leader may emerge that should be removed to keep the globe form, otherwise it forms a low, broad pyramid.
Picea pungens ‘Green Globe’ – A slow growing dwarf conifer that is a green needled cultivar of Colorado Spruce, this plant grows as a low flat-topped to rounded globe. It makes a good rock garden addition since it grows 2 inches or less annually. As it ages it may develop a leader which can be pruned to keep it low or allowed to grow into a broad pyramid. Full sun and good drainage are best.
Picea pungens ‘Hoopsi’ – This brilliant silver blue Colorado Spruce is one of the most sought after trees for specimen planting. It has a thick long needle that is almost white on the new growth. Give this tree a special spot in full sun with good drainage and plenty of space. It will spread at the base and grow to a height up to 50 feet. A stunning addition to any landscape.
Picea pungens ‘Mesa Verde’ – ‘Mesa Verde’ is a green needled Colorado Spruce that is a very low growing plant but not rated as a dwarf form. It will grow 6 inches or more per year in all directions giving it a uniform habit. Plant in full sun maybe near a wall to let it trail.
Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ – ‘Montgomery’ Colorado Spruce starts its life as a globe or nest shaped dwarf conifer. As it spreads and ages a leader will develop giving it a broad low pyramidal shape. If a globe shape is the desired form prune out any newly formed leader or consider planting ‘Glauca Globosa’ instead. The needles are a silver-blue color and much brighter on the new growth.
Picea pungens ‘Mrs. Cesarini’ – Make this dwarf Colorado Spruce part of a rock garden collection. It has blue-green needles and a flattened globe shape, only growing 2 inches per year. As new growth flushes, it is a brighter green that contrasts nicely with the darker old growth. It holds its shape and has numerous brown buds that with a dusting of snow, adds a great deal of all-season interest.
Picea pungens ‘Royal Knight’ – An outstanding selection of Colorado Spruce that will grow into a substantial specimen given space and full sun. This tree is a chance seedling from another silver-blue cultivar. It is described as more colonial-blue than the brighter color of its parent. In addition, it is a full-bodied tree, very upright without any need for staking.
Picea pungens ‘St. Mary’s Broom’ – Rated as a miniature by the Conifer Society, this outstanding witch’s broom cultivar is a must-have for the rock garden. It is a very small flat bun shaped conifer with powder-blue needles, growing only 1 inch per year. Give this one full sun and good drainage.
Picea pungens ‘Thume’ – This dwarf form of Colorado Spruce is a low mound of bright blue needles. It is similar to ‘Montgomery’ and ‘Glauca Globosa’ but develops a leader at a younger age. At a growth rate of 1 to 2 inches per year, it will slowly grow into a broad low pyramid that snuggles well into a sunny rock garden or small landscape bed.
Picea pungens ‘Thompsenii’ – Arguably the brightest silver-blue of any Colorado Spruce, ‘Thomsen’ will grow into a large specimen worthy of a special location in the landscape. The new growth emerges almost white before toning down only slightly. It is very symmetrical as it grows into a narrow pyramid. Give it full sun, good drainage and enjoy one of the finest large trees to be planted.
Picea sitchensis ‘Papoose’ – This is the dwarf form of the mighty Sitka Spruce. It is a rounded, somewhat flat-topped conifer, growing 2 to 4” per year. One of the striking characteristics of ‘Papoose’ is that the needle is green on the bottom and silver-blue on top giving it a bluish overall cast. This is an excellent rock garden plant for a full sun. In time, ‘Papoose’ can reach 5 to 6 feet.
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