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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Picea pungens (Blue spruce)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Picea pungens

Picea pungens Engelm.

Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s): Picea pungens f. argentea, Picea pungens var. glauca


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

Naturally conical in shape, the stiff, unbending branches of blue spruce grow outward in a dense pattern creating a formal outline. The tree can become open and poorly-shaped in maturity. Needles are 1/2 - 1 1/4 in., stiff, and vary from green to silver-blue. New growth is light blue. In the wild, blue spruce grows from 50-150 ft., but it is usually shorter in cultivation.

Cultivated varieties of Blue Spruce include several with dramatic bluish-white and silvery-white foliage. It is a popular Christmas tree and is also used in shelterbelts.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 150 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AZ , CO , ID , MA , MD , ME , NM , NY , PA , UT , WY
Native Distribution: Mts. of w. WY & e. ID, s. to AZ & NM
Native Habitat: Mountain conifer forests

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Due to its naturally symetrical form, pruning is seldom necessary and maintenance is minimal. More drought-tolerant than other Picea spp. Subject to spruce gall aphid and other pests.


Description: Propagate by seed.
Seed Treatment: Stratification may or may not be necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Columnar evergreen for Colorado
July 04, 2008
I am looking for an evergreen 6-8 (or more) feet tall, very columnar; 3 feet spread in diameter, zone 5, full sun, dark green, clayish-OK soil. Thank you so much!
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.2 - Annual Wildflower Days Festival, Wildflower Center Hotline, The Visitor Experien...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Picea pungens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Picea pungens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Picea pungens


Record Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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