Picea pungens Engelm.
Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
Synonym(s): Picea pungens f. argentea, Picea pungens var. glauca
USDA Symbol: PIPU
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 150 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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 ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.2 - Annual Wildflower Days Festival, Wildflower Center Hotline, The Visitor Experien...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Picea pungens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Picea pungens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Picea pungens
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff