Picea glauca 'Conica' - Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Family: Pinaceae

Hear the scientific name

Picea glauca 'Conica' is a common, small to medium, pyramidal evergreen shrub. Dwarf Alberta Spruce serves as a formal foundation shrub.

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  form Form

-medium-sized evergreen specimen shrub

-to 10' tall x 3' wide and occasionally larger, but often smaller

-upright pyramidal growth habit

-very slow growth rate

foliage Foliage

-light green, very thin needles to 0.5" long

-radiating around the stem

Flowers

-inconspicuous cones; monoecious

Fruit

-few (if any) small cones

Twig

-light brown

Trunk

-thin gray scales with age; hidden

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Culture

-full sun to partial sun

-best performance occurs in full sun in a moist, well-drained soil, sited a few feet away from any other hardscape structure, plant, or artificial irrigation, so that airflow and sunshine will remove moisture from the very dense foliage

-not tolerant of urban stresses (especially to pollution, winter salt spray, continuously dry soils, high light reflection, and heat) to which it is often exposed

-propagated by rooted stem cuttings

-a few serious pest (and possibly also disease) problems that, when coupled with the overplanting of this formal shrub, serve to render it as an eventual liability in the landscape

-insects (especially mites) will infest the plant sooner or later, especially in areas of the shrub that are more prone to repeated spring and summer wetness (such as the backside of the shrub next to a wall or foundation); infestations will lead to localized stem and needle death, which will make the plant very unsightly; for this reason, Dwarf Alberta Spruce should only be used with discretion in areas with good air circulation and possibly with an annual pesticide preventive application program

-reversion to the species form will rarely occur as a prominent shoot with thicker stems and much larger foliage; this should be pruned away at just below the point of origination, as it will predominate that section of the shrub and alter its formal appearance

-abundantly available in container form

Hardiness

-zones 2 to 6

Origin

-native to Canada and the Northern U.S. (cultivar discovered in Alberta, Canada)

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Assets

-excellent formal specimen shrub

-slow growth allows it to be a low-maintenance foundation shrub

Liabilities

-some insects are occasional problems (especially mites)

-not urban tolerant

Function

-specimen, foundation, or focal point shrub

Texture

-fine texture

-thick density

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species

Alternates

-small pyramidal evergreen shrubs; since Dwarf Alberta Spruce is so overused and so prone to mite infestation, the following partial list yields specific examples, some of which must be occasionally sheared to maintain a relatively dwarf, pyramidal habit:

-Buxus 'Green Mountain' (to 3' tall)

-Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Glauca' (to 10' tall)

-Ilex x meserveae (several male and female cultivars cultivars exist of this broadleaf evergreen shrub, which can be sheared at an early age into pyramidal form, and must be annually sheared to maintain this shape; to 10' tall)

-Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata' - to 12' tall or more

-Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' ('Emerald') - to 12' tall or more

 


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