Picea pungens - Colorado Spruce
Family: PinaceaePinaceae

Hear the scientific name

Picea pungens is a common pyramidal evergreen accent tree or large shrub that serves as a bold focal point in the landscape, especially among the silver or blue foliage types.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form Form

-large evergreen specimen tree

-maturing at 50' tall x 20' wide as a general rule, but cultivars are often smaller

-upright pyramidal growth habit in youth and often maintaining this form through maturity, but sometimes with age becoming conical with the lower branches drooping

-slow growth rate

foliage Foliage

-evergreen needles to 1" long

-often uniformly distributed around the stem and radiating straight outward from the stem for a stiff, prickly effect and therefore painful to grasp

-variants have bluish or silvery foliage that is vibrant when newly emerged


-inconspicuous cones; monoecious


-cones to 3" long, light green when immature, becoming brown with maturity


-light brown with an orange cast

-needle scars raised on the stem

trunk Trunk

-thick gray scales with age

C   U   L   T   U   R   E


-full sun to partial sun

-tolerates many adverse conditions, including dry soils, soils of various pH, and winter salt spray

-susceptible to several pests, of which spider mites are the worst, that cause an overall decline in the new growth during mid-summer, and to several diseases, of which needle cast and trunk canker are the most serious

-abundantly available, primarily in B&B form but increasingly in container form

-Blue Spruce is somewhat tolerant of winter salt spray, with green-foliaged forms being less tolerant (since they have less coating of needle wax) than blue or blue-silver forms

distribution map


-zones 2 to 7


-native to Western U.S.

U   S   A   G   E


-evergreen tree with a formal symmetrical pyramidal shape, especially in youth

-branches to the ground

-foliage variants are common and range from bluish to silvery foliage

-bold texture


-spruce spider mites will lead to a decline in both vigor and stress resistance of infested trees

-when a recent transplant is not regularly watered for at least the first year of root reestablishment, it can result in the death of the terminal leader, dieback of side branch tips, or death of the entire tree, even though established Blue Spruce are quite drought tolerant


-specimen tree

-row or group plantings

-evergreen pyramidal focal point, especially in youth and especially with foliage color variants


-bold texture

-thick density

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

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


-narrowleaf evergreen trees with a formal appearance and some blue shade of color (Abies concolor 'Candicans', Picea omorika, Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid', Pinus sylvestris 'Watereri', etc.)

-pyramidal evergreen trees of green foliage (Picea abies, Pinus strobus, Pseudotsuga menziesii, etc.)


Press the Back button in your browser.