Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 30 days
Germination: sow seed 1/8" deep , tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Looking for a striking, unique tree for your garden? Look no further than Picea martinezii, or Martinez's spruce, native to the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in Mexico. This tree is known for its exceptional heat tolerance, even more so than the popular Blue Spruce. It is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 7, but can also thrive in zone 8.
Picea martinezii grows at moderate altitudes from 2300-3200 meters, along streamsides in mountain valleys where soil moisture is higher than the low rainfall in the area would suggest. It has a conic crown with widely spaced branches and drooping branchlets. The needles are stunning, bright glaucous blue-green with visible lines of stomata and viciously sharp tips. The cones are broad cylindrical and pendulous, maturing to a pale brown color 6-8 months after pollination.
Discovery of Picea martinezii by Mexican botanist Maximino Martínez was relatively recent, in 1942. Despite conservation efforts, there are only 39 known stands of this tree, each containing only a few hundred individuals.
As an ornamental tree, Picea martinezii is a showstopper. It may be one of the most heat-tolerant spruces but holds just as much visual appeal as other varieties. It has shorter, blue-green needles and smaller, narrower cones with small scales, as well as a bark that flakes off in small circular plates. Plant this tree in botanical gardens or in your own garden for an exquisite focal point that will both impress and awe.