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Author:Jeffrey J. Witcosky, USDA Forest Service
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Author:Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service
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Author:Jeffrey J. Witcosky, USDA Forest Service
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Picea pungens

var. glauca CO Rio Grande

Blue Spruce

  • Picea pungens var. glauca CO Rio Grande

Please select the quantity desired, and we will advise availability and price as soon as possible.


Min. hardiness zone:
Item ID:

Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: none required
Germination: sow seed 1/4" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed

Experience the beauty and elegance of the Picea pungens var. glauca Blue Spruce. Known for its intense blue color, this popular ornamental tree is found far beyond its native range. Our Kaibab source is the second best for blue color, with a high percentage of seedlings exhibiting the lovely blue needles. However, our Majestic seed source is even better, offering the most vibrant blue color available. This magnificent tree is also grown for the cut Christmas tree industry. The specific epithet "pungens" refers to the sharply pointed leaves, giving this species a unique appearance. With a deeply penetrating root system, the Blue Spruce is firmly anchored against strong winds. Native to western North America, from Idaho and Wyoming to Arizona and New Mexico, it thrives at high altitudes in mountain valleys with greater moisture levels in the soil.

Reaching a height of up to 30 meters, with a trunk diameter of 1.5 meters, the Blue Spruce is a medium-sized evergreen tree. Its conic crown transforms into a cylindrical shape as the tree matures. The stout, orange-brown shoots are usually glabrous and feature prominent pulvini. The needle-like leaves vary in color from dull gray-green to bright glaucous blue, with a viciously sharp tip.

The pendulous cones of the Blue Spruce are slender and cylindrical, measuring 6 to 11 centimeters long and 2 centimeters broad when closed. Opening to 4 centimeters, the thin, flexible scales have a wavy margin and change from reddish to violet, maturing pale brown 5 to 7 months after pollination. The black seeds have a pale brown wing, enhancing their beauty.

This remarkable tree is commonly planted as an ornamental and does not normally hybridize with other spruces. However, occasional hybrids with Engelmann Spruce have been found. In addition, the Blue Spruce is the State Tree of Utah and Colorado.

Blue Spruces prefer abundant moisture at the roots, though they can tolerate poor peaty soils. They thrive in cold, dry, high mountain sites but can also succeed in wet, cold, and shallow soils. While moderately wind-resistant, they have a deeply penetrating root system that offers additional stability. This long-lived species is slow-growing in the wild, with some specimens recorded to be 800 years old.

Enjoy the majestic beauty of the Blue Spruce in your landscape. With its striking blue color, sturdy growth, and ornamental appeal, this tree is sure to make a statement in any setting.

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