The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Albert Spruce in container

Question: I am considering purchasing a 2 1/2 to 3 foot tall dwarf alberta spruce to use as an outdoor holiday decoration. The winters in New England get very cold for a very long time and I would like to know if I can expect the plant to survive the winter outdoors in the container, a green container from Monrovia, it comes in from the garden store. If the plant will not survive the winter outdoors in the container, will it survive if I move it into my cellar for the winter and put it back outside in the spring.
Thank you for your help.

Answer: In my experience it most probably will not survive winter outdoors in a container. If you leave it outside during the holiday season for example the roots will freeze solid and/or undergo freezing and thawing. This is stressful and ultimately kills the plant, either right then or as a delayed reaction during the following summer. You might be able to keep it for at least one season by storing it in a cool place, possibly a cellar, where the rootball does not freeze. Put it in storage in late fall and bring it out in early spring so it can wake up naturally with the season. Water just enough that the soil does not go bone dry while it is in storage. However, keep in mind it is never easy to keep a hardy evergreen long term as a container plant under home conditions. They just seem to lose vigor and decline.

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