Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) in the Spruces Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Colorado Blue Spruce
Give a thumbs up Colorado Spruce
Give a thumbs up Blue Spruce
Give a thumbs up Spruce
Give a thumbs up Silver Spruce

Botanical names:
Picea pungens Accepted
Abies menziesii var. parryana Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Plant Height: 70 to 115 feet (21-35 m)
Plant Spread: 15 to 30 feet (5-9 m)
Leaves: Evergreen
Needled
Fruit: Showy
Other: female cones with papery or thin woody scales
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Other: soft male cones
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Seeds are inside cones
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious

Very old trees.

Celebrating Winter Interest!Celebrating Winter Interest!
February 14, 2015

Pine cones, seed heads, winter bloomers, colorful red berries, and much more! Let's kick off Winter Interest Week with a look at the most popular plants in our database that give some kind of interest to our gardens in the winter. We also introduce a new gallery option in our database for winter interest, with bonus acorns this week!

(Full article9 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: My GardensDate: Winter 2006Shown In Heavy Wet Snow
By TBGDN
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Location: Northeastern IndianaDate: 2011-10-02
By chelle
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Location: Indiana zone 5Date: 2015-02-1612 foot
By gardengus
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Location: Overgaard, AZThe beginning of a cone.
By cocoajuno
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Location: In my garden, Falls Church, VADate: 2017-12-09Young tree
By Frenchy21
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Location: Cedarhome, WashingtonDate: 2014-05-15
By Bonehead
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2015-04-29
By Marilyn
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2007-12-26On the far left of the photo.
By Marilyn
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2004-01-01
By Marilyn
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Location: Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5Date: 2011-10-03Close-up of branch tips.
By chelle
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2011-10-28
By Marilyn
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2009-07-19In a landscape setting in our backyard.
By Marilyn
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Location: Denver CO MetroDate: 2012-01-27Colorado Blue Spruce about 30 years old in my neighborhood.
By Skiekitty
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Location: West Valley City, UTDate: 2012-07-15Third year seedling.
By Zencat
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2014-11-01
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2015-06-12
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2015-06-12
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2015-06-12
By jmorth
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2016-01-14
By Marilyn
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Location: Overgaard, AZDate: 2017-07-19
By cocoajuno
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Location: Overgaard, AZ
By cocoajuno
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Location: In my garden, Falls Church, VADate: 2017-06-05Third year in container
By Frenchy21
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Location: My garden in Northern KYDate: 2015-11-19
By Marilyn
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-08-06several trees together showing color variation
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-01-31bluish specimen with 18th century house
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2013-01-06green needles
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2013-01-06very blue needles
By ILPARW
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Location: Frasier, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-10-18trunk and bark
By ILPARW
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Location: Frasier, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-10-18looking up trunk of full-grown tree
By ILPARW
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Location: At the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint LouisDate: winter, 2007Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
By jathton
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Location: 98108blue spruce in ground
By a2b1c3
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Location: West Valley City, UTDate: 2013-07-23
By Zencat
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Location: West Valley City, UTDate: 2013-07-23
By Zencat
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Comments:
Posted by Sequoiadendron4 (Lititz, PA - Zone 6b) on Jan 28, 2016 9:23 PM

This is a pretty solid evergreen tree. I've seen it take strong wind gusts, heavy/wet snow loads, a foot of rain in 48 hours, and drought with no problem. Ours is well established and is approximately 35-40 years old and it's about as tall as it is old. When we moved into this house I limbed it up about 15' and it looks real great. In the winter it does shed a bunch of dead sticks but I guess that's how it keeps itself healthy. The cones aren't very vigorous I have a single volunteer. It's 2 years old and about 4" high. Also, the roots are pretty shallow but you can garden underneath if careful. I have a ground cover geranium under it as well as a few lavender "bushes." The only thing I don't like about it is that the leader splits into two about halfway up, and now at the top there is a handful of leaders. Just minor aesthetics, though.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 17, 2013 6:48 PM

Utah and Colorado's state tree.

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Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Dec 2, 2016 8:59 PM

Slow growing, very symmetrical evergreen. Quite striking with its blue-green needles, very prickly. The inner bark and young shoots are edible. The bark and pitch may be used for medicinal purposes. Legend has it that the sharp needles give it special powers for protection against evil thoughts.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Oct 20, 2018 9:17 AM

Colorado Spruce is native to areas of the Rocky Mountains from southeast Idaho, western Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona on valley slopes to along bottomlands along watercourses. In the wild it usually grows about 80 to 100 feet with a 1 to 2 feet diameter trunk. In landscapes it grows about 30 to 60 feet high and about 15 to 20 feet wide. The seed cones are tan with thin papery scales and get about 3.5 inches long. The needles are 1 to 1.5 inches long, are painfully prickly, and range in color from slightly bluish green to blue-green to very blue.The growth rate in the wild usually is about 1/2 to 1 foot/year, but trees grown and used in nurseries usually grow about 1 to1.5 feet/year. The more blue the needles being covered with a bluish wax, the slower the growth. The extremely blue cultivars that are grafted onto a species stock are slow growing of closer to around 1/2 foot/year, and more expensive to buy. This western species is extremely commonly planted in landscapes in the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, and the upper South of the US, and everyone knows it as the Blue Spruce. In its wild range it lives over 400 years, but a lot less in landscapes farther east, often living around 50 to 150 years. This species gets picked on by Cytospora Canker disease, some Needle Cast diseases, Bagworms, Spider Mites, and Cooley Spruce Gall Aphid. Most of these problems are not fatal and I've seen many trees looking good for decades and still branched to the ground or not. However, Cytospora Canker, a fungus disease that kills bark, twigs, and branches, often does kill off a fair number of trees in the more humid Midwest and farther east, starting with dying on the bottom and working its way upward. Many times this dying upward will stop so that the trunk just shows. This is a good quality ornamental conifer that is windfirm. My unhappiness with this spruce is that it is so painful to touch, and I would rather go with the White Spruce instead, as the most similar landscape conifer. The Engelman Spruce with a larger range in the Rocky Mountains is so similar, except with shorter needles and smaller cones.

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Plant Events from our members
tinytreez On January 12, 2020 Obtained plant
Seeds obtained from OSC seeds.

Seeds soaked in lukewarm water for 24 hours.

Seeds placed in moist paper towel and stored in plastic sandwich bag and placed inside refrigerator to stratify for ~ 4 and a half months.

Stratification end date: May - June
tinytreez From January 11, 2020 to January 16, 2020 Seeds germinated
I planted a few seeds in my coco mix (perlite, kelpmeal, bloodmeal, basalt powder, fulvic/humic acid powder, and mycorrhizae)

after a few days the seeds finally germinated, I know this quickly, because I always sow some extra seeds on the surface to see if they will crack open before they break the soil. I then moved those cracked seeds to their own individual pots and left them alone to grow.

https://pasteboard.co/IQf97SF....

Hopefully I have good genetics propagating.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Impressive! by Bonehead Jan 12, 2019 10:47 AM 5
Conifer tree with erect cones by ajzcidelg Nov 5, 2019 3:59 PM 6
Mystery hanging vine by Kasie23 Jul 22, 2019 6:45 PM 10
Dead tree? by phbecker Jun 9, 2019 8:38 AM 4
..... these Ukrainian/Eastern Europe originated irises --- by TBMan Dec 28, 2019 7:44 AM 69
Bagworms WANTED: yes you read it right! by GregC Jan 9, 2020 2:41 PM 22
Bug spoiled a whole plant, spreading to others, flying on house wall by ramyagaddam Jun 21, 2018 9:00 AM 8
Trying to Get Rid of a Incorrect Tag on Landscape Photo by Marilyn Dec 10, 2017 9:23 PM 7
Red-tipped Conifer north of Seattle by thanewilliams Apr 23, 2017 4:45 PM 6
Colorado spruce 'Mesa Verde' by SpringGreenThumb Sep 18, 2016 1:17 PM 6
Banner for February 26, 2016 by dirtdorphins by dirtdorphins Feb 27, 2016 9:58 AM 16

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