Easily grown in average, acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Prefers rich, moist soils. Although established plants have some drought tolerance, soils should be kept consistently moist and not allowed to dry out in the early years. Generally prefers cool climates and will struggle in the heat and humidity of the deep South.
Colorado spruce (also blue spruce) is a medium to large, narrow, pyramidal conifer with horizontal branching to the ground. It typically grows 30-60’ tall in cultivation, but may reach 100’ or more where it grows naturally. It is native to the central Rocky Mountains from southern Montana and eastern Idaho south to New Mexico where it is typically found growing in moist locations from 6000 to 11000 feet in elevation. Stiff, bristly, four-angled, green to blue-green to silver-blue needles (to 1.5” long) point outward from the branches in all directions. Cylindrical light brown cones (to 4” long) have flexible scales. Dark gray bark furrows on mature trees. Specific epithet means sharp-pointed in reference to the needles. From a horticultural standpoint, trees with blue or silver blue foliage are generally more coveted than trees with green foliage.
No serious insect or disease problem. Susceptible to needle cast, canker and rust. Watch for aphids (particularly spruce gall aphids), scale, budworms and bagworms. Spider mite invasions can cause significant problems with new growth and overall tree health.
Landscape specimen. A large number of compact to dwarf cultivars are commonly sold in commerce, one of which, Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’, is currently designated as an MBG Plant of Merit.