Colorado Blue Spruce

Imagine waking up to a towering sentinel gracing your property, its shimmering blue needles dancing in the sunlight. That’s the magic of the Colorado Blue Spruce. Colorado Blue Spruce, also known as Picea Pungens or simply, blue spruce, is a conifer tree native to North America. It’s the first tree we started growing in Ace’s new nursery. The beauty of a blue spruce tree is a multifaceted masterpiece, a symphony of color, texture, and form that unfolds throughout the seasons.

Adding one of these trees to your landscape is easy. Simply check out Ace’s Garden Blue Spruce Trees for sale.

This guide to the Colorado Blue Spruce covers everything there is to know about this majestic beauty. It starts with covering the basics of the evergreen variety’s life cycle, and ends with a step by step guide on how to grow a Colorado Blue Spruce from seed.

Picea Blue Spruce Tree

The Colorado Blue Spruce is safe to grow in hardiness zones 3 to 7; and 8 to 9 on the West Coast. That cover’s a majority of climates that aren’t excessively warm. In other words, Picea Blue Spruce Trees are not very picky about where they grow.

The life cycle starts with a seed like nearly every other tree out there, but it doesn’t start producing seeds until it’s about 20 years old. Once the tree is over 150, seed production declines.

A blue spruce sapling can take 30 years to mature and start producing pine cones. However, the timeline can vary depending on the tree’s genetics and growing conditions.

Picea Blue spruce trees have a slow to medium growth rate, growing 30 to 60 feet tall and spreading 10 to 20 feet wide. They usually grow 10-12 ft. tall in 10 years.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (1), Blue spruce is apparently a long-lived tree, surviving up to 600 years or more.

Blue Evergreen Trees

There are roughly 630 species of conifer trees in the evergreen family. The Colorado Blue Spruce is one of the most popular blue evergreen trees out there. There are plenty of other species on the rise though.

For example, Dwarf globe blue spruce shrub is one of the most searched shrub varieties in the blue evergreen lineage.

Blue Atlas Cedar and Blue Star Juniper (a personal favorite) are two more species rapidly growing in popularity. Take one look at this breathtaking tree to see why:

Blue Evergreen Species: blue star juniper

How To Grow Blue Spruce From Seed

Witnessing the majestic growth of a Colorado Blue Spruce from your hand-sown seed is a rewarding experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

1. Seed Collection or Purchase

  • Collecting: Harvest cones in late autumn when scales turn brown and begin to open. Gently pry open cones and extract winged seeds. Dry seeds for a few days in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Purchasing: Opt for reputable seed suppliers to ensure viability. Choose fresh seeds ideally collected within the past year.

2. Cold Stratification (4-6 weeks)

  • Mimic winter conditions to break dormancy and encourage germination. Mix seeds with damp sand or vermiculite (3:1 ratio) in a plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate the bag at 35-40°F (1.7-4.4°C) for 4-6 weeks. Check periodically for moisture and mold.

3. Planting & Germination (March-May)

  • Potting mix: Prepare a well-draining potting mix of equal parts peat moss, sand, and perlite. Fill individual pots or a seed tray with the mix.
  • Sowing: Sow seeds on the surface and barely cover with a thin layer of sand or fine gravel. Water gently to moisten the mix.
  • Placement: Place pots or trays in a bright, sunny location with temperatures around 60-70°F (15-21°C). Maintain consistent moisture without waterlogging.
  • Germination: Germination may take 2-4 weeks. Once seedlings emerge, thin them to one per pot if necessary.

4. Growing Seedlings (First Year)

  • Lighting: Provide seedlings with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Rotate pots regularly for even growth.
  • Watering: Water deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering.
  • Fertilizing: Use a half-strength liquid fertilizer for evergreens once a month during spring and summer.
  • Pests & Diseases: Monitor for aphids, scale insects, and fungal diseases. Treat with organic methods if necessary.

5. Sapling Care (Years 2-5)

  • Potting up: Transplant seedlings to larger pots as they grow, ensuring adequate root space. What’s more, saplings cannot grow without proper sized pots.
  • Hardening off: Before planting outdoors, gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions over 2-3 weeks.
  • Planting site: Choose a well-drained location with full sun exposure and acidic soil (pH 5.0-6.0).
  • Planting: Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and loosen surrounding soil. Plant at the same depth as in the pot. Backfill, water deeply, and mulch around the base.

6. Mature Tree Care

  • Watering: Mature trees are drought-tolerant but benefit from deep watering during prolonged dry periods.
  • Mulching: Add a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Furthermore, maintain the mulch for weed control.
  • Pruning: Prune sparingly to remove dead or diseased branches. Avoid heavy pruning, as it can affect the tree’s natural form.
  • Pests & Diseases: Colorado Blue Spruces are relatively pest and disease resistant. Monitor for potential issues and address them promptly using organic methods whenever possible.

Patience and proper care are key to witnessing the magnificent transformation of your Colorado Blue Spruce seed into a towering evergreen landscape feature. Remember, this is a slow-growing species, so enjoy the journey and watch your tree unfold its splendor year after year.

Additional Colorado Blue Spruce Growing Tips

  • Label your pots or trays with planting date and variety for easy identification. In other words, you don’t want to forget what you planted.
  • Consider covering seeds with cheesecloth during germination to maintain moisture and prevent seeds from washing away.
  • Be mindful of wildlife, especially deer, that may browse on young seedlings. Consider fencing or protective measures if necessary.

With dedication and this guide as your compass, you can successfully cultivate your own majestic Colorado Blue Spruce from a tiny seed. Happy planting!

Scroll to Top