Blue Teardrop SprucePicea glauca 'Blue Teardrop'
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Picea glauca 'Blue Teardrop'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Blue Teardrop Spruce is a small conifer growing to about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide within 10 years, and taller with time. its stiff, upright branches make a dense cone with rounded sides, shaped like a teardrop. The branches are tightly covered in short needles, which are powdery blue in spring, and mature to a rich silver-blue, which holds its color well, without greening. This great little plant is perfect as a specimen in a bed with other shrubs, or as part of a display-bed of dwarf conifers of different kinds. Invaluable in colder regions, it can also be grown in pots and planters.
Full sun is best for the Blue Teardrop Spruce, which thrives in any well-drained soil. It is completely hardy in zone 3, and it grows as far south as zone 6, and in warmer zones in the north-west. It has no significant pests or diseases, deer leave it alone, and it needs no special care. It does not need trimming to maintain its neat, small form, and once established it is relatively drought resistant too.
Specimen evergreens are wonderful plants to grow in your garden. Tough, hardy and reliable, each one has a unique character and charm that will make your garden special. In colder zones, their diversity of colors and forms, combined with their love of colder weather, gives them special importance and makes them a way to still have variety and interest in places where the choice of shrubs is limited by the climate. A perennially-popular plant is the blue spruce, and its popularity means it is available in many forms. You may not want, or have room for, a towering blue tree in your small garden, or you may be looking for something compact for a bed or a container. For that perfect neat form, combined with intense blue coloring, on a smaller plant, your top choice must be the Blue Teardrop Spruce. This handsome tree has lots of character, it is easy to grow, and yet it is unique and charming. It is definitely an exciting and colorful plant for easy gardening.
The Blue Teardrop Spruce is a small upright evergreen tree, with many branches forming a rounded shape that is broad at the base and tapers in at the top – exactly like the teardrop it is named after. The branches stay dense and thick right to the ground, so it needs no plants around it to hide an empty base. The stiff branches rise up at about 60 degrees to the ground, in radiating clusters around the main stems. It can easily be kept to a single leading stem for the narrowest profile, or it can be left to naturally fill out over time with multiple leaders.
Each stem is densely packed with short needles – shorter than normally seen on this species of spruce tree – and they turn each branch into a tight blue brush. In spring the new needles are bright powder blue, maturing to a rich silvery blue that is held for years, without any significant greening. This plant grows a few inches each year, so within 10 years it will be about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It will continue to grow throughout its life, reaching 6 feet or more in height, adding a foot or two to its width, and becoming a beautiful and valuable specimen.
This tough and reliable plant is perfect as a small specimen in a bed, with other shrubs. Tuck it in the space between two larger, green bushes, or grow it beside plants with golden leaves for a beautiful contrast. A special plant like this could be part of a collection of dwarf evergreens, along with other shapes and colors, making a striking low-maintenance bed that will always attract attention. A pair could frame a doorway, and this tree would also grow well in a planter or pot, where it could be displayed on a terrace or patio.
The Blue Teardrop Spruce is extremely hardy and resistant to cold weather. It is completely winter-proof in zone 3 and would probably even grow in a sheltered spot in zone 2. For all colder zones it is an ideal choice. In areas warmer than zone 6 it might suffer, especially in the south-east, but there are many other evergreens in our collections more suited for hot, humid summers.
A position in full sun all day is best for the Blue Teardrop Spruce, but it could take an hour or two of light shade each day with no problems. Plenty of sun will keep the needle color strong, and prevent greening, and the growth will be sturdy, dense, and compact. It will grow in any ordinary soil, from sand to clay, but it needs good drainage, and areas where water lies on the ground for periods of time are not suitable. In heavier ground plant on a slope, an elevated area, or plant on a low mound of soil to give it the best drainage possible.
This tree is easy to grow, and it needs no special attention. Water it regularly during the first growing season, and after that during longer dry spells, but an established plant will be drought resistant. It normally has no pests or diseases, deer leave it alone, and it grows steadily into a superb specimen. Pruning is not normally needed, but if you want the neatest and most slender profile, keep a single leader – which is easy to do. If you see two shoots of the same length at the top, cut back the one furthest from the center of the bush, to keep one strong vertical shoot carrying the plant upwards.
The Blue Teardrop Spruce is a selected dwarf form of the white spruce, Picea glauca. Sometimes called Alberta spruce, this tall tree can grow as much as 150 feet tall, and it’s is an important source of lumber and paper pulp. It grows across the north, from Alaska to Newfoundland, and down through Maine, Vermont and Minnesota. There are many selected forms of this tree, which has variable coloring on the needles, with blue and silver forms being the most desired. Some are tall and slender, others weeping, and some are low and rounded.
An old form from the 1950s is called ‘Echiniformis’ (“like a hedgehog”) and forms a rounded ball about 3 feet tall and wide, with blue-green foliage. In the late 1980s the plantsman and conifer enthusiast Robert Finsham owned Mitsch Nursery in Aurora, Oregon. One day he found a different-looking stem growing from a plant of ‘Echiniformis’. From that piece he developed ‘Blue Teardrop’, the special plant we now have stock of. Finsham released this plant at his later Coenosium Gardens nursery, in Puyallup, Washington. For a long time, this plant was mistaken for a variety of the black spruce, Picea mariana, and it is still listed under that name occasionally.
We always have a good range of the very best dwarf evergreens in stock. As a result, we have a growing reputation for these plants, and the demand is always high. The Blue Teardrop Spruce is rarely offered, but collectors and conifer enthusiasts always go for the best, so we know that these plants will soon be gone. Order now and enjoy the perfect miniature blue spruce – don’t wait.