Dwarf Black Spruce

Picea mariana 'Nana'

Dwarf Black Spruce

Picea mariana 'Nana'


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Dwarf Black Spruce is a unique bun-shaped evergreen that develops into a plant about twice as wide as it is tall, with a neat rounded profile. It is dense, with many short branches, covered tightly with needles that are blue-green and dusted with a silvery coating. This charming plant has great appeal at all stages of its growth, reaching about 2 feet across in 10 years, and ultimately growing to as much as 6 feet across and 3 feet tall. Use it in rock gardens or at the corners of beds or grow it in boxes and pots to create miniature gardens with other small plants.

  • Compact, rounded ‘bird’s nest’ of layered branches
  • Attractive blue-green foliage dusted with silver
  • Dwarf conifer for rock gardens and boxes
  • Matures to a rounded specimen 3 feet by 6 feet
  • Extremely cold hardy and easily grown

Full sun is best for the Dwarf Black Spruce in all but the hottest zones, where some afternoon shade is valuable. This plant is not particularly drought resistant, and it should be watered regularly. Rich, moist and preferably acidic soil is best, but it will grow well in ordinary soils that are not too dry and sandy. It needs no trimming to grow into a neat form, and it normally has no pests or diseases. A special specimen that is easy to grow and very popular.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-8
Mature Width 2-3
Mature Height 1-2
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 3-8

Dwarf evergreens are basic core plants in any garden, particularly in colder areas, where plant choices are more limited. Always popular are rounded and bun-shaped forms, which fit perfectly into so many places in the garden. Tucked between rocks, at the corners of beds, or as sturdy components of the front row of shrubs, these tough and reliable little plants give permanent, year-round structure in any garden, from the simplest to the most detailed. Spruce trees are always popular – they are cold-resistant and always easy to grow – and a constant favorite of everyone is the Dwarf Black Spruce. This selection of a North American plant is guaranteed to look great from the moment it is planted until it reaches its mature status as a striking specimen in your landscape.

The Dwarf Black Spruce is a rounded evergreen tree, always wider than tall, forming a dense mound of short branches. It grows slowly, steadily adding a couple of inches a year to its bulk, so that in 10 years it will be about 18 inches tall and 24 inches across. When choosing a spot to plant it, allow enough room around it for its ultimate size, because these tough little guys never stop growing. In time your plant will be 3 feet tall and up to 6 feet across, and with a mature plant like that in your garden you certainly don’t want it to be crowded or need to trim it. Speaking of trimming, that is entirely unnecessary with this plant, which always looks neat, compact and perfectly rounded without any help from us. Even if it is a little irregular when young, it fills out into a near-perfect ‘bird’s nest’ form as it develops.

Each stem of the Dwarf Black Spruce is covered in short needles, radiating out in all directions around them, and thrusting forward towards the end of the stem. No more than ½ inch long, and normally only half that, they are a handsome blue-green color, with a dusty silver coating, giving this plant lots of eye-appeal. Although the full-sized parent plant produces purple cones when mature, it is unlikely these will be produced until perhaps this plant is very old.

The Dwarf Black Spruce is an ideal plant for containers or for the open garden. Plant it in a pocket of a rock garden, where it looks right at home. Grow it on the terraces of a wall, or in the foreground of a smaller garden bed. Especially when young it is perfect for pots and planters, and a lot of keen gardeners create very attractive planters and boxes using dwarf plants like these, with attractive stones and gravel, making charming miniature gardens. When these plants become too large, they can be transferred to garden beds.

The Dwarf Black Spruce should be placed in full sun, although in warmer zones it may appreciate a little afternoon shade. It grows best in damper soils, but not in wet or boggy ones, and it appreciates richer, acidic soils. Adaptable to most conditions, it shouldn’t be grown in dry, sandy places – there are other dwarf evergreens more suited for that. Water regularly, and in hotter zones misting during dry weather will be appreciated. This plant is very cold-tolerant, preferring cooler zones and certainly growing well in zones 3 and 4, and probably also hardy in zone 2 – its parent certainly is. This plant normally doesn’t suffer from pests or diseases and it is resistant to verticillium wilt, which kills some other conifer evergreens. Deer usually ignore it, and this long-lived plant is very easy to grow, becoming a better and better specimen as the years pass.

The Dwarf Black Spruce is a special selection of the black spruce, Picea maritima, a relative of the much more well-known white spruce, Picea glauca. It grows across a large area of northern North America, from Alaska to Maine, and in almost all of Canada. It grows around the Great Lakes from Minnesota to New York, and south to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. It is usually found growing in damper areas around bogs and in peat lands, which is why it is not very drought tolerant. Wild trees are usually between 20 and 50 feet tall, but it can reach 100 feet. It has darker bark than white spruce, and other botanical differences, but the bark coloring is the main reason for its common name. We don’t know where the variety called ‘Nana’ came from, but it has been around for about 150 years, because it is first mentioned by the German horticulturist and tree authority Ludwig Beissner in his book, Handbuch der Nadelholzkunde, (‘handbook of conifer wood science’) published in 1884. It was probably found as a witch’s broom, that is, a cluster of small shoots growing on the stem of a full-sized tree. It has been carefully preserved and reproduced to keep its unique dwarf form over the decades since it was first discovered.

The Dwarf Black Spruce is one of the most popular dwarf conifers, for its hardiness and ease of growth, so we know that our regular clients who come to us for unique plants like this will soon order all our stock, so order your plant right away, while we can still fulfill your order.

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Dwarf Black Spruce

Picea mariana 'Nana'