Dwarf Norway SprucePicea abies ‘Pumila’
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Picea abies ‘Pumila’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Dwarf Norway Spruce is a broad, spreading evergreen that grows into a low bun, 4 feet wide and 18 inches to 2 feet tall after 10 years. It continues to grow steadily, and it will reach 6 feet wide by 4 feet in time. It has striking lime-green new growth, set against darker green needles, making a colorful feature. Grow it among rocks, or in a graveled bed with other evergreens. Plant it at the edge of a terrace or patio, in a corner where two low walls meet, or on slopes and terraces. This is a very low maintenance plant.
The Dwarf Norway Spruce should be planted in full sun, in moist but well-drained ordinary garden soil. It has moderate drought resistance once established and needs no special care. It grows well in urban gardens. It is normally free of pests and diseases. Trimming is not necessary to keep its compact form, and should be avoided – the natural form is the best.
There is something magical about dwarf evergreens. They conjure up miniature worlds, or suggest wild places, even when growing in an urban garden. They ask almost nothing in care, yet for 365 days of the year they give us colorful foliage and fascinating forms. They only become better and better with time, and their air of maturity and age is often gained quickly. Even in cold zones there is a large selection you can grow, and snow only enhances their charms. The typical dwarf evergreen is either slender and upright, flat and spreading, or rounded and bun-shaped. For a unique form, that is both spreading and yet rounded, the Dwarf Norway Spruce is our confirmed favorite. No other evergreen has the same broad yet rounded form. It’s a real jewel of a plant.
The Dwarf Norway Spruce grows steadily between 3 and 5 inches a year, so that within 10 years it forms a flattened bun 4 feet across. The lower branches are horizontal, but they rise gradually toward the center, forming a plant between 1½ and 2 feet tall in the center, with tapering sides. With age this plant will become larger and more rounded, reaching perhaps 6 feet across and as much as 4 feet high. The short twigs radiate outwards from the many branches, and each twig is covered with rich green short needles, measuring just a little more than ¼ inch in length. They are arranged in overlapping rows, with the inner needles a little longer than the outer ones. Each short twig has a ‘bottle-brush’ appearance, and they grow outwards and upwards from the main branches. At the end of each twig, once the new growth has matures, sits a small orange bud. In spring the new growth is bright green, and when the buds open and the growth is young the plant has a very bright look, covered in bright lime-green shoots against a darker-green background Flowers and cones are very rare, and although a few might be found on a very old specimen, this plant effectively doesn’t produce them.
With its unique form the Dwarf Norway Spruce is a great addition to any garden. Plant it in an open bed, with plenty of room for it to spread. Don’t make the mistake of putting it near the front of a bed bordering grass, but instead use it in beds meeting a driveway or terrace, where it can safely spill over the hard surface. If planted in a grass-edge bed, place it 3 feet back from the edge. It could be planted at the bottom of a low wall, or in a corner, which it will fill very effectively. It is of course perfect for planting in a graveled yard, or in a rock garden, where it would look superb fitting into the contours of the rocks. A very attractive garden feature needing almost no maintenance can be created by dedicating a bed in the sun to a collection of dwarf evergreens. Choose a range of color, shapes and potential sizes, and allow plenty of room for each plant to spread. Add some rugged boulders, mulch with gravel, and you have a great feature that only gets better and better as the plants age and mature.
Grow the Dwarf Norway Spruce in full sun. It enjoys moist but well-drained soil, although established plants can tolerate considerable dryness in cooler zones. It is hardy throughout zone 3 and possibly in sheltered places in zone 2. This is a plant for cooler zones, and it will struggle in hot and humid areas. Consult our selection of dwarf evergreens for bushes more suited to hot regions – we have many. It is very tolerant of air pollution and grows well in urban gardens, making it perfect for a small city lot. Pests and diseases are almost never a concern unless it is too dry and hot, and no trimming is needed, or desirable. Simply plant the Dwarf Norway Spruce, and sit back and watch it grow and mature – it’s easy.
The Norway Spruce is a tall forest tree reaching well over 100 feet tall in time. It grows in the Scandinavian countries, Russian and southwards in mountainous areas of Europe. The tree itself is too large for most gardens, but over the years it has produced many unique forms. Most of these are found as unusual branches growing on a large tree, called a ‘witch’s broom’, and this is the origin of most of the garden varieties we grow. The variety called ‘Pumila’, which we know as the Dwarf Norway Spruce, was probably found that way sometime in the middle of the 19th century, but we don’t know for sure. It was first described in 1874, and despite its beauty and ease of growth, it has remained relatively rare. We have been able to locate a supply of beautiful young plants, and we know they are always sought after by collectors and all lovers of dwarf evergreens. Order now or you will miss the chance to grow this unique and beautiful evergreen.