In every garden we need striking accents to catch the eye and hold our attention. In smaller gardens – or in beds in larger ones – this is often done best with a trimmed form – perhaps a cone or a ball. The problem is that these must be trimmed regularly to keep their value, and that can become a chore. That is why, when we found these beautiful Dwarf Serbian Spruce trees, we knew you would love them. They need no trimming, yet they form a perfect round ball, mounted on a sturdy, upright trunk. Hardy, reliable, with striking two-tone foliage, this really is the perfect choice for low-maintenance gardening that always stays neat.
Dwarf Serbian Spruce is a wonderful, hardy dwarf evergreen that has stood the test of time, and remains a reliable garden favorite. It grows well in most soils that are not always wet, and if given a place in the sun it will form a beautiful, dense bush that never needs trimming, but always looks perfect. We decided that such a lovely tree should be ‘shown off’ a little more, so we raised them above the ground on a short trunk to make a tree-form.
There are many advantages to this. You can see the plant better while it is still young. It gives height to a planting of low-growing evergreens, instantly improving the appearance of your garden. In small gardens it can be hard to find taller plants that don’t also spread wide, so this tree is perfect for the smallest space. Indeed, since it is up in the air, you can plant other things beneath it, so it really takes up no room at all. It also looks great in a container, where you can plant summer annuals, or spring bulbs, directly beneath it, giving you a higher, more colorful and visually richer planting. A pair on either side of a doorway would be perfect, or placed among spreading shrubs in your foundation planting.
The foliage of the Dwarf Serbian Spruce has a unique bi-color look. The upper surface of the neat, pointed leaves is blue-green, but the underside is silver. Since the needles point outwards and slightly upwards from the stems, both colors are visible all over the plant. It always sparkles a little in the sun, and has a lively appearance, but in a neutral color that blends perfectly with green, yellow, red, pink, or any other garden colors you use. Truly a plant for all gardens.
This is a medium-slow growing evergreen, adding perhaps 3 or 4 inches to its diameter each year. When older it can even grow a little faster, adding 6 or 8 inches each year. This is not one of those frustrating plants that never seem to get any larger, yet it will not quickly outgrow the space you have for it. After 10 years the ball of dense branches on the trunk will be 2 to 3 feet across in all directions, but the trunk will be the same height, so don’t worry about this plant growing too tall or too large.
Despite its small appearance, this tree comes from a tall forest tree, the Serbian spruce, Picea omorika. This is a rare tree in the wild, and it is found growing naturally only at a few spots along the Drina river in Serbia. It is however widely grown around the world as a hardy forest tree, or in larger gardens, where it can reach 100 feet tall. It naturally makes a graceful narrow spire, but sometimes dwarf forms develop directly on the trees. These are called ‘witch’s brooms’, and are relatively common on many conifer trees. On a branch of a large tree a mass of small shoots forms, with tiny leaves and very short stems. This is exactly what was found growing on a normal Serbian Spruce tree around 1930 at the Goudkade Brothers Nursery, in Boskoop. This area of the Netherlands is famous for its many plant nurseries, run by generations of skilled gardeners. The brothers took pieces from this unusual growth, and propagated them to become this wonderful dwarf conifer, now grown around the world wherever it will thrive.
With such a special origin, it is important to produce new plants correctly. In addition, we have had our propagators add a short trunk to create a tree form. They take pieces from mature parent trees, whose identity has been carefully verified, and graft them to sturdy trunks and roots from seedlings of wild trees. Trees grown from seed would not be anything like this unique tree at all, so avoid cheaper trees of unknown origin – and pick the real thing.
Plant your Dwarf Serbian Spruce Tree in a sunny place. It will grow in almost any soil at all, except for one that is wet most of the time. It is moderately drought-resistant, especially after a few years to become established. It has no significant pests or diseases, and it is winter hardy down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. During the first year or two, you tree will benefit from regular watering and a rich mulch over the roots. Keep any mulches you use clear of the trunk itself. Plant at the same depth it was in the original container and trim away any shoots that may come from the trunk or at ground-level. One thing you don’t need to do is trim it, because with its natural dwarf habit it remains dense and compact, as it steadily matures into a larger globe.
We have been fortunate to find a grower able to produce these top-quality trees. We know that such a reliable and striking plant is always in high demand, so our limited stocks will not last long. Order now, and add a beautiful and easy-to-grow plant to your garden – the chance will soon be gone.