Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir

Abies koreana 'Kohout’s Icebreaker'

Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir

Abies koreana 'Kohout’s Icebreaker'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


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


Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir is a unique and special dwarf evergreen, that grows into a dome-shape plant that will be 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide in about 10 years. The dense branches curve inwards, and so do the short needles, so that it is the silvery backs of them that we see. This gives the plant an incredibly intense silver look, more brilliant and sparking than any other evergreen. Grow it as a specimen in a small bed, or among other dwarf evergreens. Grow it along terrace walls, or use it in pots, planters and window boxes for year-round effect. In time it will become a remarkable specimen plant, and a real garden-party icebreaker.

  • Spectacular rich silver needles all year round
  • A rounded plant with a dome-like form
  • Beautiful and unique garden specimen
  • Winner of multiple garden awards
  • Easily grown, even in colder zones

Full sun or some partial shade are both fine for Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir, and it will grow even in zone 4, with cold winter temperatures and snow. It does not grow so well in hot zones. Plant it in open, well-drained soil, avoiding clay and wet areas. In containers use a well-drained soil mix suitable for trees. This tree is normally free of pests or diseases, and it is easy to grow.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-7
Mature Width 2-3
Mature Height 1.5-2
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-7

Among evergreens, the most popular are those that have blue or silver foliage, because they add a unique brightness to any garden. If you are among the people who admire these colors, you are going to fall head over heels in love with the most silver of them all – Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir. This drop-dead beauty sparkles and shines like no other, with needles of the most stunning silver you have ever seen. The needles curve inwards, showing off the silver underside, which accounts for the brilliance of the look. The stems curve in too, making a neat and rounded dome, eventually growing into a low, dense tree of enormous beauty. If you love dwarf evergreens, you will simply adore this tree.

Growing Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir

Size and Appearance

Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir is a special form of the Korean fir tree, which grows into a dense, rounded ball of branches. When young it is globe shaped, and in time it will rise in the center to become a low, conical small tree. It grows slowly, adding between 1 and 3 inches of growth each year, so that in 10 years it will be about 2 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide. It will continue to grow throughout its life, adding between 1 and 1½ feet every 5 years. Eventually the center will grow taller, giving the tree a more conical form.

The small branches of this tree curve inwards, making a neat, dense ball. Each stem is covered in short needles, no more than ½ inch long, with a blue-green upper surface. This is not visible, because the needles curve upwards, and are slightly twisted, so that the underside of the needle is what you see. It has two broad bright silver stripes along it, and it is these that create the spectacular sparkling silver look of this unique plant. New shoots are an even lighter and brighter silver, maturing to rich silver-blue.

Using Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir in Your Garden

This gorgeous plant is perfect as an accent in a small bed, alone or in a group of three. It will bring a beautiful sparkle among green-leaf evergreens. Grow it on the levels of terraced walls, where its higher position will bring it closer in view. Plant it among a collection of other dwarf evergreens, to create a beautiful and low-maintenance bed that gets better and better as the plants mature. Use it also in a rock garden, to add structure, or grow it as a natural bonsai in a beautiful pot. It can also be grown in planter boxes and window boxes – however you choose to grow it you will love it.


Allow small, this plant is tough. It will grow best in cooler zones, and it is hardy in zone 4. It will also grow in warmer areas including zone 7, but if you live in zone 8 or 9, choose another dwarf plant, as this one will not grow so well for you.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir in full sun for the best color and development. However, unlike most other dwarf evergreens, this is one that will tolerate a little partial shade well. The soil should be well-drained, and heavy clay is not so suitable. You can amend the planting area with fine gravel if your soil is heavy, and with organic material. This tree does not grow so well in urban conditions, preferring fresh air.

Maintenance and Pruning

Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir is normally free of pests and diseases and it is very easy to grow. No trimming is needed, or desirable, and it best left to develop naturally into a mature and beautiful specimen.

History and Origin of Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir

The Korean fir, Abies koreana, is a forest tree from South Korea that will grow to about 60 feet tall, with an upright, symmetrical form. It is very cold resistant, and popular as a large tree in most cold countries around the world. In the 1970s Günter Horstmann, from Germany, developed a beautiful smaller form of this tree, which grows to about 12 feet tall, and has curved needles that show their silvery backs. It is called the Silver Curls Korean Fir, ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’. Jörg Kohout has a nursery in Elstra, Germany, and earlier this century he found a witch’s broom growing on a plant of the Silver Curls Korean Fir. These are unique structures that can develop on evergreens. They are usually tight clusters of short dense branches. If they are propagated, they often grow as dwarf plants. This was the original plant that became known as ‘Kohout’s Icebreaker’.

Buying Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir at The Tree Center

In 2012 the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain gave this plant its Award of Garden Merit. The American Conifer Society made it a Collectors’ Conifer of the Year in 2014. You can tell from this it is something very special, and very worthwhile. Our keen plant-collecting customers will quickly buy it, so order yours now, because they won’t be available for very long at all.

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Kohout’s Icebreaker Korean Fir

Abies koreana 'Kohout’s Icebreaker'