Colorado Spruce, Blue Spruce

Picea pungens

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Picea (PY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: pungens (PUN-gens) (Info)




Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Flagstaff, Arizona

Prescott, Arizona

Salerno, California

Clifton, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado

Oxford, Connecticut

Bear, Delaware

Aurora, Illinois

Westchester, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

Andover, Kansas

Burlington, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Nicholasville, Kentucky

Paris, Kentucky

Tiline, Kentucky

Versailles, Kentucky

Frederick, Maryland

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Millbury, Massachusetts

Weymouth, Massachusetts

Gobles, Michigan

Greenbush, Michigan

Tecumseh, Michigan

Deer River, Minnesota

Longville, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Two Harbors, Minnesota

Fulton, Missouri

Lone Jack, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Ithaca, New York

Highlands, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Bucyrus, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Eastlake, Ohio

Warren, Ohio

Bend, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Irwin, Pennsylvania

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Orem, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Raphine, Virginia

Langley, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

Marlinton, West Virginia

Kinnear, Wyoming

Ranchester, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 8, 2014, marshak from Lone Jack, MO wrote:

It is a really pretty tree. So far it is healthy. We planted it about three years ago and has grown into a nicely shaped tree. The only problem we have are bagworms. We just pick them off but the little critters are fast and use some of the needles for their homes. Seems like I attract the bagworm with all of the flowers I plant.I don't know how else to get rid of them. We live in Missouri and a lot of people have Blue Spruces. We are close to Powell Gardens and they grow them. Don't see bagworms on their trees. So when the tree gets tall this can be a problem. Maybe I can spray something on the ground a systemic control. I think the female doesn't fly and comes from the ground and the male flies..


On Sep 8, 2014, maiglocke from Cleveland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

What can I do to my blue spruces? One in Southern Ohio One in Northern Ohio.

I found out about Needlecast fungus, if that what it is. They are dying from the bottom inside from trunk, the outside needle are still green/blue. Can I spray with Daconil in the spring and/or how often a year and how many years. I don't want to cut them down as yet. Can I cut off the bottom branches and save the top? I don't go to this site only when Dave sends something out, but would like to have an answer at [email protected]. Thanks

Read more:


On Sep 8, 2014, jmagnuso from RAPHINE, VA wrote:

Blue Spruce is not native and is attacked in the spring by "needlecast" fungus. The young needles die off from the bottom up. Our property was planted with 25+ Blue Spruce, including short and weeping cultivars. You found out about Needlecast fungus on Youtube and other sites. I'm spraying in the spring (May) with Daconil and seeing results (young needles no longer die off). I read that this will take 3-4 years of spraying (only in the spring) before they return.


On Sep 8, 2014, cawsmom from West Jordan, UT wrote:

Actually, this year (2014) the state tree of Utah was changed to the Quaking Aspen, a native tree of Utah. The Colorado Blue Spruce is considered a 'transplant', so there was a petition to have it changed to honor native trees. Another fun fact: the Quaking Aspen was not a state tree in any of the US, so Utah is the first to name it a state tree :-)
I love both - I have aspens in my yard, and my neighbors have the Spruce in their yards. The Spruce is a favorite nesting tree for a pair (or two) of morning doves, while the aspens are favorite perches for smaller birds, like hummingbirds and finches. Both are lovely trees and add so much to our backyard experience.


On May 15, 2014, Sequoiadendron4 from Lititz, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a pretty solid evergreen tree. I've seen it take strong wind gusts, heavy/wet snow loads, a foot of rain in 48 hours, and drought with no problem. Ours is well established and is approximately 30-35 years old and it's about as tall as it is old. When we moved into this house I limbed it up about 15' and it looks real great. In the winter it does shed a bunch of dead sticks but I guess that's how it keeps itself healthy. The cones aren't very vigorous as I have yet to see a volunteer. Also, the roots are pretty shallow so I try not to do much gardening underneath it.


On Jan 23, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is the most common coniferous tree planted in residential yards homeowners in much of the Midwest and East. The foliage is green or bluish-green in most cases because they grow at medium speed of about 1 to 1.5 ft/yr and come from seed while the really blue-foliaged cultivars grow slow, are grafted, and are more expensive. The needles are longer than most other spruces of to 1 1/4" long and are thick, stiff, and painfully prickly. The tan cones are papery and about 2 to 5" long. Tolerant of pollution and heavy clay soil and does well in slightly alkaline soil. A significant number of this species in the Midwest and East die from Cytospora Canker Disease. I wish homeowners would stop planting this right in front of their house; keep it to the side. Don't break landscape design law by hid... read more


On Nov 25, 2009, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Slow growing, but beautiful evergreen, prickly. Makes a definite statement when mature.


On Nov 17, 2009, GKayfes from Rosemount, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

I loved my 4 C. blue spruce, but over time I noticed the inner branches turning brown and when I looked up the trunk, I noticed a dripping goo coming from the branches. I went to a U of M horticulture extension office and was told that my trees are suffering cytospora canker which is fatal. The Colorado Blue Spruce is not native to Minnesota and was told that eventually most of them will succumb to this disease My beautiful trees are now turning into brown skeletons and I am so sad. My trees are probably 25 years old and gorgeous. When they are cut down, I will shop for a conifer nativer to Minnesota.


On Nov 16, 2009, Padraic from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:

Colorado Spruce is the state tree of Utah...go figure. The largest one that I have seen was near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, east of Salt Lake City, Utah. As near as I could estimate, it was about 120 feet tall; certainly over 100 feet. Sadly, it is no longer there. It was in a Forest Service campground called "Redman". There are many magnificent trees in that area, mostly Douglas Fir and Englemann Spruce. The microclimate is subalpine to alpine and the trees love it; they will not grow nearly so large in the valley, although they do well enough.


On Aug 13, 2009, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Spruce tree has been known to reach 80 ft. high and the trunk to reach 2 ft. thick. The thick and rough bark is dark gray or brown and furrowed into ridges. The 4" cones are chestnut brown with the scales being more or less straight across which are not thinner at the tip. The silvery-blue needles are stiff and radiate in all directions from the branch. They are shaped like a diamond in the cross section and are about 1.5" long. This Spruce tree occurs in nature at about 7000-11,000 ft elevation in mixed conifer forests. The twigs are not hairy. The bluish crown on the young trees are cone-shaped. This tree is the state tree of Utah and Colorado.
Compared to the Engelmann Spruce, this tree is smaller and less widely distributed in the state of Arizona. It has longer cones that... read more


On Jan 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have one in the yard. It is rather small to medium sized, having been planted 10 years ago but is close to a Red pine so it's slow growing. From my observation, spruces are the trees you most likely to see fallen after strong winds move through the area. They have very shallow roots spreading over a rough circular area a certain distance from the tree so they fall down more frequent that some other tree species.


On Mar 28, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

The State Tree of Colorado, fittingly.
It is true that mixed sedlings of Blue spruce exhibit a mix of blue and green forms. The blue trees are saved and the green are culled or used for root stock in the green industry.

They do indeed tolerate Alkaline soil, even 8.0 with little difficulty. The blue color is often more pronounced in trees that are not overwatered. Birds prefer them over most other trees for the dense evergreen cover.

These trees have the most formidable impact when they are not trained to have trunks, leaving the lowest branches to hover just above the ground. Cutting these off only exposes the bare spot underneath! If weeds are a problem underneath, consider mulch.


On Mar 19, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

When I first bought this land many years ago, I knew these two acres needed some character added to supplement the native white oaks, hickories and scrubs. It was then I began thinking evergreens/conifers, but could not visualize what effect they would have 20-25 years down the road. So I put my imagination to work, and began a five-year collecting/buying program to include different species. The fabled blue spruce was a natural for me since a friend had ordered several, overplanted many, and was asking me to take a few off his hands. I took three and transplanted them around the property at a tiny height of barely 15-18". I faithfully watered and fertilized the first year, and drove marker stakes around them to protect against hungry lawn tractors. After all these years, what I couldn't v... read more


On Sep 26, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Blue spruce do well in this area and are commonly used in large yards where they have space to mature. Fully grown they can attain a height of 60 feet. Newly planted trees need adequate water and protection from the wind for the first 3 to 5 years until they become established. After that, they are reliable, drought-tolerant conifers. Their dense foliage can shield a house from cold winter winds, reducing heating costs. In a rural setting, they are valuable as windbreaks or shelterbelts.


On Mar 24, 2005, macluraspine from Marlinton, WV wrote:

tends to tolerate drought, once established, as well as white or black hills spruce, and better than norway. adapts to any ph below 7 (i have heard it even tolerates alkaline soil). can take all the cold wind nature can blow on it and not burn. aslo takes 100 degrees with little irritation but needs cold periods in winter to live long.

deer dont like older trees because the needles are stout, but they will eat off seedlings; and deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough.

older trees are suseptable to defoliation due to spruce epizeuxis. blue spruce tend to be hit the worst. it will defoliate the tree from the ground up and leave it looking horrible, even kill it. we are having a bad problem with that in west virginia and virginia now (2005). lime sulphu... read more