Some time ago I wrote about my difficulty choosing a single favorite conifer or even a favorite group of conifers. My favorites can change quickly depending on what conifer I am standing next to at the time. I must admit though, that this time of year, when the spruce are all pushing their fresh, colorful new growth, I am leaning toward them as being my favorites.
Picea is a large genus with quite a number of species, many of which are some of the hardiest you’ll find. My friends in the Midwest are always looking for exciting new plants to add to their gardens and I think most often they look to Picea to fulfill their needs. Even here in the mild Pacific Northwest, those same hardy spruce trees are among my absolute favorites. There is a lot to love about spruce.
I’ve also mentioned in the past some of the outstanding blue cultivars available from miniature forms to full sized trees. The blue foliaged forms are simply stunning this time of year when their foliage is young and fresh and the waxy coating that creates the blue tones is fresh and has not begun to weather off.
Blue is not the only color available though. Of course there are many shades of green from the bright grassy greens of Picea abies ‘Witches Brood’ to the rich dark green of P. orientalis ‘Minima Wells’. Then there are the silvery blue-greens of P. sitchensis ‘Papoose’ or P. omorika ‘Pimoko’ and the yellows of P. orientalis ‘Skylands’, and ‘Aureospicata’. One of the most eye-catching colors is when the dark green P. abies ‘Rubra Spicata’ pushes it’s new growth which emerges a bright red that slowly shifts to a darker blood red and eventually to green.
Springtime is a great time of year in the conifer garden largely due to the fantastic display of color provided by the spruce. I hope you have an opportunity to plant some conifers this year and be sure to select some of the colorful and satisfying spruce when you do.
Thanks to Iseli Nursery for the photo links