The Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a perfect cone of rich blue-gray needles, forming a dense bush that will be 6 feet tall and just 2½ feet wide in ten years. It is beautiful as a specimen in a rock garden or bed, with other shrubs, or planted as part of a collection of dwarf evergreens. It is also beautiful in planter boxes framing a doorway, and it can be decorated to make a delightful miniature Christmas tree. It can be used in the foundation planting around your home, or out in the garden, and it even makes a wonderful bonsai. It needs absolutely no trimming to keep its exact conical shape.
- Perfect tight conical form never needs trimming
- Richly colored in sparking gray-blue
- Excellent choice for containers framing an entrance
- Extremely cold resistant to zone 2
- Easy to grow in any well-drained soil
Grow the Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce in full sun for best results, but it will tolerate a little shade too. It is incredibly cold-resistant, growing well even in zone 2, but just as well in zone 8. It only needs well-drained soil, of any type, including poorer rocky soils. It has no notable pests or diseases, and despite its remarkable appearance, this is a very easy plant to grow, and ideal for low-maintenance gardening across the country. In containers make sure you have drainage holes, and in zones 2 and 3 container-grown plants need to be planted in the garden for winter.
Dwarf evergreens are loved by everyone. These fascinating miniatures trees evoke giants of the forest, but, like kittens, stay cute and adorable. The top favorites almost always have blue foliage, but one, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce, is incredibly popular, and it has rich green needles. Now if only it came in blue. . . Actually, it does, with perfect dense, conical growth and brilliant blue-gray needles, and called the Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce. This versatile little tree is not only easy to grow and amazingly cold resistant, it grows large enough to be used as a significant garden specimen, yet it can also be grown for years in containers, as a doorstep Christmas tree, and an all-year accent on your terrace or patio. Grow in in a rock gardens, or plant it in beds as a specimen, or in groups for a striking display that gets better and better as the plants mature.
The Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a compact upright evergreen, with a dense conical shape. It grows just a few inches a year, so that in 10 years it will be about 6 feet tall and 2½ feet wide. Large enough to take a proud place in the foundation planting around your home, but still small enough to be living happily in a large planter box. The slender branches grow almost straight upwards, forming a tight conical form, and so dense the surface is solid, without any trimming ever being needed. The tiny needles cluster densely on the stems, and they are a strong gray-blue color. There have been other blue forms of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce, but they disappoint us by growing back to green after a few years. Not the Blue Wonder form, which never reverts and stays brilliantly colored forever.
Growing Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce Trees
For the best color and form, grow the Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce in full sun, in a location sheltered from drying winter winds. It will grow in a little shade, but the color may become a little greener, and the growth not quite as dense. When it comes to soil, any well-drained soil will be fine. Dig it well to encourage deep rooting, and water once or twice a week for the first season. After that watering is only needed during dry periods, or of course if you are growing this plant in a container. Some mulch over the root-zone will retain moisture and keep the soil cool, which this tree likes, but be careful not to leave mulch on the lower branches or the stem – keep them free of mulch. You can use an organic mulch, but this tree is often grown among a collection of other dwarf conifers, among rocks, with a mulch of gravel or broken stone, and that too makes an ideal environment.
The Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce is incredibly cold-hardy, and it grows even in the icy winter temperatures of zone 2. In cold zones, be sure to water thoroughly shortly before the ground freezes deeply, and using an anti-desiccant spray is advisable, especially in exposed locations. This plant normally has no pests or diseases, and it is trouble-free.
For containers, use soil blended for outdoor shrubs, or use cactus & succulent soil, which has the all-important good drainage this tree needs. Make sure the pot you use has drainage holes, and never leave it sitting in a saucer of water. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry, and then water thoroughly so that water flows from the drainage holes. Although hardy to zone 2, this plant is only suitable for containers in zone 4 and warmer, because the roots are more sensitive to cold than the top-growth. If the planter is large, and standing directly on the soil, it will probably pass winter fine in zone 3, but otherwise, in the coldest zones, remove it carefully from the container in late fall, and plant it in the garden, lifting it again in early spring, before new growth begins. Of course, you can also bury the whole container for the winter months.
History and Origins of Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce Trees
The Blue Wonder Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a selected form of the white spruce, Picea glauca. White spruce grows all the way from Alaska across the country to New York state, and on into Newfoundland. The name ‘glauca’ means white, since the needles of this tree are covered with a white coating. However young trees have bright-green needles, and this color is kept in some of the garden forms too. In 1904, the conifer expert Alfred Rehder and a companion, J.G., found a unique dwarf plant, with green needles, growing in the mountains above Lake Laggan, in Alberta, Canada. It was called Picea glauca var. albertiana ‘Conica’, or Dwarf Alberta Spruce. In 1992, in the town of Westertede Germany, a very different stem, with silvery gray-blue needles, was found on a specimen of that plant growing at Helmers Nurseries. It was grafted onto new roots and developed into the plant we know today as ‘Blue Wonder’.