Columnar Blue Spruce (Picea pungens var.glauca ‘Fastigiata’)

Columnar Blue Spruce

  • Dramatic Silver-Blue Color
  • Striking Upright Form
  • No Pruning or Maintenance
  • Bird Friendly
  • Cold Hardy

So you’re in love with the idea of having a Spruce tree in your landscape, and why not? Spruce are some of the most beautiful evergreen trees around, with their gorgeous, steely-blue colored needles.

But Colorado Spruce is a commitment. It can and will grow very large and wide. This variety is different. It grows tall enough to create an impact but stays narrow enough to fit just about anywhere.

Columnar Blue Spruce (Picea pungens var. glauca ‘Fastigiata’) is a selection of a native tree that was chosen because of its narrow, upright form. You won’t have to sacrifice any of the color or interest you crave if you select this lovely tree.

The beautiful needles emerge each spring with a fantastic powdery blue coating. The fastigiate branching is held tightly upright close to the main trunk, which really gives the tree a crisp, alert appearance.

If space is limited, and you simply don’t have room for the classic “Christmas Tree” shape of Colorado Spruce, then Columnar Blue Spruce is your answer. This smaller version of the classic Blue Spruce is just what you need to give you the look that you want without having to worry about it taking up all of your precious garden space.

It has a fantastic look that fits into a myriad of different garden design styles from very formal, to rustic and even contemporary. The final look will depend on the styling and the plants you partner it with.

How to Use Columnar Blue Spruce in the Landscape

This well-kempt tree makes the most incredible vertical specimen for a sunny location.

Columnar Blue Spruce looks great in any garden setting and gives you an instant hit of fabulous blue color all year long. It will work equally well with Ornamental Grasses, Coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susans as it would to give structure and form near groundcover Roses or Hydrangeas.

Need privacy, but don’t have any extra room? Plant 5 feet apart (measured from trunk to trunk) to create a tight grouping with the branches touching. Use several together to screen off a narrow space like a patio area or side yard.

A screen like this can also block the worst of the prevailing winter winds in a windbreak. Site it about 50 feet away from your house on the north or northwest side of your house.

Columnar Blue Spruce look great at the back of a perennial or mixed shrub border. Use as a “Sentry” on either side of a door or gateway. They are also wonderful when placed at the start of a special garden path.

Imaging being able to decorate your living tree for Christmas. Where could you see it from inside the house? Create a vignette or scene to enjoy each year.

Birds take shelter in it, so you might site a collection of bird feeders nearby. Place Viburnum or Hedge Cotoneaster shrubs nearby and feed the birds fruit. Or use a graceful partner tree, like Serviceberry to give delicious color contrast in spring and autumn.

Play with contrasting textures and form by pairing it with spreading evergreen groundcover Junipers or Golden Mop False Cypress shrubs. Trust us, this tree will work with any other evergreen or any of your perennials. There simply isn’t any plant that won’t look good next to it.

Tips for Care

These useful, beautiful trees never need pruning, but always look pruned. They’ll perform best in full sun.

They can handle the cold, too.

Easy to transplant and easy to grow, this selection of Blue Spruce is striking. It never really needs maintenance of any kind once it has established in your yard. Well drained soil is preferred, but it will perform in just about any soil except standing water.

Mulch all around the tree, but don’t let the mulch touch the trunk.

It will eventually have some drought tolerance, but you should check for water regularly in the first year. Use the “Finger Test” to determine if your tree needs moisture. Simply stick your finger into the soil around the roots up to the 2nd knuckle.

If it feels dry, give it a long drink so that the ground around it becomes saturated. If it’s moist, skip watering and check again the next day.

As a young plant, they stay quite narrow, only three feet or so, and ten feet or so high. Each year, they’ll add another few inches up but will maintain the narrow form for a very long time.

Columnar Blue Spruce (Picea pungens var.glauca ‘Fastigiata’) Details

Common name Columnar Blue Spruce
Botanical name Picea pungens var.glauca 'Fastigiata'
Hardiness zone 4-7
Growth rate Slow
Height 20 - 40 ft.
Width 6 - 8 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun
Moisture Additional water when dry
Soil condition Well drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Leaf color Evergreen