Serbian Spruce Tree (Picea omorika)

Serbian Spruce Tree

  • Slender, Pyramidal Shape
  • Great Specimen
  • Arching Branches
  • Tall, Narrow Habit
  • Pendulous Secondary Branches Sway in The Wind
  • Unique, Dark Green Needles on Top, Silvery Beneath
  • Very Low Maintenance and Easy to Grow
  • Elegant Purple Cones Are Highly Attractive
  • Urban Tolerant
  • Deer Seem to Leave Them Alone

For a stately evergreen specimen tree, you’d be hard pressed to find one more beautiful than Serbian Spruce tree (Picea omorika). The pyramidal silhouette with graceful arching branches draw the eye.

Serbian Spruce grows tall with a slender, straight trunk, but it stays quite narrow. The tree brings a lot of character to the landscape. With noteworthy good looks, Serbian Spruce easily elevates the tone of the garden design.

The overall look is charismatic and dynamic. Strongly upheld main branches are lined with pendulous secondary branches that seem to drip from the main branches.

The short needles are bicolored, which is highly ornamental. Dark, glossy green on top, they’ll flash a surprise silvery color on the underside as the breeze catches those secondary branches. The display makes quite a show!

Because of its narrow pyramidal habit, the Serbian Spruce tree can be used in smaller scale landscape situations better than most other conifer trees.

It produces purple cones that age into a lustrous cinnamon, reddish-brown. They add wonderful winter interest, and are a classic identifying feature of this elegant plant.

Serbian Spruce trees should not be planted out in the open where winter wind can dry them out. It prefers rich, moist, well-drained soils, and will tolerate alkaline sites. This tree does well in full sun.

Serbian Spruce make excellent specimen plants. They also make outstanding, natural groupings. Tall and skinny, Serbian Spruce are excellent green walls, or used as tall screens in larger scale landscapes.

Unfortunately, this highly ornamental Spruce tree is under threatened status in its native Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Luckily, it’s proven itself to be an adaptable selection for much of the United States.

How to Use Serbian Spruce in the Landscape

Create your own forest with a mixed planting of evergreen and smaller flowering trees. You might be surprised to see just how satisfying that endeavor would be. Grab some paper or a garden planning app for your phone and start designing.

Be sure to give enough space between plants to allow them to reach their mature height and width. Like many Spruce, this is not the right tree to plant closely together so the branches grow into a solid screen.

Instead, plant Serbian Spruce at least 10 feet on center from its nearest neighbor, measuring from the trunk of one tree to the trunk of the next.

The attractive Serbian Spruce should be given a place of honor and can be placed front and center in any design. It becomes a magnificent specimen in large landscapes.

Try a single tree planted 20 feet from the corner of your house to anchor a foundation planting. You’ll love the evocative, lyrical look of this evergreen tree with its grandly sweeping branches held to a narrow form.

Use this in a Japanese Garden to give screening. The look will complement Asian design sensibility.

Use three trees in a loose triangle to create a wonderful lawn grouping. To achieve the most natural look, we recommend varying the planting spaces between plants.

They’ll provide year-round interest and give a very sophisticated focal point. Pair with Azaleas and Rhododendrons, or use rugged Shrub Landscape Roses to boost the flower power of your planting during the growing season.

Include them in large-scale screening or windbreak plantings for larger landscapes. Serbian Spruce also make a wonderful, dark green backdrop when planted to the north of flowering and ornamental plants.

Tips for Care

This low maintenance tree will be easy to care for, live with and love! Give Serbian Spruce a planting site where the soil drains well, and the plants will get plenty of sun. Given these growing conditions, these are very low maintenance and have few problems.

They’ll even tolerate most urban conditions. Don’t plant them too close to the street, as they won’t tolerate prolonged exposure to winter road salt.

In general, evergreen trees look best when allowed to branch right to the ground. Serbian Spruce also looks best when the bottom branches are left on the plants.

Do your best to preserve those lowest branches and don’t be tempted to cut off the bottom branches to make it easier to mow around. Far better to create a protected planting around your tree.

Remove the grass from the base of the tree and include a layer of mulch over the entire root system. Pull the wood chips back at least an inch all the way around the trunk. Add other flowering plants if desired, or underplant with tough groundcovers for a wonderful, low maintenance look.

For the best performance over the life of your Serbian Spruce, give young trees a regular amount of moderate water. Once established, it will be able to tolerate short periods of drought, but water should be given regularly in extended drought.

Pruning not really necessary, but any corrections needed best done early spring before it starts to grow.

You’ll adore this magnificent evergreen specimen.

Serbian Spruce Tree (Picea omorika) Details

Common name Serbian Spruce Tree
Botanical name Picea omorika
Hardiness zone 4-7
Growth rate Medium
Height 45 - 55 ft.
Width 15 - 20 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly No
Leaf color Evergreen