The Colorado Blue Spruce or Picea pungens is native to the Rocky Mountains of North America.
This tree can reach a height of 115 feet and have a trunk with an 8-foot girth. It has a broad crown and bark that is grayish or purplish brown. As the tree ages, the bark breaks into plates. The young shoots are blue-green, which give the spruce its name. As they age, they turn orange. The blue-green, four-sided leaves are stiff, sharp and curved. They have whitish-blue buds on each face and have a pleasant smell when they are crushed. This gives the tree its botanical name. Picea is from the Greek word for resin, and pungent refers to its sharp needles.
The inconspicuous flowers of the Colorado Blue Spruce open up in May. The male flowers are 2/5 of an inch long while the female flowers are twice that length. When the cones or strobiles appear, they’re cylindrical and about 1 1/2 to 4 inches long. They have scales shaped like rhomboids with a toothed edged. At first, they’re greenish red but turn light brown as they open.Because it evolved in the mountains, the Colorado Blue Spruce is very frost resistant and does best in hardiness zones 2 to 8. It tolerates some salt, doesn’t mind wet ground and is sometimes seen growing in marshland.
The Colorado Blue Spruce is a slow-growing tree and can be expected to reach a height of 10 to 12 feet over ten years.
It needs full to partial sun and regular watering, especially in places that are very hot or dry. Other than this, it is easy to take care of. The spruce is deer-resistant and attractive to birds for roosting and nesting. Its eventual height makes it a good windscreen or a privacy screen, and it makes an excellent plant for a woodland garden. Since the tree is an evergreen, it brings interest to a winter garden and looks especially pretty covered in snow.