Bird’s nest spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’) is a type of Norway spruce that grows to resemble a flattened sphere. The top of the plant has a slight depression, which gives the effect of a bird’s nest. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, the perfect size for a foundation planting or rock garden. Hardy in Zones 3-7.
Meet a spruce with a neat and tidy footprint. Columnar Norway spruce grows 8-10 inches per year, topping out at 20-30 feet. The mature spread is a modest 6-10 feet. It boasts a low maintenance personality and holds its shape well beneath heavy snow loads. Hardy in Zones 2 to 7. Botanical name: Picea abies ‘Cupressina’
Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) has a shape like a miniature Christmas tree. Bright green needles demand little care to look their best, and a slow growth rate makes this spruce a go-to evergreen for containers. Dwarf Alberta spruce grows just 2 to 4 inches a year. When shopping, buy a plant close to the size you want.
It’s not unusual to find dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) sold in various forms. In the nursery trade, this type of pruned spruce is known as a topiary spiral. Its unusual silhouette makes it a good choice for a focal point shrub in the landscape. When adding dwarf Alberta spruce to your yard, choose a spot with full to part sun and well-drained soil.
Perfect for small space gardens, ‘Little Gem’ Norway spruce adds a touch of elegance to any setting. It blends neatly into formal or informal designs and introduces a pop of year-round color. The greenery grows a tidy 18 inches tall and wide. The standard (upright) stem is 3 feet high. Hardy in Zones 3-8. Botanical name: Picea abies ‘Little Gem’
Evergreens provide excellent shelter for all kinds of wildlife, but Black Hills spruce is especially attractive to birds, who frequently build nests among the branches. Plant one for a specimen, or position several to create a windbreak. This spruce has a strong conical shape, grows slowly and is deer resistant. Hardy in Zones 2-8. Botanical name: Picea glauca ‘Densata’
A small size keeps the touchable branches of dwarf Norway spruce easily within reach. These plants form mounds 3-4 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide. Slow growing and deer resistant, this spruce is a favorite among birds. Use it in planting beds as an accent, or plant several to create an informal hedge. Hardy in Zones 2-8. Botanical name: Picea abies ‘Pumila’
One of the most common ways to use dwarf Alberta spruce in the landscape is to plant a pair flanking an entry, driveway or path. In this entry garden, two spruce frame the steps to the front porch, effectively calling attention to it. Clumps of pink spirea provide a pretty counterpoint to the steady green of this pair of porch-side spruces. In winter, dwarf Alberta spruce really shines, sounding a steady note of green through snows and winter cold. Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) is hardy in Zones 2 to 8.
Versatile and beautiful, the dwarf globe blue spruce is an eye-catcher in the landscape. The miniature tree features classic blue spruce needles on an upright stem. It’s a slow grower and eventually reaches 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but that size can take decades to achieve. Use this unusual tree in perennial beds, and underplant it with daylilies or catmint. Hardy in Zones 3-7. Botanical name: Picea Globe Blue Standard
When choosing dwarf Alberta spruce for pots, consider miniature varieties, like Tiny Tower (Picea glauca conica ‘MonRon’). This little cutie reaches a maximum height of 4 to 6 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. The slow growth rate means you can keep it tucked into containers for a few years. Tiny Tower has bright green leaves that shift to gray as they mature. It’s hardy in Zones 3 to 8. At Christmas, you’ll often see mini Christmas trees in pots. These are usually dwarf Alberta spruce and can be planted into the landscape after the holiday.