Review of the best species and ornamental varieties of spruce for growing in the garden

Spruce is the “queen” of the forest, leading the popularity rating among masters of landscape art. This sacred tree, acting as a guardian of the site and a powerful source of bioenergy, is valued not only for its unique healing properties, but also for its extraordinary decorative effect. Needle foliage of emerald, dark green and even blue shades can transform plant compositions, giving a unique zest to the landscape design of the site.

Spruce applications in landscape design

Rarely can anyone remain indifferent to the luxury of color and the frozen beauty of the conifers’ needles. It is not surprising that spruce is used quite often in landscaping a site. It looks great as container plantings to frame garden paths and when decorating rocky gardens.

Ephedra is ideal for creating multi-level compositions, harmoniously combined with low-growing shrubs and beautifully flowering perennials

Trees with needle-like foliage of a rich green hue look interesting in combination with bright flowers of annual and perennial plants. Perfect for creating compositions: Japanese anemones, pansies, aquilegia, phlox and hosts. Conifers are the ideal basis for creating evergreen sculptures that can make the garden look richer and more colorful.

Among the main advantages of using spruce in the design of the site, it is worth highlighting:

  1. The ephedra will delight with the saturation of the shades of needle-like greenery in the summer, without fading under the sun’s rays, and in the winter, contrasting with the whiteness of the snow.
  2. The phytoncides secreted by the plant are able to efficiently purify the air, providing a healing effect on the human body.
  3. Spruce is great for any style of landscaping.
  4. Fluffy branches are convenient to use when making crafts: creating paintings, herbariums, New Year’s compositions.

But spruce, like any other plant, has its drawbacks. For example, this ephedra is able to grow strongly, darkening the territory and depleting the soil. Therefore, for the decoration of gardens, types of spruces are used that have a dwarf shape.

Spruce is also convenient because it is easy to prune. Thanks to this, even an experienced gardener does not have any problems with giving the crown a unique shape.

It is advisable to plant spruce along the fence. In a short period of time, the ephedra grows lush forms, and its thick paws form a solid and dense wall.

Varietal variety of decorative forms

There are more than 20 types of spruce in modern parks and gardens. The main thing when choosing the type of ephedra is the configuration of its crown and the size of the plant in adulthood.

In landscape design, 3 types of spruce are most common:

  1. Ordinary – a typical species represented by more than 50 garden forms. Low-growing forms created on its basis reach a height of 1,2 m, and medium-sized ones – 3 or more meters. A wide palette of needles coloring, starting from golden and ending with rich green, on branches collected in pyramidal or pillow-shaped crowns, makes this type of conifers welcome guests on garden plots.
  2. Prickly – more than 70 varieties are represented in the culture. Most of them are medium and tall trees up to 40 meters high with a beautiful cone-shaped crown. Although there are also dwarf forms up to 2 m high. The needles are very prickly: hence the name of the species. It can be bluish white, steel blue, silver, and bluish green.
  3. Sizaya – has more than 20 decorative forms. The species got its name due to the ash-gray color of the bark and the bluish shade of the needles. Dwarf forms of this species have a spherical and nest-shaped crown, and tall ones have a conical crown. The color palette of needles is quite wide, starting from yellowish-golden and gray-blue and ending with bright green.

Ate, like any plants, are divided into three groups: dwarf, medium and tall. When landscaping household plots, dwarf and medium-sized representatives of conifers are most popular.

Among the variety of coniferous ornamental plants in landscape design, creeping and dwarf varieties are especially popular.

Dwarf varieties

The stunted forms include plants, the size of which in adulthood is several times smaller in comparison with the original parent species. For example, in natural conditions, the common spruce, referred to as Picea abies, is a 50-meter beauty with a neatly shaped crown, the width of which reaches 8-10 meters.

The decorative form of this tall ephedra, known as Picea abies “Nidiformis” or “pillow-shaped” spruce, reaches no more than two meters in height with a crown width of 2-3 meters.

The main advantage of dwarf forms of conifers is the minimum annual growth of young shoots, which in most cases is limited to 10-15 cm

Among modern varieties created on the basis of ordinary spruce, conifers are famous for the greatest decorativeness, the crowns of which have a nest-like or spherical shape.

The miniature shrub Picea abies “Nidiformis” is perfect for the formation of low borders and the design of rocky gardens.

Dwarf spruce “Nidiformis” in adulthood reaches a height of only 40 cm, forming a spreading crown with a diameter of up to one meter

The thin graceful shoots of “Nidiformis” arranged in a fan-like manner are decorated with soft and short needles of a delicate emerald shade.

Little Gemm is no less attractive. The shoots extending from the middle of the crown, framed by dark green thin needles, form a neat hemispherical “pillow”. It looks especially interesting in the form of a standard form, planted in a floor container or flowerpot.

The branches of the miniature beauty Picea abies “Little Gem” are surrounded by soft short needles of a rich dark green shade.

Picea abies “Will’s Zwerg” has a beautiful narrow conical dense crown shape. The plant is interesting due to the soft green shade of young needles covering the milk shoots, which contrasts favorably against the background of the dark green of old needles. An evergreen shrub is well suited for small backyard gardens.

Spruce “Will’s Zwerg” looks interesting in group compositions and as a tapeworm when arranging gardens with a small area

Glauka Globoza bred by breeding is famous for its extraordinary decorativeness. The dwarf plant does not have a clearly defined trunk. Its spreading branches, dotted with millions of fine needles in an elegant silver-blue hue, form a beautiful spherical crown. The cones that form on the branches, reminiscent of New Year’s decorations, give the tree a special appeal.

The blue beauty “Glauca Globosa” is often used to decorate city landscapes, often acting as an elegant addition to park alleys

It is impossible to ignore the picturesquely creeping undersized varieties on the ground. The miniature “Nana” resembles a soft pillow, and “Echiniformis” is identified with a kolobok, the round shapes of which are the original framing of garden paths.

Most types of spruce are shade-tolerant in themselves, but often their dwarf forms are very sensitive to a lack of light.

Medium-sized species

When creating a backyard design, it is also customary to use medium-sized conifers, the height of which reaches no more than 15 m. A low single tree with a clearly outlined crown looks picturesque against the background of a lawn “carpet” or walls of a house. A spectacular driftwood or white stone will help to complement the picture.

You can learn more about how to choose grass for planting a lawn from the material:

Spruce trees with spreading crowns are able to create a shady area for relaxation, filled with a special atmosphere of home comfort and unity with wildlife

Blue spruce is one of the most popular types of ephedra, revered by designers not only for its simplicity in care, but also for the mesmerizing change in shades of needle-like foliage throughout the year. Only 20% of the representatives of this species have a pronounced color of the sky, the rest are rich in green and gray tones.

Blue beauties are not able to withstand temperature fluctuations in the northern regions and feel comfortable only in temperate latitudes. Spruce with blue needles looks advantageous along the garden paths, against the background of wooden buildings or stone buildings.

You can learn how to grow a blue spruce from the material:

A bright representative of this species is Picea pungens “Blue Diamond”, which means “blue diamond”.

The graceful beauty “Blue Diamonds” with a tall, thin trunk and a neatly formed conical crown is often used for mixed mixborders.

Weeping types of firs will help to diversify the collection. Given their aspiration to the aquatic environment, ephedra can be safely used when decorating the banks of reservoirs.

Full-size weeping spruce trees reach a height of 10-15 meters and a width of 2-3 meters. Thin branches, hanging down, bend around the curved trunk of the plant, giving it a weeping shape.

Serbian spruce “Glauka Pendula” with flexible thin shoots hanging along the trunk is a win-win option when implementing non-standard solutions in garden compositions

The Canadian spruce is more adapted for our climate. Konika is famous for its frost resistance and unpretentious care. It is interesting for landscape design in that it has a decorative conical crown shape, gives a small increase in a year and fits harmoniously into the design of even very small areas.

“Piccolo” – a bright, elegant variety with emerald green needles, shimmering in the sunlight with a light bluish tint, looks spectacular in group plantings

Against the background of monochromatic green “sisters”, Picea pungens “Maigold” stands out, adding to the collection of varietal beauties in 1988. It will look great as a tapeworm.

Young shoots sparkling in the sun’s rays make the coniferous beauty “Maygold” look like a queen wrapped in a golden robe

The crown of the tree, reaching a height of 6 m, has a loose pyramidal shape. After a few weeks, the creamy yellow needles on young shoots gradually change their color, acquiring an equally attractive bluish-green hue.

Combinations of ephedra

If the area of ​​the site allows, then to create a picturesque and original picture, it is better to use spruce of different types and varieties.

The material on coniferous compositions in garden landscape design will also be useful:

Tall trees fit well into any landscape as tapeworms, more compact forms of conifers can be safely combined with other plantings

In order for the conceived composition to turn out to be harmonious and attractive, masters of landscape art advise taking into account a number of main points:

  • The composition should not be too colorful. For a group of three conifers, use two colors. When composing a composition of five evergreens, use only three colors.
  • When composing a multi-level composition, including 20-30 plantings, place the elements in groups, matching them by color.
  • The fir-tree and shrub ensemble requires competent placement of accents: undersized plants occupy the foreground, medium-sized conifers occupy the back.
  • To avoid the feeling of the density of Christmas tree plantings, arranging a regular or Moorish lawn in the near-trunk area of ​​conifers will help.

Luscious needles of a dark shade will emphasize the beauty of the flowering shrub located nearby. In addition to flowering plants, shrubs with unusually colored foliage will be a successful addition to the coniferous beauty: weigela, chubushnik, barberry.

Ate is perfectly combined with other coniferous varieties and flowering perennials, creating a picturesque picture that looks elegant at any time of the year.

Spruce care recommendations

Proper planting and care is a guarantee that coniferous beauties will delight with their presentable appearance almost all year round.

Wanting to decorate your site with one or more spruce trees, experienced gardeners advise you to adhere to certain rules:

  1. Landing time. It is better to plant ephedra in early spring or early autumn, when the plant has not yet entered or has already passed the phase of vigorous growth. To keep young shoots from frost and rodents, it is advisable to mulch the near-trunk zone with peat for the winter.
  2. Placement Under natural conditions, the spruce grows well near the river valley, where it receives a sufficient amount of moisture to feed its powerful root system. But at the same time, she does not like wetlands, and therefore needs a drainage arrangement.
  3. The composition of the soil. All types of firs love fertile alkaline and acidic soil. They are intolerant to heavy soil types. When planting ephedra in depleted soil, the planting pit should first be enriched by adding 100 g of complex mineral fertilizer. With a lack of oxygen and nutrition, the plant may even die.

It should be borne in mind that spruce strongly affects the flowers and shrubs surrounding it, so it is better to place it at a short distance from sun-loving plants. You should not plant conifers close to each other, since with their branches they will restrict access to sunlight.

Observing these simple rules when selecting varieties and drawing up plant compositions, you can create a cozy and picturesque design on your site that will delight the eye throughout the year.

Anna Evans


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