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Western White Spruce Picea laxa

Previously known as:

  • Picea glauca
Phonetic Spelling
PY-see-uh LAKS-uh
Description

An evergreen conifer having a broad, dense pyramidal form when young, becoming narrow, compact and symmetrical with ascending branches with age.  It grows in cool climates, cannot tolerate hot, humid summers.  Air circulation is important to rid the dense foliage of excess moisture.  Its needles have been described as 'skunky' or smelling similar to cat urine when crushed.

Its seed cones are pendulous, slender and cylindrical.  They have thin, flexible scales with a smoothly rounded margin.  Green or reddish, they turn brown 4 to 8 months after pollination.

There are no serious insect or disease issues.  It is sometimes effected by needle and stem rust, canker, trunk and root rot.  Insects that can have an effect include yellow-headed spruce sawfly, spruce budworm, and eastern spruce beetle.  Multiple infestations of mites, which is common, can seriously injure the plant.  Does not perform well in an area affected by pollution or salt spray but it is one of the most tolerant spruces for wind, heat, cold, drought, and crowding. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Wonder'
  • 'Coerulea'
    Short blue-green needles, narrow form.
  • 'Conica' Picea glauca 'Conica'
    Broad conical form with light green needles.
  • 'Densata'
    Slower growing, have denser, darker green foliage.
  • 'Echiniformis'
    Low, bun-shaped, slow-growing, suitable for rock gardens
  • 'Jean's Dilly'
    Similar to 'Conica', considered superior for it slower-growth rate and shorter needles that emerge with an unusual twist.
  • 'Pendula'
    Weeping plant with stiff handing branches gray-green needles
  • 'Pixie'
    Similiar to 'Conica' with a more compact and dense form
  • 'Rainbow's End'
    Similair to 'Cornica' with early summer growth emerging a creamy yellow. Old growth is light green. Appearance is variegated.
  • 'Sander's Blue'
'Blue Wonder', 'Coerulea', 'Conica', 'Densata', 'Echiniformis', 'Jean's Dilly', 'Pendula', 'Pixie', 'Rainbow's End', 'Sander's Blue'
Tags:
#evergreen#hardy#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#acidic soil#conifer#cover plant#winter interest#playground#wind tolerant#deer resistant#children's garden#native garden#cold tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Wonder'
  • 'Coerulea'
    Short blue-green needles, narrow form.
  • 'Conica' Picea glauca 'Conica'
    Broad conical form with light green needles.
  • 'Densata'
    Slower growing, have denser, darker green foliage.
  • 'Echiniformis'
    Low, bun-shaped, slow-growing, suitable for rock gardens
  • 'Jean's Dilly'
    Similar to 'Conica', considered superior for it slower-growth rate and shorter needles that emerge with an unusual twist.
  • 'Pendula'
    Weeping plant with stiff handing branches gray-green needles
  • 'Pixie'
    Similiar to 'Conica' with a more compact and dense form
  • 'Rainbow's End'
    Similair to 'Cornica' with early summer growth emerging a creamy yellow. Old growth is light green. Appearance is variegated.
  • 'Sander's Blue'
'Blue Wonder', 'Coerulea', 'Conica', 'Densata', 'Echiniformis', 'Jean's Dilly', 'Pendula', 'Pixie', 'Rainbow's End', 'Sander's Blue'
Tags:
#evergreen#hardy#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#acidic soil#conifer#cover plant#winter interest#playground#wind tolerant#deer resistant#children's garden#native garden#cold tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Picea
    Species:
    laxa
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This wood is used to build house logs, musical instruments, and paddles. In addition, it is often used in construction as pulpwood and lumber.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Leaf Cutting
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada, northern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Deer, rabbits and grouse browse the foliage in winter
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Pieces Used in Games
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-2.5" cones that are green in youth and pale brown when mature
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    4-sided pale green to glaucous green needles. Blue-green above with several thin lines of stomata and Blue-white below with two broad bands of stomata.
  • Bark:
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    Thin and scaly, flaking off in small circular plates 2 to 4" across
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Wind