Of all the live Christmas trees available, the dwarf Alberta spruce is perhaps the most practical. It is a shrubby little tree with a big name, Picea glauca ‘Albertiana’ ‘Conica’. (‘Albertiana’ is typically omitted.) It is a dwarf cultivar of white spruce that grows very slowly. It takes many years to potentially get eight feet tall and half as wide at the base. Wild white spruce can grow a hundred feet tall.
The main disadvantage of the dwarf Alberta spruce as a live Christmas tree is the very dense foliage. It almost seems to be artificial. The small needles are only slightly bristly, and finely textured. Otherwise, dwarf Alberta spruce can remain potted as a Christmas tree for several years. It stays sufficiently compact to return to the home annually. It just does not want to be indoors for too long.
The strictly conical form of dwarf Alberta spruce is a distinctive feature in the garden. A pair of trees elegantly flanks a doorway or walkway. A row of evenly spaced trees instills formality to a linear border of bedding plants. Although they do not get too broad, they should have enough room to grow naturally. Pruning for confinement or clearance compromises their naturally symmetrical form.
2 thoughts on “Dwarf Alberta Spruce”
Maybe ok for a live Christmas tree, but I for one have never understood the appeal of dwarf conifers.
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You know, I could do without most dwarf conifers too. ‘Normal’ conifers are so much more . . . . normal, and prettier. However, as odd as they are, I do happen to like the dwarf Alberta spruce for their formality. I would not recommend them for others (although I can not say that in the gardening column), but I would like some in my own garden. I know they look silly, but that is sort of why I like about them.