Picea abies, commonly called Norway spruce, is a large pyramidal evergreen conifer that is native to the mountains of northern and central Europe east to the Urals. It is the classic Christmas tree. In its native European habitat, it typically matures to 100-150' (occasionally to 200') tall. It has been widely planted in cool and temperate regions of North American where it typically matures to a much shorter 40-60' (less frequently to 100') tall. It is noted for its rapid growth. Primary branches are slightly upturned but secondary branches become pendulous as the tree matures. Branches are clad with spirally-arranged, four-sided, needle-like, deep green leaves which are attached at their bases to tiny pegs. Cylindrical seed bearing cones (to 9" long) are pendulous. In excess of 150 cultivars (mostly dwarf) have been named over the years.
Easily grown in average, acidic, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in rich sandy soils. Prefers cool summer climates. Established plants have some tolerance for dryish soils. Evergreen tree for large lawns, parks or woodland areas. Effective screen or windbreak in cold northern climates. Hardiness zones 2-7
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Put the mixture in a ziplock bag.
- Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 4 weeks.
- The seeds like rich, moist soil. Sow the seeds in containers with a good quality potting soil or compost.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil about a couple of millimeters thick.
- Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. The seeds will begin to germinate in 10-14 days.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.