A quirky shape and evergreen needles give this beloved Accent eye-appeal even during the bleakest winter days. Birdsnest Spruce really is shaped like a bird’s nest—low and spreading, complete with a dip in the middle. You may expect a hawk or an eagle to come flapping in for a landing at any moment! Its rich emerald-green foliage will please you all year, and in late spring the new growth, like little pastel pompoms, will make you smile. Use Birdsnest Spruce in wide foundation beds, or plant it in front of a grove of trees to provide contrast to the vertical trunks.
Birdsnest Spruce is a mini mutant form of the Norway Spruce Tree, a towering conifer that has been a source of winter greenery in northern Europe for ages. Norway Spruce is a staple in the U.S. as well because it is so easy to grow in much of the country. This shrubby, horizontal selection appeared by chance in a German nursery way back in 1903. Sometimes small, congested growths called “witch’s brooms” appear on conifers, which can be used to produce novel forms. That’s what happened in this case, and the unique Accent has been cherished ever since.
Leave the pruners in the shed! Birdsnest Spruce is a low-maintenance Accent that needs no trimming. It grows at a slow but steady pace, naturally assuming a dense, tidy shape.
How to Grow
Birdsnest Spruce is a cinch to grow in many areas of the country, although it does prefer cooler summers. Frigid temperatures are no problem—it can handle winter lows to at least -40ºF. Plant this rugged Accent in full sun or very light shade. A moist, well-drained situation is ideal, but the soil doesn’t have to be great. The important thing is that it doesn’t stay soggy. Give Birdsnest Spruce plenty of room to grow. It looks cute and petite at first, but it will spread out considerably after many years. Use annuals or other short-term plants around it while it fills in.
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