How to Grow Picea - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Picea is a plant that is native to the mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere. It is a coniferous tree that can grow to be over 100 feet tall. The leaves of the picea tree are needle-like and the tree has cones that contain the tree's seeds. The wood of the picea tree is strong and is often used for construction purposes.

How to Grow Picea - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • Picea sitchensis (Sitzman spruce, western Sitka spruce, tideland Sitka spruce, Sitka spruce)
  • Picea mariana (black spruce, swamp spruce, frazer spruce, mugo spruce)
  • Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce, white spruce, Canadian spruce, silver spruce)
  • Picea rubens (red spruce, Eastern spruce, hemlock spruce, rusty spruce)
  • Picea glauca (white spruce, Rocky Mountain spruce, Alberta spruce, subalpine spruce)

Basic info

  • Picea, also known as spruce, is a genus of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Pinaceae.
  • The genus is distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest diversity in the boreal forests of Canada and Russia.
  • Picea species are large trees, typically 30–60 m tall, with a conical to narrowly conical crown.
  • The leaves are needle-like, arranged singly or in pairs, and are 1–2 cm long in most species, but up to 5 cm long in P. sitchenensis and P. engelmannii.
  • The cones are typically 4–12 cm long, with thin, scales that are arranged in pairs.
  • Picea is closely related to the genus Abies, and some species (e.g. P. sitchensis and P. engelmannii) have been included in that genus in the past.
  • Picea species are used as ornamental trees, and as Christmas trees. They are also an important source of timber and paper products.
  • Some of the most commercially important spruce species are: P. sitchensis (Sitka spruce), P. abies (Norway spruce), P. glauca (white spruce), and P. engelmannii (Engelmann spruce).
  • Picea mariana (black spruce) is the provincial tree of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The name "spruce" is of uncertain origin, but is thought to derive from the Old English word sprysa, meaning "to prick", referring to the sharp needles of the tree.

How to Grow

  1. For picea, first step is to start from a seed. You need a seed-starting mix and a two-inch pot.
  2. Fill the pot with the mix and water it until it is moist.
  3. Place the seed on the surface of the mix and lightly press it in.
  4. Cover the pot with a clear lid or plastic wrap.
  5. Put the pot in a warm place, such as on top of a radiator or near a sunny window.
  6. Keep the mix moist but not soggy.
  7. In about two weeks, the seed will germinate and a tiny sprout will appear.
  8. When the sprout is about four inches tall, transplant it into a larger pot.
  9. Put the pot in a sunny spot and water it regularly.
  10. In time, your picea will grow into a healthy plant.

Related plant:
Picea Abies

Soil Requirement

About soil condition, it is good to know that picea like well-drained soils with a least 30% organic matter. They are deep-rooted and prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Picea mariana is especially tolerant of very wet soils and will even grow in sites that are seasonally flooded.

About light

So, like the other coniferous trees, spruce Trees require full sun to grow properly. This means that they need at least six hours of sunlight each day in order to thrive. If they do not get enough sun, they will not grow as quickly or as strongly as they should. Additionally, their needles will not be as green and they may even start to turn brown.

The Temperature

The temperature condition focus is on the impacts of temperature change on (picea). The focus is on how temperature change will impact the growth and development of (picea), as well as the potential for temperature change to impact the range and distribution of (picea). The focus is also on the potential for temperature change to impact the water needs of (picea).

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 40%-50%. The plant cannot tolerate too much or too little humidity. If the humidity is too low, the plant will become dry and brittle. If the humidity is too high, the plant will become soggy and start to rot.

The Fertilizer

Mentioning fertilizer, this kind of plant needs little if any. A general purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer can be used when necessary, but be sure to read the directions for application rates. Excess fertilizer will cause the roots to burn.

About light

Pruning is a process of cutting away dead or overgrown branches from a plant. This helps to encourage new growth and keep the plant healthy. It is important to prune picea trees in early spring before new growth begins. This will allow the tree to heal quickly and prevent new growth from being damaged.

About Propagating

Propagation is the process of creating new plants from a parent plant. There are many ways to propagate plants, but the most common method is through cuttings. Cuttings are pieces of the parent plant that are cut off and then planted. The cutting will then grow into a new plant that is identical to the parent plant. Other methods of propagation include division, layering, and grafting. Division is a method of propagation that is often used for perennials. To divide a plant, the root ball is divided into several pieces and each piece is planted in its own pot. Layering is a method of propagation that involves rooting a stem while it is still attached to the parent plant. Once the stem has rooted, it is cut off from the parent plant and planted in its own pot. Grafting is a method of propagation that is often used for fruit trees. To graft a plant, a piece of the parent plant is grafted onto the rootstock of another plant.

Plant Growth

Usually, the plant growth rate studies have been done on young trees in nursery conditions. The average growth rate for picea species is between 1 and 2 feet per year, but can vary widely between species and individual trees.apicea omorika has been recorded at 5 feet per year while p. sitchensis growth rates have been as low as 0.3 feet per year. It is difficult to predict growth rates for old trees in the wild.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are root rot, needle cast, and canker. Root rot is caused by a fungus that attacks the roots and can kill the tree. Needle cast is a fungus that attacks the needles and can cause them to fall off. Canker is a disease that attacks the bark and can kill the tree.

Growing Tips

  • Remember to keep the young sapling well-watered, especially during its first growing season.
  • Place your tree in an area that receives full sun for optimal growth.
  • Picea trees prefer acidic soils, so make sure to test your soil before planting and amend accordingly.
  • Fertilize regularly using an organic fertilizer formulated for evergreens.
  • Protect your tree from winter damage by covering it with burlap or wrapping it in commercial tree wraps.
  • Prune annually to shape and encourage new growth.
  • Be on the lookout for pests and diseases, and treat accordingly if needed.
  • Avoid excessive soil compaction around the roots of your tree.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Enjoy your beautiful picea tree for many years to come!

Alternative Plants

  • Spruce
  • Firs
  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Larch
  • Spruce
  • Hemlock
  • Juniper
  • Cypress

Picea - NC State University
Picea - Genus Page - NYFA: New York Flora Atlas
Picea abies - Ohio State University

Richelle Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Trees Category