In the words of legendary plantsman and ACS founder, Bob Fincham, Picea abies ‘Gold Drift’ is “unlike anything currently available anywhere.” This selection is a golden version of Picea abies ‘Reflexa’ in that, typical of that cultivar, ‘Gold Drift’ is a strict-weeping, fast growing spruce that will grow skyward if staked while young or will ramble if left on on the ground. After 10 years, a mature specimen will be 12 – 15 feet (4 – 5 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide (if staked), suggesting an annual rate of growth of 12 inches (30 cm) or more.
This cultivar originated as a golden sport on a specimen of P. abies ‘Inversa’ found by Bob Fincham in 1990 at Coenosium Gardens, his personal arboretum and former nursery in Eatonville, Washington. Experience has proven that this plant is not ideal for all parts of the country. For example in the southeastern U.S. the sunlight lacks the intensity to bring out proper color. In the western states, on the other hand, the intensity of the sun gives it a propensity to burn when young, a tendency that decreases with age. ‘Gold Drift’ was one of three plants selected in 2013 for the ACS Collectors Conifer of the Year program.