Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' / Blue China fir

Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' is a large, tree-form of China fir which was selected for its pleasant powder-Blue foliage and better winter hardiness than the typical species. Its growth habit is similar to the species, only somewhat more compact and bushy. Depending on the nature of the cuttings taken for propagation, a young tree may take many years to develop a strong central leader. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 4 to 16 inches (10 - 40 cm) per year, resulting in a tree or broad shrub 3 to 12 feet (1 - 4 m) after 10 years in the landscape.

Many conifer gardeners purposely cut the entire plant to the ground on a periodic basis to encourage the lush bushy form of younger plants. This practice of coppicing is a good option in areas where winter hardiness or other growing conditions are marginal for good tree growth.

This is a very old cultivar that has been in the nursery trade since the 1850s. It should also be noted that more than one clone is in circulation, so assertions as to hardiness must be viewed with skepticism.

Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' at the New York Botanic Garden where one can see many large specimens.
Photo by John Fertig
Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' — a photo of a specimen in The Gotelli Conifer Collection of the US National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., May 2006.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' with a sprig of Juniper to provide contrast. The Gotelli Collection; Washington, D.C. May 2006.
Photo by Dax Herbst
A Blue China Fir photographed in The Oregon Garden, Silverton, Oregon, during the 2011 ACS National Meeting.
Photo by Sean Callahan
Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' at Cox Arboretum, Canton, Georgia — a nice closeup of foliage.
Photo by Tom Cox

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