Picea abies 'Little Gem' / Little Gem Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Little Gem' is a deservedly popular and desirable dwarf conifer. It makes for a superb rock garden subject. This diminutive Norway spruce grows as a flattened globe with short, dense, slightly twisted, layered branches that hold finely textured, short, medium-green needles that grow crowded along the stem.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 1 foot (30 cm) high and 18 inches (45 cm) across, an annual growth rate of 1 inch (2.5 cm) or less.

[Iseli Nursery. Boring, Oregon] 'Little Gem' as a "nest-type spruce" with tiny needles and a very dense habit. "This miniature version of Picea abies 'Nidiformis' is simply a wonderful plant."
[Bob Fincham, ACS founder and owner of Coenosium Gardens] hot summer days can burn holes in larger plants. I have also seen this on potted nursery plants of all sizes during their early years of establishment in a nursery bed. To prevent this from happening, a location with some shade during the mid-day is beneficial. The plant is propagated by grafts for higher standards as well as by cuttings for lower plants.

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom that developed in the late 1950s on a specimen of Picea abies 'Nidiformis', the bird's nest spruce, which itself was a witch's broom that had been found on a Norway spruce. F.J. Grootendorst and Sons Nursery of Boskoop the Netherlands is credited with the broom's discovery, nomination and introduction to the nursery trade.

Picea abies 'Little Gem' — a ten year old plant. It takes snow with no damage; a great plant.
Photo by Don Levesque
Picea abies 'Little Gem' — nest type with tiny needles and a very dense habit. This miniature version of `Nidiformis' is simply a wonderful plant.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.
Picea abies 'Little Gem' in the Harper Collection of Dwarf and Rare Conifers at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan, August 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Picea abies 'Little Gem' — a young plant in a private garden in New Jersey.
Photo by Alex Ruchelman

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