Picea glauca 'Conica' / dwarf Alberta spruce

Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica,' the ubiquitous dwarf Alberta spruce, is arguably the most commonly planted conifer in the nursery trade. It is a slow, conical growing plant with tight uniform branching holding light-green juvenile foliage. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 4 feet (1.3 m) tall and two-thirds as wide, an annual growth rate of around 4 inches (10 cm).

Alfred Rehder and J.G. Jack found the original plant in 1904, growing in the wild in the mountains above Lake Laggan, Alberta, Canada. Occasionally one sees plants tagged as Picea glauca 'Albertiana Conica' which is simply a case of sloppy nomenclature.

Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica' — a group planting. This photo was taken at Bickelhaupt Arboretum located in Clinton, Iowa in the Heartland Collection of Dwarf Conifers.
Photo by Dax Herbst


Charlotte Carnes

I am looking for a dwarf spruce tree that never grows taller than two or three ft tall .Is there a nursery where I could find one. I live in Douglasville ga. Thank you

Maxwell Cohn

sorry, such a conifer does not exist. They all grow at a predictable rate for many decades, if not centuries. The only conifer will grow to a certain height and stop is a dead one.

Bought Anticipate?

I bought two Picea glauca 'Conica' trees that were packaged for children to decorate. I live in zone 8. Will the trees thrive in my area if planted outside. What growth rate and height can I anticipate?

Maxwell Cohn

zone 8 can mean many different things. If you're in Zone 8 (Pacific NW), they'll struggle with the seasonal drought. If you're in Zone 8 (southeast), they'll do fine, but keep after the spider mites (they're susceptible).

Growth rate is 3 to 4 inches year every year for a very long time.


We purchased 11 of the same trees Bought Anticipate has in an attempt to rescue them from being thrown out after Christmas. We live in NE PA & have 57 acres, so plenty of room for them. We're zone 6. It's been a relatively warm December. I'd like to plant them right away if it'll be to their benefit to do so now rather than try to hold them over indoors til spring. Doubt they'd survive that. Any advice?

Maxwell Cohn

if you keep them indoors, they'll definitely die. These are in no way "house plants." If you can dig, you can try planting them, although it's not warm enough for the plants to grow roots until spring. If you have an outdoor location, sheltered from wind and extreme sun, to store them, that would probably be ideal until it gets closer to spring. Good luck!


I bought some of the small trees with kits for Christmas decorating that are the same (I’m thinking) as Bought Anticipate and Danielle reference above.
I repotted right after the holidays and they have a lot of beautiful soft green new growth in front of my full sun apartment sliding glass door.
I live in the grasslands of Central South Dakota. It’s mid January.
Sounds like growing inside long term is not an option.
Sounds like outside in nearby public fields is also not a real viable option for reasons mentioned in above comments.
They’re beautiful and I am a plant lover so I would love to not just throw them away.
Is there any other option these have at thriving long term here?
Beautiful little trees right now!

Tatiana Zenk

I have some insects on dwarf alberta spruce that I can't identify. The early symptoms are bent needles. The symptoms for now are white insects with white growing fur around them. I m assuming mealy bugs. May 27th, 2022, Grand rapids, michigan, 6 zone.