Picea glauca'Pendula' is a graceful, narrow-upright selection of white spruce with a strong central leader and steely blue foliage on stiff, strictly pendulous branches that cascade down the trunk and flare out slightly at the tips. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 10 feet (3 m) tall and 3 feet (1 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 1 foot (30 cm).
This cultivar originated as a spontaneous weeping mutation found in the 1860s in Trianon Park, Versailles, France. French botanist, Élie-Abel Carrière formally described it in botanical literature in 1867 in Traité Général des Conifères. In the Latin language "pendula" translates into "weeping or pendulous."
Picea glauca 'Pendula' — a fairly young plant at Porterhowse Farms, Sandy, Oregon, USA.
Photo by Stephen Grubb
Picea glauca 'Pendula' — photo record donated by Richard and Susan Eyre.
Photo by Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
Picea glauca 'Pendula' in the Heartland Collection of Dwarf and Rare Conifers, Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Clinton, Iowa. This plant was 8 years of age when this photo was taken in spring, 2003.
Photo by Chub Harper
Weeping white spruce photographed in the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children's Garden of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, Maine, 2013
Photo by Sean Callahan
Picea glauca 'Pendula' — closeup of foliage detail; photographed in the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children's Garden of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, Maine, 2013.
Photo by Sean Callahan
I have a question. I was told that it was a slow grower and that you could trim the leader back. How much can I trim back and when can I trim it?
Hi Linda ... you were told wrong. I've seen this one put on a foot or more of growth every year. Typical mature specimens measure upwards of 20 feet tall. Pruning spruces is an art form in itself. It's very difficult to do and rarely comes out right. Honestly most people don't even try to do it. I especially recommend not messing with the leader.
I recently planted a tree that was tagged weeping white spruce, however I was told it was a Weeping Norway Spruce. Upon some research I see they are quite different. On the tree I have the top (I think its the leader) is hunched over and not growing upright. Is this ok, should I be doing anything to help it along or straighten it?
Hello Lisa. You are correct in the Picea glauca 'Pendula' and Picea abies f. pendula grow with very different structure. It sound like you plant is knuckled over. That leader will eventually reach the ground and start rambling around. At this point in the season, the new growth has likely hardened off to the point that, if you try to straighten it, it'll break.
The best you can hope for is to stake up a weaker branch which may or may never achieve apical dominance. Also be aware the weeping Norway spruce will only grow to the top of its highest stake, then knuckle over once again.
I have a Weeping White Spruce that I think has reached maturity because even the leader is now weeping. My question: Can I remove the fence I've had around it for protection from deer? or will the deer graze the lower branches destroying the characteristic look? Thank you.
Landscaper just planted a 5'-7' weeping white spruce, and the leader is bent and the whole tree is very dusty (when you brush up against the tree). Is this a problem with how the tree was stored? Do we need to try to stake the leader to help it straighten up?
I have a Picea glauca Pendula that I planted 2 years ago when it was 10 ft. tall. Soon after planting some critter nibbled the bottom branches. The rest of the tree has lovely spring green new growth, but these bottom branches remain naked. Is there anything I can do to encourage growth at the bottom. The bottom 15 inches of the trunk is bare.
probably rabbits. There are millions are skirtless spruces out there because of them. Your tree will never grow from the bottom. Trees simply don't grow that way. All growth happens from the tips of the live branches.
Here's what you can do: carefully cage the bottom couple of feet of the tree. Eventually the weeping branch tips will reach the ground yet again.
I planted a weeping white spruce last year with a beautiful leader. This year is full of thick green cones and the top is flat with not leader it disappeared!! just four branches flowing down full of cones. What’s going to happen should I pick a leader from the four branches flowing down or should I leave it and let the time decide. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?
Conifers often produce tons of cones when they feel that their life is in danger and do this in an attempt to pass on its DNA before its demise. It's often a reaction to transplanting. More times than not, it takes 5 years or more to establish a new conifer, especially if it's fairly large (and B&B) to begin with ... lots of cut roots.
How tall is the plant? Lead buds get damaged all the time. If you select and tie up a secondary shoot in hopes of creating a new leader, the plant will decide that it didn't like your decision and choose a different one. So, I never do anything and they always figure it out on their own. It's in the plant's nature.
Hi Charlene, a 2-year-old plant will be around 7 to 10 inches tall, basically the youngest plant that a reputable nursery would consider selling. If I were to buy one so small, I'd grow it out in a pot for a few years until it's strong enough to plant out.
I have a Picea glauca 'Pendula' that I planted in May, 2008 (it was probably about 4 to 5 feet tall at planting). Its now about 30 feet tall. Yesterday I noticed many brown needles had fallen off to the ground. Upon further inspection much of the underside of some limbs are turning brown and the needles shake off easily. I haven't ever noticed this in years past. I live in the southeastern part of lower Michigan. Is some sort of disease setting in?
Hi Rw ... seasonal shedding of internal needles and baring of old branchlets is normal for all spruce. However, if it seems extreme to you, it's possible that you've got a case of needlecast going on. Your county extension could confirm.
Hi Dave, I’ve been all over the internet and can’t seem to find much information on how the weeping white spruce is cultivated. Do you have any information? Such as grown from cone seed, cuttings with root hormone, grafting?
Like any woody plant, it doesn't stop growing for many decades of not centuries. All that's necessary is to do the math: 10 feet tall after 10 years, 20 feet tall after 20 years, 100 feet tall after 100 years ... They don't stop.
I have 4 Picea glauca 'Pendula' trees now about 13-years old; doing great. I had to travel to Oregon from Idaho to pick these up from a wholesaler as #10 7-8 year old trees. I've tried each year to propagate these with rooting powder in a sandy loam with absolutely no luck. Would you have any tips for me as I would love about 4 more of these on my property but not excited about another 13 hour drive.
Hi Bret ... these are 100% propagated through grafting. Rooting cuttings are exponentially difficult and not worth the effort.
Luckily for you, this is one of the most popular and easy-to-find conifers in the nursery trade. Any garden center worth shopping at should either have them or would be willing and able to special order them for you.
If you don't want to do that, probably every nursery that does mail-order will probably have them.
I would like to plant a weeping white spruce near the corner of my house, but was not sure if it is a good idea. How close can these safely be placed near the foundation without causing issues from the roots?
I had planted a fairly large weeping white spruce summer of 2018, about 10-12 feet tall. The trees main leader came from the nursery cut, which seemed odd to me. It had established a new leader, that was also cut (prior to me receiving the tree). My guess is the nursery was practicing some artistic pruning of some kind.
The tree hasn't done as well as I'd hoped since being planted. Last summer I removed the supports, it hasn't toppled over, but about 30% of the tree has gone brown and dropped needles. Lots of bare patches, minimal growth up top without any indication of a new leader forming. I really like this tree and am hoping it pulls through whatever is stressing it. There does seem to be some fresh growth on it this spring, although no foot of growth i see talked about here.
The tree is in the front yard in partial shade, the house shades it mid day, mornings and evenings its full sun. There are some huge oaks that have some branches high above it.
1. planting a huge tree like that in summer is extremely risky ... only about a 25% chance of it working at all. Even under the best of conditions, it'll take five years before it gets going.
2. If it was B&B, did you remove the burlap and binding that holds it all together? Did you plant level with the top of the ball, or did you try to find the root flare and plant so the root ball was level with soil surface?
3. If it was potted, do you unwind the roots, expose the root flare, ensure that it's not planted too deeply.
4. did you water only when needed (dry 2 inches below the surface)? Too much water before roots establish leads to rot.
5. you didn't say where are you trying to grow it. This species doesn't work in the southeast and struggles in the west.
6. Did you add any sort of product to the planting area? Unless a soil test indicates a deficiency, never add anything to the soil; it could shock the plant.
Our tree was tagged and planted as a Weepjng white spruce, which we wanted. However the leader seems hunched over and now we're not sure if we should stake it or if it will restraighten. The landscaper that put it in informed us to let it go but we're worried that if we do, and not stake and establish a leader, it will never correct itself. I would love to send a picture for some advice.
Natalie, this cultivar (if properly labeled) is dependably apically dominant. If the lead shoot has knuckled over, there's little you can do to fix it. If you try to stake a shoot that has matured and hardened off, it will break. Odds are quite high that it will form a new, vertical leader.
Fell in Love with the look of this weeping tree. I am interested in using it in a 15 to 25-yard area that will serve as a privacy fence (trees) from the neighbors house, and would like to use this tree as the focal point... any suggestions of other evergreens/ that would compliment but not over power this tree. Thank you.