Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold' / Tom Thumb Gold Caucasian spruce

Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold' is a miniature to dwarf selection of Caucasian spruce that grows as a flattened disk when young, becoming a very flattened cone with age. This dense, bright-gold cushion grows at an extremely slow yearly rate of about 1 inch ( 2.5 cm), mostly outward. After 10 years in the garden, a well-managed specimen will be about 12 inches (30 cm) wide and 6 inches (15 cm) tall. 'Tom Thumb Gold' presents itself best in a location receiving a half day's sun exposure at the most, preferably in the morning. Given too much sun, the foliage tends to burn, too little and the plant turns green.

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom discovered in the 1980s by Joel W. Spingarn of Nyack, New York, on a garden specimen of Picea orientalis 'Skylands.' This plant is often seen in the nursery trade with the abbreviated cultivar name, 'Tom Thumb,' a commercial name initiated by the nursery industry apparently to save time and money on plant tags. This plant was one of two selections made in 2007 for the ACS Collectors Conifer of the Year program.

Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold,' a young plant at Porterhowse Farms, Sandy, Oregon, USA.
Photo by Stephen Grubb
Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold,' a nice specimen in garden setting. Photo taken in August 2004.
Photo by Bill Barger
Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold, ' a closeup of foliage. Note the golden tone.
Photo by Bill Barger
'Tom Thumb Gold' at Glacier's End Arboretum, Olympia, WA. Bob Fincham of Coenosium Gardens grafted this specimen onto a standard, a stunning presentation.
Photo by David Olszyk
Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold' in Maine, 2nd year since planting.
Photo by Wynne Keller
Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb Gold,' a magificent old specimen at the Jean Iseli memorial garden, Boring, Oregon.
Photo by David Olszyk

Comments

Wynne Keller

For me, this plant seems to want a bit of shade. I actually used shade cloth the first year as the foliage was burning. The second year, the cloth wasn't needed and the plant looks great. Gets about 5 hrs sun.