Picea pungens 'Fat Albert' / Fat Albert Colorado blue spruce

Picea pungens 'Fat Albert' is quite common and very popular in the nursery trade. It is a vigorous, densely compact, broadly pyramidal selection of Colorado spruce with nice, bright-blue needles. A mature specimen will measure 10 to 15 feet (3 - 5m) tall and two-thirds as wide after 10 years in the landscape, an annual growth rate of about 1 foot (30 cm). It naturally forms a leader; no staking is required for young plants.

This cultivar originated as seedling personally selected in 1981 by Jean Iseli of Iseli nursery, Boring, Oregon and whimsically named by Don Howse, a longtime friend of the nursery and self-proclaimed "plant addict." Don named this conifer after a cartoon character made famous by Bill Cosby. It is part of Iseli nursery's "Signature Series."

Specimen in arboretum. Photo taken at Hidden Lakes Gardens, Tipton, Michigan.
Photo by Chub Harper
Picea pungens 'Fat Albert' — at The Gotelli Conifer Collection, US National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
Photo by Dax Herbst


Pearl Youth

I seek evergreen like this to grow up to 20 ft in my home yard at central Florida I live by 30 min drive NE of Tampa. I don’t want dwarf tree. Prefer regular type that I trim the top after it reaches more than 20 ft tall to shade my home. I hate to rake leaves. I saw evergreen tree with blue needles at its end pints of twigs in my neighbor’s yard 3 blocks away from my home, wanting the same kind and knowing that it must be blue spruce.

Maxwell Cohn

Colorado spruce will not live for more than a couple of years in Florida. It absolutely must have a semi-arid climate to survive long term. In areas that face high humidity, they all face an early demise from fungal plagues.

The blue color is an adaptation to extreme cold in winter. If it doesn't get significantly below freezing, the blue won't be vibrant. This conifer is definitely the wrong plant for your current location.