Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' / Papoose sitka spruce

Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' is a dense, multi-stemmed dwarf selection of Sitka spruce that will achieve a mature height of 4 to 6 feet (2.5 - 3 m) tall and wide after 10 years, growing as a tight globe, but with age may develop a leader and assume a more broadly conical shape. Annual growth is only 2 to 3 inches (5 - 7.5 cm). Its silver-highlighted needles are stiff and sharp. Like all Sitka spruces, it longs for the sea and does not do well more than 50 miles inland from the moderating salt air.

This cultivar originated on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, growing in the wild and found by Gordon Bentham in 1964. He later gave the plant to the Parks Department of the British Columbia's capital city of Victoria. It was later introduced to the nursery trade via William Goddard, Floravista Nursery, Victoria, BC, Canada. This cultivar is sometimes seen listed in the nursery trade as 'Trinket.'

Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' in the ACS Reference Garden, Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR.
Photo by Oregon State University
Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' in Albers Vista Garden, Bremerton, Washington. Photo from 2013 during the ACS Western Region conference.
Photo by Sean Callahan


Shon Lenzo

I am interested in the dwarf Sitka spruce .
Does it have significant roots?
Could it hold soil in place and stop erosion?

Maxwell Cohn

it's roots are no more "significant" than any other conifer. In Nature, this species likes a little more moisture around its roots, so if "erosion control" results in bone-dry soil, it probably 'Papoose' probably won't thrive.

Of course part of this depends on what kind of rootstock it's grafted on to.

Shon Lenzo

That is very helpful !
Could we continue this conversation by email ?
The area I am considering is coastal

Margaret McWilliams

How much can I prune this conifer? I have 3 and they have done very well here.

Maxwell Cohn

very few people prune spruces. They only grow once per year and it's really easy to mess it all up.

Dan Keeble

How well does this conifer take to becoming a bonsai? (UK based)

Gene McIntyre

We bought a Sitka Spruce "papoose" to plant in the front yard of our home in Salem, Oregon, located about 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean. It's been in the ground for 2 years and has grown hardly an inch during the time from planting it to present day. What can we do to get this little "papoose" to grow?

Dan and Bonita Spear

As Ron Elardo told me years ago… “The first year it sleeps. The second year it creeps. The third year it leaps”

Of course this is a slow growing dwarf, so leaping is relative. Enjoy it not outgrowing it’s space too soon.

Connie Watson

Can this spruce survive the hot sun of the Central Valley in CA