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Calling Bluespruce - your expert advice required please!

essex, England Eng

this is really a question for anyone, any advice and comments are welcome, but i think this will be one for bluespruce. my daughter was given this baby christmas tree by santa yesterday when she went to see him at Altons garden centre. it's a dear little thing, very healthy looking around a foot high (at the moment) but i really know very little about them (apart from cutting them up to put in flower arrangements and i would'nt dream of doing this to Brookes little baby) so i really need all kinds of general advice please. would be good if someone could id it for me - i like to know all of the proper names of the things we grow, also what size will it get to? and how fast does it grow - really important as i only have a small garden, approx 20ft x 80ft and i have gone a wild on Acer trees and David Austin Rose bushes this year so very little room for big shrubs or trees. so is it possible to grow it in a pot on a long term basis? does it need pruning? what aspect? also is it a good one for bringing into the house in future years to decorate for christmas - in other words does it drop a lot? just any general info anyone could give me how best to look after it would be much appreciated please...




It will get very big eventually - so best not to plant it out. You can decorate and bring it in for a few days over christmas, but ensure it doesn't get too warm - maybe a hallway, then put it out again to recover! If you feed ( get a feed suitable for pines) and water regularly you can keep it in pots - changing up a size each year or two, for many years - but eventually you may have to find a nice country spot to plant it out! So your daughter will have quite a few christmas' out of it!

20 Dec, 2007


The tree is the common Norway spruce, Picea abies. As it is only a foot high now it is possible to plant it outside, it will not get too big for a couple of years or so. After that you could start to select prune for further year or two, then after that you will probably have to start shearing it every year around March or April, before new growth starts to keep it in bounds. This is of course if you can't bear to part with it. Left to its own devices it would probably grow too big after a few years. The usual annual growth rate for this tree once established will be around 45-60 cms. As Hoya says you could keep it in a pot changing sizes every year etc, but this option is really only practical for a couple of years or so, the root system will become too vigorous to sustain in a managable pot size , plus the fact that conifers are not the easiest plants to keep looking good and healthy in containers long term.

20 Dec, 2007


thank you both this is all very helpful, i think i will keep it in a pot and change the pot every year for now, my mum has a very big garden with lots of conifers and pine trees maybe she would like a new addition in a few years time when it gets too big.

21 Dec, 2007


I have some dwarf conifers planted in the garden and one thing I have noticed is they don't give you any warning signs if they're suffering from drought. Whereas many plants will droop their leaves when they are dry at the roots, conifers just sit there looking green and happy until one morning when they've turned brown overnight and that's it - dead. But then more plants are killed by overwatering than too little so growing one in a pot may be more tricky than you imagine.

21 Dec, 2007


thanks andrew really appreciate the advice but it will have to take its chances in a pot for now as i have no space for something like this. but i am pretty good at keeping everything well watered in the summer unless i am away then i generally water everything every night in the summer and every two to three days in spring and autumn unless we get heavy rain - i actually like it - it gives me an escape from the horror for an hour! lol

21 Dec, 2007


Poor child - I'm sure she isn't really a horror all the time and bet she is the apple of your eye. I hope you are going to buy her a little watering can so she can water her very own tree!

21 Dec, 2007


oh yes she is a horror! - but a very adorable one - i would'nt change her for the world! and yes she has a watering can, a little plastic garden tractor that she can sit on and ride around the garden. with a trailor on the back for all her garden tools - of which she has many! and she also has - well it's like a little golf bag, but its plastic and has wheels with every garden tool you could imagine, rake, folk spade ect and she also has her own little raised bed for planting sunflower seeds and carrots ect in the spring! my nan started me off like this in the garden when i was about her age, and i have loved it ever since - so i intend to carry on the tradition! lol

28 Dec, 2007

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