Picea sitchensis 'Papoose'
DWARF SITKA SPRUCE
Pronounced: PIE-see-a sit-KEN-sis
Sunset zones: A2, A3; 4-6, 14-17.
USDA zones: 7-8.
Heat zones: 8-7.
Height: 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m).
Width: 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m).
Cylindrical green cones turn to pale brown.
3/4-1 inch long green needles with silver underneath.
Pyramidal, over time.
Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
Rainy Side Notes
This compact evergreen conifer starts out globe shaped. Over time, it grows a central leader and ends up a pyramidal shape. It is a slow grower though, 1 ½ inches a year, so don't hold your breath waiting for that central leader to take over. The needles are green with silvery-blue undersides, giving it a two-tone affect.
Picea 'Papoose' was first discovered growing in a forest on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
I became interested in this dwarf conifer when I was looking for a conifer to plant for my husband. He brews beer and wanted to try a recipe that called for the new growth needles of our large, native tree, Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) as one of the ingredients. When I found the dwarf version of this giant native at a local nursery, I bought three. I hoped they would produce enough new needles each year for him to brew beer. That was a few years ago, and although he has not tried the recipe yet, the threesome grow handsomely in containers. However, they will be planted in the ground soon. I wonder, by the time the love of my life wants to brew this special beer, maybe I will not want him sheering my, I mean his, precious ones.
There is a possibility that this conifer is deer-resistant as it has sharp, pointed needles. I know first hand how sharp the needles are. They are quite pointed and hurt when you brush up against them. I am a bit skeptical however, about the deer, since they browse on shrubs that have thorns, prickles and hacksaws for defense.
Photographed in author's garden.