January: Serbian Spruce

For a dense evergreen tree in a classic Christmas tree shape, Serbian spruce is the best fit for central Indiana. The needles have thin white stripes that give the tree a faint white-ish cast from a distance for a softer look. They work well as focal points, or in groups to form a living barrier.

We love Serbian spruce in its own right, and we’ve been using it for years, but it’s come into greater popularity recently as an alternative for Colorado blue spruce. Colorado blue spruces in our region are currently being killed off at an alarming rate by a fungal disease that causes it to drop its needles and eventually kills off branches from the bottom up and from the inner branches to the outer branches. Serbian spruce also tolerates clay soils and poor drainage better than most, and it has better disease resistance than other species.

Common Name: Serbian Spruce

Scientific Name: Picea omorika

Light: full sun to light shade

Size: 40-60’ tall, 15-20’ wide

Notable Varieties: ‘Berliner’s Weeper’ (weeping variety), ‘Nana’ (dwarf variety 4-8’ tall with a chocolate kiss shape)

Soil: prefers well-drained soils, but tolerates clay better than many other evergreen conifers

Other Notes: better resistance to rhizosphaera needle drop than other spruces

See other plants of the month.

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