How to Care for Weeping Norway Spruce

Weeping Norway Spruce Plant


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The weeping Norway spruce is famous for its unique trailing appearance. With supports, this tree can grow to 15 feet tall. Without support, the weeping Norway spruce is best suited as ground cover; it will trail across the garden and drape down rocks or walls. Its cascading branches are covered in dark green, fragrant needles. Mature trees produce brown cones that are 5 to 6 inches long. This is a slow-growing weeping evergreen that can be planted in spring or early fall.

Botanical Name Picea abies ‘Pendula’
Common Name Weeping Norway spruce
Family Pinaceae
Plant Type Evergreen
Mature Size 4-15 ft. tall, 4-15 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, Partial
Soil Type Loamy, sandy, clay, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time N/A
Flower Color N/A
Hardiness Zones 3-8, USA
Native Area Europe

Weeping Norway Spruce Care

Once established, the weeping Norway spruce is very low-maintenance. They are resistant to both deer and air pollutants. These evergreens are not often bothered by pests or diseases, though they may have trouble with aphids and red spider mites

Weeping Norway spruce trees can be grown upright or as ground cover. To grow this weeping tree upright, provide stakes for the tree to climb on. For ground cover, simply allow the spruce to trail along the ground unhindered. 

Warning

Because this tree is not native to the U.S., weeping Norway spruce trees found growing around the U.S. can become invasive. Its slow-growing habit keeps it from spreading rapidly, but it can still harm native flora and fauna. West Virginia lists this species on their state list of invasive species.

Light

The weeping Norway spruce requires full to partial sun to thrive. Immature, young trees appreciate some partial shade as protection from intense afternoon sunshine.  

Soil

Slightly acidic, rich soil is preferred by these plants. They like moist but well-draining soil and cannot tolerate standing water.  

Water

This evergreen has moderate watering needs. Watering may be done weekly, but be sure not to overwater. A best practice is to check the soil before watering and only water when the first few inches of the soil are dry. This is especially important during the first two years of growth. After this, the weeping Norway spruce can typically survive on natural rainfall and may only need additional watering during periods of extended drought.

Temperature and Humidity

Because the weeping Norway spruce is cold-hardy, this plant adds visual interest year-round, even in areas with very cold winters. It will struggle in hot, humid areas. 

Fertilizer

Weeping Norway spruce trees do not require much fertilizer to thrive. Mature trees will only need fertilizer every few years. Use a balanced fertilizer designed for trees and shrubs. Apply this in the spring to encourage new, healthy growth. 

Pruning

Pruning may be necessary to keep the tree in its desired shape or to remove dead and damaged branches. Be sure to prune with clean tools, making the cut right above a node at a 45-degree angle. This node is where new growth will form.

Propagating the Weeping Norway Spruce

Cuttings provide an easy way to propagate this evergreen. This form of propagating works best on mature trees that are around 10 to 15 years old. Take hardwood cuttings in the late fall or winter when the tree is dormant. Follow these steps: 

  1. Using sharp snips, trim a cutting that is around 6 inches long. Cut below a node at a 45-degree angle. 
  2. Strip away all the needles on the bottom of the cutting around an inch up. 
  3. Place the cut end into well-draining, sandy soil. 
  4. Keep the cutting in an area with warm temperatures and bright, indirect light. 
  5. Place a plastic bag or dome over the cutting and keep the soil moist, but not wet. Water when the top half-inch of the soil is dry.  

How to Grow Weeping Norway Spruce From Seed

Starting this plant from seeds takes some patience, but it is worth the effort. Here’s how:

  1. If collecting seeds, wait until the cones dry thoroughly and open on their own. Collect the seeds dropped from the cones. 
  2. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and set them in the refrigerator for three weeks.
  3. Remove the seeds and soak them in water for 24 hours. Bad seeds will float, so only use seeds that sink. 
  4. Plant the seed in rich soil and sanitized pots. Gently cover the seed with soil. 
  5. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. 
  6. These containers can be placed outdoors as long as the temperature is warm, such as in late spring. Protect the seedling from intense sun and rain. 
  7. They should germinate in around three weeks. It is best to keep these potted for a few seasons until they are strong enough to withstand being planted in the ground.  

Potting and Repotting Weeping Norway Spruce

The weeping Norway spruce can be kept in large containers, though it will most likely need to be replanted each year. To do this, it is best to tip the pot onto its side. Tap the outside of the pot to loosen the roots, continuing to do so around the whole pot. Next, gently slide the plant out of the container and place it in a larger container. Fill the excess room with rich, acidic soil. Water well. 

Because potted plants do not have access to underground water supplies, you will need to water a potted weeping Norway spruce more often. 

Overwintering

Mature, established trees will have no problem surviving the winter while displaying their beautiful foliage. Young, new trees will appreciate a bit of extra help. If you choose to stake this tree, be sure to stake it before winter. This will help train new growth as well as support it when snow weighs its branches down. For the first few years, it may be good to create a burlap wall on the windiest side of the plant. This will help protect the plant from frigid, harsh winds. To insulate the roots, try mulching a 2-foot ring around the plant with 6 inches of mulch. However it’s important to make sure that the mulch does not touch or lean up against the trunk. 

Article Sources
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  1. Norway Spruce: Picea Abies (Pinales: Pinaceae): Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.” Invasiveplantatlas.org. N.p., n.d. Web.