Wednesday, December 06, 2006

‘Howell’s Dwarf Tigertail’ Spruce

Alcock's Spruce
Picea alcoquiana ‘Howell’s Dwarf Tigertail’

One thing I like about this blog is I am able to share some of my favorite plants with other people. This plant is certainly one of my favorites. There are a couple of things that I like about it. One is the color. If you look at it you can’t really describe weather it is blue or green. I guess that is where its botanical synonym, Picea bicolor, comes in. It doesn’t grow very fast which in my opinion is an attribute. I usually cut the main leader out of the middle and grow it more as a flat top shrub. I have seen mature specimens that were allowed to form the more natural upright pyramidal shape and they were beautiful. The new growth on this small tree is also very, very nice. Actually spectacular could be used to describe it. My trees always have a nice crop of the reddish cones. One or more of these gems usually find their way into my gardens. Since I get a lot of jobs through people seeing my previous work this has kind of a snowball effect. Often times customers will ask, “Can we have one of those unusual evergreen trees?” I know right away they want one of these spruces.

Just a note on the name of this plant. You will often see it marked Picea bicolor. I was calling it Tiger-tail Spruce but the real Tigertail Spruce is Picea polita. This tree gets up to 100 feet tall where the dwarf version shown here gets to 10 to 15 feet tall.

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