Weeping Norway spruce

Weeping Norway Spruce, a Comprehensive Guide

Weeping Norway spruce,  Picea abies ‘Pendula, as we alternatively know it, is a stunning ornamental tree with graceful, cascading branches that sweep towards the ground. Here are some key points about this beautiful tree:



It is distinguished by its drooping branches, which provide the impression of a waterfall. With its dense covering of dark green needles, the branches are visually appealing all year round.



This tree reaches 10 to 20 feet and spreads 4 to 10 feet wide. Its size can be controlled to some extent by pruning.


Growth Rate:

They have a slow to medium growth rate, adding about 6-12 inches of new growth yearly.


Light Requirements:

These trees prefer full sun to partial shade and will tolerate some shade but may become leggy and less compact in dense shade.


Soil Needs:

Grow the in slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Wet or poorly drained soils are intolerable to them.



Apply water frequently, particularly in dry spells, to maintain a continuously damp but not soggy soil.



Weeping Norway spruce trees do not usually need much pruning. Trim to preserve the appropriate size and shape after removing damaged or dead branches.



These trees are often used as focal points in the landscape, particularly in rock gardens or Japanese-style gardens. They can also be planted in containers.


Winter Care:

Provide protection from harsh winter winds, as the drooping branches can be susceptible to damage.


Pests and Diseases:

Weeping Norway spruce trees tend to remain insects and illnesses resistive, nevertheless they can become vulnerable to aphids, spider mites, and specific fungi. Frequent scouting can assist in spotting and fixing any problems early.


Where does Weeping Norway spruce grow best?


Hardiness Zones:

The Weeping Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’), a beautiful tree, is distinguished by its sagging branches and thick, pendulous leaves. It is typically hardy in Zones 3 to 7, where temperatures range from -40°F to 0°F (-40°C to -17.8°C) in winter, although other sources claim it can tolerate Zones 2 to 8.


It does well in cold to moderate climatic conditions and favors well-draining soil and full sunlight to moderate shade. Consider planting in a location that fits its hardiness zone requirements for the best chance of success.



Varieties of weeping Norway spruce:


There are several varieties, each with unique characteristics. Here are some popular cultivars:


‘Pendula’: This is the classic weeping Norway spruce known for its graceful, cascading branches.


‘Inversa’: Also known as the “upside-down” weeping Norway spruce, this cultivar has branches that sweep upward before cascading down, creating a striking and unique appearance.


‘Pumila’: This variety is more compact and dwarf-like, with a dense, mounding habit. It is excellent for smaller gardens or containers.


‘Cupressina’: While not a true weeping variety, ‘Cupressina’ has a narrow, columnar growth habit, making it a good choice for vertical accents in the landscape.


‘Cobra’: This cultivar has a twisted and contorted growth habit, adding an extra element of interest to its weeping form.


‘Acrocona’: Known for its decorative cones that appear at a young age, ‘Acrocona’ adds ornamental value beyond its weeping branches.


‘Gold Drift’: Golden-yellow needles of the ‘Gold Drift’ cultivar provide the environment with a vivid splash of color.


These are just a few examples of the many cultivars of weeping Norway spruce available. Each offers unique beauty and can be a striking addition to gardens and landscapes.



Uses of weeping Norway spruce:


Weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’) has several uses in landscaping due to its unique form and attractive appearance. Here are some common uses:


  1.    Specimen Tree:The weeping habit of this tree makes it an excellent choice as a focal point in the landscape. Its cascading branches add a dramatic and elegant touch to gardens.
  2.    Accent Plant:The weeping Norway spruce can serve as a striking accent plant, drawing attention with its graceful form when planted against a backdrop of shrubs or a wall,.
  3.    Rock Gardens:The cascading branches of the weeping Norway spruce can complement the rugged beauty of a rock garden, adding a softer element to the landscape.
  4.    Japanese Gardens:This tree is well-suited for Japanese-style gardens, where its weeping form can evoke a sense of tranquility and harmony with nature.
  5.    Container Planting:Due to its slow to moderate growth rate and manageable size, the weeping Norway spruce can be grown in containers on patios, decks, or balconies, adding vertical interest to small spaces.
  6.    Border Planting:The weeping Norway spruce can act as a natural screen, providing privacy and adding beauty to the landscape when planted along a property line or border.
  7.    Memorial Tree:In some cultures, the weeping Norway spruce is planted as a memorial tree to honor a loved one, symbolizing eternal life and remembrance.
  8.    Wildlife Habitat:Like all evergreen trees, the weeping Norway spruce provides shelter and food for birds and small mammals, making it a valuable addition to wildlife gardens.



Pros and cons of weeping Norway spruce


Weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’) is an exquisite tree with distinctive features, yet it has advantages and disadvantages like any other plant. Here’s a summary:



  1.    Aesthetic Appeal:Its graceful, weeping branches and evergreen foliage provide a striking focal point in the landscape, adding beauty and interest.
  2.    Versatility:They are used in various landscaping settings, including as a specimen tree, accent plant, or in rock gardens, due to its unique form.
  3.    Low Maintenance: Once established, this tree is relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal pruning and care.
  4.    Wildlife Habitat: Like all evergreen trees, they provide shelter and food for birds and small mammals, enhancing biodiversity in the garden.
  5.    Drought Tolerance:Once established, it is moderately drought-tolerant, making it suitable for regions with dry summers.



  1.    Slow Growth:The weeping Norway spruce has a slow to moderate growth rate, so it may take several years to reach its full size.
  2.    Space Requirements:It can become quite large over time, so it may not be suitable for small gardens or spaces.
  3.    Susceptibility to Wind Damage:The drooping branches of the weeping Norway spruce can be susceptible to damage from strong winds, requiring some protection in exposed locations.
  4.    Soil Requirements:It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil, so it may not thrive in heavy clay or alkaline soils without amendments.
  5.    Potential for Disease:While generally resistant to pests and diseases, the weeping Norway spruce can be susceptible to issues like spider mites, aphids, and certain fungal diseases if not properly cared for.


How to grow and maintain weeping Norway spruce:



Locate a place that receives full sunlight to partial shade, with adequate drainage and moderately acidic soil, make a hole, and plant the tree. Add dirt to the back of the hole and dampen it .



Ensure the soil is continually moist, especially in the first year of the tree’s life. Once established, may withstand some drought, but it will require frequent watering when it’s dry.



Fertilize the tree in early spring with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.



Minimal pruning is essential for weeping Norway spruce. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. You can also prune to maintain the desired shape and size, but avoid heavy pruning, as it can disrupt the tree’s natural form.



Spread a layer of mulch at the base of the tree to assist in conserving humidity and suppressing weeds. Keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk to avoid rot.



Provide protection from harsh winter winds, as the drooping branches can be susceptible to damage. Wrapping the tree in burlap or providing a windbreak can help protect it during winter.



Provide stakes for weeping trees to climb and grow upright.


Pests and Diseases:

Weeping Norway spruce is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, regular inspection can help detect and address any issues early. Watch for signs of spider mites, aphids, and fungal diseases.


Landscape Use:

Consider the tree’s mature size and shape when planting, making it a striking focal point in the landscape and often used in rock gardens, Japanese-style gardens, or as a specimen tree.


Follow these guidelines and grow and maintain a healthy and beautiful Norway spruce in your garden or landscape.



Can Weeping Norway grow from seed?

Yes, they can be grown from seed, but it’s important to note that the offspring may not retain the weeping characteristic of the parent tree. This is because weeping Norway spruce is typically a grafted cultivar, meaning the weeping form is the result of a specific grafting process used to propagate the tree.



How to grow weeping Norway from seed:

Growing weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’) from seed can be a rewarding but somewhat challenging process, as the resulting trees may not retain the weeping characteristic of the parent tree. Here’s how you can grow them from seed:


Seed Collection:

Collect seeds from mature weeping Norway spruce cones in the fall time when they are fully ripe. The cones should be brown and starting to open.


Seed Preparation: 

Prepare the seeds by taking them out of the cones and clearing any leftover material. Other sites advise storing the seeds in a plastic bag filled with wet sand or peat moss for a few weeks to stratify them to replicate the chilly environment required for germination, which helps.


Cold Stratification: 

Weeping Norway spruce seeds require a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. Place the cleaned seeds in a moist paper towel or peat moss in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for about 4 to 8 weeks. Ensure the seeds don’t dry out or get soggy by regularly checking the moisture content.


Sowing Seeds: 

Sow the seeds in a pot full of a well-draining seed-starting mix after the cold stratification phase. Bury the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and gently cover them with dirt.



Place the container in an area receiving indirect sunlight and keep a consistent temperature of around 15-21°C (60-70°F). Sustain a uniformly damp but not drenched soil, and remember that germination may take a few weeks or even months.


Seedling Care: 

After the seeds sprout, keep giving them regular watering and enough light. As the seedlings grow, you may have to transplant them into bigger containers to allow for root development.



What is the lifespan of weeping Norway spruce?

The lifespan of a weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’) can vary depending on growing conditions and care. In ideal conditions, these trees can live for 100 years or more. However, pests, diseases, environmental stressors, and inadequate care can shorten their lifespan.



What is the price of a weeping Norway spruce tree?


Their prices tree can vary depending on several factors, including its size, age, and where it is purchased.

Here are some general price ranges you might expect:

  1. Small Seedlings or Saplings: These are typically less than 2 feet tall and can cost anywhere from $20 to $50.
  2. Medium-sized Trees: These are typically 2 to 4 feet tall and can cost between $50 to $150, depending on the size and age of the tree.
  3. Large Trees: Trees that are 4 feet or taller can cost upwards of $150 to $300 or more, depending on their size and age.


Where to purchase weeping Norway spruce trees?


Local Nurseries and Garden Centers:

Look for locally owned nurseries and garden centers focusing on trees and shrubs that might be selling the Norway spruce trees for sale.


Online Nurseries:

Many online nurseries and garden retailers offer a wide selection of trees, including the Norway spruce. Look for reputable online nurseries with good reviews and ratings.


Arboretums and Botanical Gardens:

Some arboretums and botanical gardens sell plants, including rare and unique varieties. Check with your local arboretum or botanical garden to see if they have weeping Norway spruce trees for sale.


Specialty Tree Nurseries:

Look for specialty nurseries that focus on ornamental trees and shrubs. These nurseries may have a variety of cultivars, including weeping varieties.


Local Tree Farms:

Some tree farms grow and sell weeping Norway trees. Check with local tree farms in your area to see if they are available for sale.



Growing Norway spruce from seed can be a lengthy process, but with patience and care, you can grow beautiful trees that may exhibit the weeping habit of the parent tree.


If you decide to grow weeping Norway spruce from seed, remember that the resulting trees may not exhibit the weeping habit, and their growth habit and characteristics may vary as growing trees from seed can take several years before they reach a size suitable for landscaping.


Before purchasing a weeping Norway spruce tree, consider your climate, space requirements, and care needs to ensure a suitable choice for your landscape.


Prices can vary based on location, the nursery or retailer you purchase from, and the tree’s overall quality and health. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices from different sources before purchase.


With proper care, including regular watering, fertilization, and protection from pests and diseases, a weeping Norway spruce can live for several decades, providing beauty and interest in the landscape for generations.


The weeping Norway spruce is a beautiful and versatile tree that can be a valuable addition to the landscape. It is crucial to consider its growth habits and maintenance needs before planting.

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