Dwarf White Spruce Picea glauca 'Echiniformis'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
white spruce 'Echiniformis'


The plant known as the dwarf Alberta spruce 'Echiniformis' has a distinctive appearance. It typically features a compact, dense form with a cone-like shape. The needles are short and fine, possessing a bright green to bluish-green color which can add a soft textural quality to the plant's overall look. Due to its dense growth habits, the branches are covered thickly with these needles, creating a lush appearance that is pleasing to the eye. Although this description omits the specifics of the plant's size, it's important to note that the dwarf Alberta spruce 'Echiniformis' maintains a relatively small stature, which contributes to its suitability for smaller garden spaces or as a specimen plant in a landscape. The new growth on this plant can sometimes have a lighter green color, offering a subtle contrast to the older, more mature foliage. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that despite seasonal changes, the dwarf Alberta spruce 'Echiniformis' retains its color and needles throughout the year, making it an excellent choice for gardeners seeking year-round interest in their outdoor spaces. The overall appearance of this plant is one of well-groomed neatness and natural symmetry, which can complement a variety of garden designs and themes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Hedgehog Spruce, White Spruce 'Echiniformis'.

    • Common names

      Picea canadensis 'Echiniformis', Picea alba 'Echiniformis'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The White Spruce is generally considered non-toxic to humans. However, as with many plants, individual allergies or sensitivities may exist, and it's always wise to handle plants with care and avoid ingesting plant material not designed for consumption. If one does ingest parts of the White Spruce and experiences negative symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention, particularly if an allergic reaction is suspected.

    • To pets

      The White Spruce is not commonly known to be toxic to pets. It isn't listed among the plants that are frequently of concern to pet owners. However, ingestion of needle-like foliage can cause mild gastrointestinal upset due to physical irritation or if consumed in large quantities. If a pet ingests part of this plant and shows signs of discomfort or distress, contacting a veterinarian is recommended. Signs of poisoning in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, but these symptoms are not specifically associated with the White Spruce.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      3 feet (0.91 meters)

    • Spread

      4 feet (1.22 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: It's a dwarf coniferous shrub that adds year-round visual interest to gardens with its unique, needle-like leaves and dense, mounded growth habit.
    • Low Maintenance: This shrub requires minimal pruning and care once established, making it suitable for gardeners seeking plants that don't need constant attention.
    • Cold Tolerant: Adapted to cold climates, it is an excellent choice for northern gardens where other ornamentals might not thrive.
    • Drought Resistance: After establishment, it can tolerate periods of dryness, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Habitat Friendly: Provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and small animals, contributing to local biodiversity.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system can help stabilize soil, preventing erosion on slopes or in areas with loose soil.
    • Adaptable to Soil Types: It can grow in a range of soil types, from sandy to loamy, as long as the site has good drainage.
    • Non-Invasive: Unlike some ornamental plants, it does not spread aggressively, making it an eco-friendly choice for the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Miniature Garden Accent: Picea glauca 'Echiniformis', commonly known as Dwarf Alberta Spruce, is often used in miniature gardens and fairy gardens to mimic the look of full-size trees due to its small stature and conical shape.
    • Bonsai Creation: Enthusiasts of the bonsai craft value Dwarf Alberta Spruce for its slow growth rate and ability to be pruned and shaped into miniature tree forms for display.
    • Winter Garden Interest: With its evergreen foliage, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce provides color and structural interest to gardens during the winter months when other plants may be dormant.
    • Educational Tool: This plant is used in educational settings such as schools or botanical gardens to teach about dwarf plant varieties and plant growth habits.
    • Photography Prop: Due to its unique shape and aesthetic, Dwarf Alberta Spruce is used by photographers as a prop in outdoor photography to create scale or as a focal point.
    • Model Train Landscapes: Hobbyists constructing model train landscapes employ Dwarf Alberta Spruce to recreate realistic scenes with lifelike miniature trees alongside their train tracks.
    • Container Gardening: Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a popular choice for container gardening on patios, balconies, or small spaces where soil planting isn't possible.
    • Maze and Garden Path Borders: Garden designers use this plant to line paths or create mazes in large garden spaces because of its uniform growth and ability to be sheared into hedges.
    • Cultural Practices: Some cultures may use the Dwarf Alberta Spruce in ceremonial plantings or to celebrate certain holidays due to its resemblance to larger spruce trees.
    • Artistic Inspiration: Artists may use Dwarf Alberta Spruce as a subject or inspiration in painting, drawing, and other visual arts to capture the essence of nature in a more manageable size.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: The Dwarf Alberta Spruce, as a species able to withstand cold and challenging climates, symbolizes resilience and the ability to endure harsh conditions.
    • Longevity: With its potential to live for hundreds of years, this plant represents long life and timelessness.
    • Purity: The bright evergreen color and association with northern landscapes impart a sense of purity and cleanliness to this plant's symbolism.
    • Growth: As a slow-growing but eventually substantial tree, it can symbolize measured, steady growth and development over time.
    • Protection: Evergreens are often thought to symbolize protection, as they remain unchanging and constant throughout the seasons.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late Winter-Early Spring
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    For a Dwarf Alberta Spruce, it is critical to maintain evenly moist soil, without making it soggy. During the first growing season, water the plant once or twice a week, providing about 1-2 gallons per watering session, depending on the weather conditions. After establishment, watering can be reduced, but the plant should still receive a deep watering every couple of weeks, with more frequent watering during extended dry spells. It’s essential to avoid letting the soil dry out completely, which stresses the plant. Over the winter, occasional watering may still be necessary during periods without snow cover, especially for younger plants.

  • sunLight

    The Dwarf Alberta Spruce thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It should be placed in a location where it can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, although it can tolerate some light shade. Avoid heavily shaded areas, as this can lead to sparse growth and poor overall plant health.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Dwarf Alberta Spruce can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and is hardy in zones 2 to 8. It can survive minimum winter temperatures down to -40 to -50°F and can handle maximum summer temperatures up to 90°F. The ideal temperature range is between 60°F to 75°F. However, this plant is quite adaptable and can thrive in cooler temperatures during the growing season.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce is generally done to maintain its shape or to remove any dead or damaged branches. The best time for pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Pruning may also be done in summer, but avoid heavy pruning late in the season as it might not have enough time to harden off before winter. Pruning once a year is usually sufficient for this slow-growing plant.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Dwarf Alberta Spruce prefers a well-draining, loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. To create the best soil mix, combine garden soil, peat moss, and coarse sand in equal parts. This mixture ensures good aeration and moisture retention, which is ideal for the health of the roots.

  • plantRepotting

    Dwarf Alberta Spruces are slow-growing and do not require frequent repotting. Repotting is typically necessary every 3 to 4 years when grown in a container, or when the plant has become root-bound or has outgrown its current pot.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Dwarf Alberta Spruce thrives in average outdoor humidity. This species does not have specific humidity requirements but enjoys the natural humidity found in most outdoor environments where it is hardy.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool temps, and airflow for health.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil; full sun; cold hardy.

    • Hardiness zone

      2-6 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The White Spruce 'Echiniformis' begins its life cycle as a seed, typically germinating in spring when soil temperatures rise and moisture is adequate. Emerging seedlings develop into young saplings, which prioritize root growth to establish themselves firmly in the soil. As they mature, these saplings transition into juvenile trees, showing characteristic dense, bluish-green needles and a slow-growing, compact, and rounded habit. Over many years, these juvenile trees will become mature adults, capable of producing cones; male cones release pollen while female cones catch the pollen to fertilize the seeds. Mature White Spruce 'Echiniformis' trees can produce seeds annually, more prolifically in some years, a cycle known as masting. Finally, as these trees age, they will enter a period of senescence, displaying reduced growth and vigor until they eventually die, completing their life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Winter-Early Spring

    • Picea glauca 'Echiniformis', also known as the White Spruce 'Conica', is commonly propagated through the method of cuttings, particularly semi-hardwood cuttings. The ideal time for taking cuttings for this plant is typically in the later summer months when the new growth has started to mature and harden slightly. To propagate by cuttings, a gardener would select a healthy, semi-hardwood section of the plant that has a length of about 4 to 6 inches (approximately 10 to 15 centimeters). This cutting should be taken just below a node, the point on a stem from which leaves or branches grow. The lower needles are then stripped away, and the cut end may be dipped in a rooting hormone to encourage root growth. Following this, the cutting should be placed in a well-draining rooting medium, such as a mix of peat and perlite, ensuring that the node where the needles were removed is buried. The cuttings should be kept under conditions with high humidity and indirect light until roots have developed, which usually takes several weeks. Once rooted, the cuttings can be potted up individually and grown on to eventually become mature plants.