The Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ (Dwarf Norway Spruce) Full Care Guide


The Dwarf Norway Spruce, otherwise known as the Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ or Norway Spruce ‘Pumila’, Pumila Norway Spruce, Dwarf Norway Spruce, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its blue-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Dwarf Norway Spruce Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

But if you prefer to watch a short video instead, check it out here:

In order to take proper care of your Dwarf Norway Spruce you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Dwarf Norway Spruce prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.
  • Light: Keep your Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Dwarf Norway Spruce in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Dwarf Norway Spruce will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Picea abies 'Pumila' (Norway Spruce) Top View

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Dwarf Norway Spruce belongs to the Pinaceae family, the genus Picea and the species Abies, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ (PY-see-a AY-beez).

As with other Picea’s, the Dwarf Norway Spruce is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Dwarf Norway Spruce is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, A2, A3.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Dwarf Norway Spruce is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, what size of Dwarf Norway Spruce are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ can grow up to 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) and 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Dwarf Norway Spruce a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful mounding, compact, and rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 48″ (120cm) free, so the Dwarf Norway Spruce can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Dwarf Norway Spruce is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Picea abies 'Pumila' (Norway Spruce) Colored Pines

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Dwarf Norway Spruce in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Dwarf Norway Spruce since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Dwarf Norway Spruce prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Dwarf Norway Spruce requires soil with sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Dwarf Norway Spruce requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the Dwarf Norway Spruce will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Foliage

The leaves from the Dwarf Norway Spruce have a beautiful blue-green color during most of the year. In particular, this tree is known for having a very generic needle arrangement in its leaves.

Picea abies 'Pumila' (Norway Spruce) Foliage

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Dwarf Norway Spruce is well known for attracting birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Picea Abies ‘Pumila’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Dwarf Norway Spruce will look best in it.

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, gravel and rock garden, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Dwarf Norway Spruce’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in small gardens, others use it for landscaping in an urban garden, rock garden, container, border, hedge, mass planting, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Dwarf Norway Spruce’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Buddleja, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Gaillardia will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Dwarf Norway Spruce in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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