Picea mariana 'Nana'
Common Name: black spruce 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Easily grown in acidic, moist but well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Prefers rich soils, but tolerates average to poor ones. Soils should be kept consistently moist and not allowed to dry out in the early years. Once the roots are well established, plants generally require less moisture. Prefers cool climates and will struggle in the heat and humidity of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Picea mariana, commonly called black spruce, is a conical evergreen conifer that typically grows to 30-50' (60') tall. This is a tree of very cold climates. It is native to muskegs, bogs, bottomlands, dry peatlands, flatlands and dry slopes in the vast boreal forest (Taiga) that stretches from Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland, with additional but somewhat isolated growth occurring further south into Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New England and in the Appalachians to Virginia. Attractive blue-green to gray-green needles are about 1/2" long.

Genus name is reportedly derived from the Latin word pix meaning "pitch" in reference to the sticky resin typically found in spruce bark.

Specific epithet means "of Maryland", presumably meaning that this pitchy tree comes from North America.

'Nana' is a slow-growing dwarf cultivar that forms a dense, rounded, hassock-shaped mound to 1-2' tall with a slightly larger spread. It is ornamentally grown in landscapes for its colorful evergreen foliage, interesting shape, texture and small size. It typically grows at the rate of only one inch per year.


No serious insect or disease problem. Eastern dwarf mistletoe, needle cast, needle rusts and canker are infrequent problems. Watch for aphids, budworms and bagworms.


Specimen or accent for rock gardens, foundations, shrub borders. Small area groundcover. Edging.