Picea abies 'Inversa'

Common Name: dwarf Norway spruce 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, acidic, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in rich sandy soils. Prefers cool summer climates, and often grows poorly south of USDA Zone 7. Established plants have some tolerance for dryish soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Picea abies, commonly called Norway spruce, is a large pyramidal evergreen conifer that is native to the mountains of northern and central Europe east to the Urals. In its native European habitat, it typically matures to 100-150' (occasionally to 200') tall. It has been widely planted in cool and temperate regions of North American where it typically matures to a much shorter 40-60' (less frequently to 100') tall. It is noted for its rapid growth. Primary branches are slightly upturned but secondary branches become pendulous as the tree matures. Branches are clad with spirally-arranged, four-sided, needle-like, deep green leaves which are attached at their bases to tiny pegs. Cylindrical seed bearing cones (to 9" long) are pendulous. In excess of 150 cultivars (mostly dwarf) have been named over the years. Cultivars can be very difficult to distinguish.

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 refers to its similarity to the genus Abies (fir).

'Inversa' is a weeping cultivar of Norway spruce. It may be grown as a upright tree by training it to grow against a stake or as a ground cover by allowing to spread across the ground. It may also be grown draped over raised planters or retaining walls. 'Inversa' has dense, trailing branches that are reminiscent of Spanish moss and needle-like green leaves that emerge lime green in spring. Depending upon how it is trained, it will grow 1.5 to 30 ft. tall and 10 to 20 ft. wide.

Problems

Cytospora canker, wood decay, needle cast and rust may occur. Watch for aphids, bagworms, budworms and borers. Red spider mites can be troublesome.

Uses

Evergreen tree for large lawns, parks or woodland areas. Effective screen or windbreak in cold northern climates. Many dwarf cultivars of this species are available for foundation and rock garden plantings.