How to Propagate a Weeping Norway Spruce

by M.H. Dyer

A graceful tree often grown as a ground cover, weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies "Pendula") reaches a mature height of 1 1/2 feet and a spread of about 10 feet. You can also stake the tree and grow it upright, which gives it a weeping form. As a cool weather tree, weeping Norway spruce grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. The peak time for propagating a weeping Norway spruce is early to mid-autumn. Take cuttings from a young, healthy tree less than 6 years old.

1 Place about 1/2 teaspoon of a slow-release fertilizer in the bottom of a 6-inch planting container. Fill the container with peat moss, finely chopped bark, perlite or vermiculite.

2 Cut six or seven stem tips from the tree, measuring 2 to 6 inches in length. Use a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears. Pinch needles or side shoots from the bottom one-third of each cutting.

3 Dip the bottom 1/2 inch of each cutting in rooting hormone. You can use hormone in gel, powdered or liquid form.

4 Make six or seven equally spaced planting holes in the rooting mix with a stick or pencil, allowing 1 1/2 inches between each hole. Place the cuttings in the holes so the needles are just above the rooting mix.

5 Cover the container with a plastic bag, and then secure the bag with a rubber band. The plastic keeps the air moist and warm while the cuttings are rooting.

6 Place the container in low light. Check the pot weekly, and water lightly if the rooting medium feels dry. Never water heavily or saturate the medium. Weeping Norway spruce generally roots in about three months.

7 Plant each cutting in an individual 4-inch pot when the cuttings display healthy new growth. Fill the pots with a mixture of 2 parts garden soil, 1 part peat moss and 1 part clean, coarse sand.

8 Place the pots in a shady outdoor location until the roots are settled into the new environment, and then move the young trees into bright light.

9 Let the young trees mature for at least one or two years before planting them in their permanent location. If the trees outgrow the containers, transplant them into 1-gallon pots.

Items you will need

  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • 6-inch planting container
  • Peat moss, finely chopped bark, perlite or vermiculite
  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Stick or pencil
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • 4-inch pot
  • Garden soil
  • Peat moss
  • Clean, coarse sand
  • 1-gallon pots

Tip

  • Sanitize cutting tools by wiping them with rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

References