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Can Dwarf Alberta Spruce Be Grown in a Container?

Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a very attractive tree and unlike other conifers, they don’t grow extremely large when fully grown.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce can be grown in a container. It is convenient to grow in containers because it has a very slow growth rate. This means it can stay in the same pot for about 1-2 years before they need to be repotted into a bigger pot.

It’s fairly easy to grow Dwarf Albert Spruce in containers but it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines so that they grow the best. So below I will explain how to plant Dwarf Alberta Spruce in containers, what size pot to use for the different sizes of plant.

dwarf alberta spruce growing in a pot

How do you care for a potted Dwarf Alberta Spruce?

  • Place potted Dwarf Alberta Spruce in a location with 4 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Use loose and nutritious soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0.
  • Plant in a pot 1 inch wider than the root ball.
  • Water when the soil is 1 inch dry.
  • Fertilize Dwarf Alberta Spruce once a year with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Mulch the soil surface in the pot with pine bark.

Planting in a pot

To give a Dwarf Alberta Spruce the best start possible in its new home you need to use the right soil, give it enough room in the pot, and place the container in the ideal location. Here’s the step for how to plant a Dwarf Alberta Spruce in a container.

  1. Before putting soil into the new pot place about a 1 inch (2.5 cm) layer of pebbles, broken pieces of an old clay pot, river stones in the bottom of the pot so the drainage holes don’t get blocked.
  2. Measure the height of the current root ball, and place soil in the bottom of the new container so that the base of the main stem is just below the top of the new pot.
  3. Remove the Dwarf Alberta Spruce from its existing pot and place it in the center of the new pot sitting on top of the bed of soil you’ve put in already.
  4. Pour soil around the sides of the root ball and gently press it down. Then completely saturate the soil. The way to know you have is water will begin coming out of the bottom of the pot.

Below is key info about what size pot to use, what soil to use, and whether you should fertilize them at the same time you repot them.

What size pot should you use for a Dwarf Alberta Spruce?

The ideal size pot is a minimum of 1 inch (2.5 cm) wider around the entire perimeter of the plant than the current root ball. The root ball is the area mass of roots and is generally the size of the existing pot unless it has been recently repotted.

Also, if you’re digging a Dwarf Alberta Spruce out of the ground then use the root ball size to determine what size pot to use. You can use a pot that is much larger than the guideline above. Interestingly, this does tend to make a plant grow faster. The plant can sense the size of the pot based on the density of the soil.

When to repot?

Transplant Dwarf Alberta Spruce into a new pot as soon as the roots reach the walls of the old pot. If you don’t do this, the roots will begin to grow in circles and wrap themselves in a tangle. Also, the roots will begin to squeeze the soil out of the pot.

As a result, the spruce will begin to suffer from a lack of nutrients. The needles will turn yellow and the plant will look unhealthy.

The best thing to do about this is to repot the Dwarf Alberta Spruce in a new pot every spring. The pot should be only 1 inch wider than the previous pot. This will provide enough room for the roots to develop and avoid overwatering.

Best potting soil

The ideal soil to use is potting mix or compost that is readily available at garden supply stores or online. You can also use garden soil provided it’s free-draining and loose. If your garden soil is compact and clayey you can still use it.

Compost and potting mix you buy in garden supplies stores is the right pH for Dwarf Alberta Spruce. But, if you’re using regular garden soil the pH of the soil should be 5.5 to 7.0. You can test the soil pH using a soil testing kit you can get from your local extension center, from a garden supply store, or online.


Water Dwarf Alberta Spruce in a pot when the top layer of soil is 1 inch dry. In hot summer weather, potting soil dries out very quickly, so keep the soil moist at all times.

To prevent the soil from drying out quickly, spread crushed pine bark on top of the pot.

When watering, use at least 1 gallon of water to soak up all the soil in the pot. After watering, the excess water should escape through the drainage holes in the bottom.

Also, place the container with the spruce in the half-shade. It should get about 4 hours of direct sun, but not full sun all day. The afternoon sun can really heat up the pot and dry out the soil quickly.

Make sure the container is placed on the ground in the lowest possible position. Avoid placing it on a stand or elevation.


Dwarf Alberta Spruce can easily overwinter in a pot and in most cases, nothing will happen to it as it is very hardy.

For more comfortable overwintering, move the container with the plant to the most protected place in your yard. The main thing is that it should not be exposed to frosty winds and bright sun. You can even move it to full shade for the winter.

It is not necessary to bury the pot in the ground. Instead, mulch the surface of the pot. If you don’t have a protected spot, wrap the spruce from top to bottom with burlap or other protective material and place it behind the house.