If Fairies Lived in a Conifer, This Would Be It

Fine Gardening - Issue 196
Pixie Dust dwarf Alberta spruce
Photo: Danielle Sherry

Can you think of a more boring and overused plant than dwarf Alberta spruce? Normally, it would never be a featured “Gotta Have It!” plant— but this is no ordinary dwarf Alberta spruce. Yes, ‘Pixie Dust’ stays super compact, enabling it to fit just about anywhere in the garden or in a decent-sized pot. And yes, it has the same tough-as-nails nature as its boring and overused cousin. But when this little dynamo pushes a second flush of new growth in midsummer, it looks like it’s covered in fireflies—or, as the name implies, sprinkled with that magic glitter Tinkerbell kept handy. The effect of the bright yellow needles is mesmerizing. The gold eventually fades to green, but it lasts longer than it does with many other conifers that push colorful new growth, and the explosion happens in summer—not spring—which is rarer still. All of these amazing traits, and the fact that it’s pint-sized, will make it hard to come up with a reason not to include this evergreen in your garden.

‘Pixie Dust’ dwarf Alberta spruce

Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’

Zones: 2–6

Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; well-drained soil

Native range: Canada, northern United States


  • Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery, Avalon, WI; 608-883-2356;
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