What to plant around your Fat Albert Spruce?

March 17, 2010

I am getting ready to plant a dwarf fat albert spruce. For landscaping purposes, what could I plant around it for color and variety?�

Dear Kathy,

Oh dear, this is an interesting question.  First I am going to assume you are going to plant a dwarf alberta spruce, not a dwarf Fat Albert.  Then I have to reply vaguely about what you can plant with it, since I have no information on the the amount of space you have or what else might be planted in your landscape or near by.  Having said all that, I would suggest that you look look for plants with different textures than the spruce- whispy columnar plants like
ornamental grasses or dwarf willows, broad leafed spherical shaped plants like hydrangeas, hardy hibiscus, heucheras and even sedums, or spiky plants like iris and day lilies.  If you are more interested in an evergreen collection you could make a nice grouping using junipers-golden colored, prostrate and upright-, globe arborvitae and mugho pines, and textured false cypress.  Look for plants that are of different heights, from very low ground covers to medium sized shrubs.  Look for plants that bloom at different times and ones that will have stems or seed heads that will add winter interest.  Depending on the size of the area you need to plant, your Dwarf spruce should be the anchoring plant, providing a backdrop or focal point for other plants in the garden.  Make sure you tie the new garden area into the existing landscape, by using a few of the plants already in the landscape.  Work with odd numbered groups of plants and use more plants of the same varieties.  There are so many different ways you could landscape with your dwarf spruce, I advise doing as much research as you can before buying and planting the area.  Visit your favorite nursery, check out the local parks and gardens for groupings, and go through magazines for more ideas.  Find out about the plants, including mature size, water, sun and soil requirements, bloom time, and maintenance issues.  Once you have a list of what you might like to use in the area, put your ideas on paper, rearrange the plants until you are happy with the design; then go ahead and plant them.  Planning and planting a new garden does not have to be intimidating or hard, it just takes a little time and effort; a little research and planning will make the whole project go so much better.  Good luck.

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