How to Grow Abies concolor Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Compact White Fir

The common name for the Abies concolor Tree is White fir, or Concolor fir.

It is a narrow coniferous tree that is found on mountain slopes

Abies concolor Plants can reach 40 metres (130 feet), but are more usually around 12 to 22 m (40 to 70 feet) tall.

They carry flat pale blue-green needles (~ 6 cm, 2 1/2 inches), and have a smooth Ash-gray bark.

Compact white fir

Abies concolor 'Blue Cloak' photograph by F. D. Richards.

Cones are barrel shaped and grow upright. They reach about 8–15 cm (3 to 6 inches).

It can take as many as forty years before they produce cones.

Likes to grow in a rich moist soil with good drainage. Does not grow in clay soils.

Abies concolor

photograph by S. Rae.

Can grow well in either full sun or partial shade light conditions.

Abies concolor performs best in areas with cool summers and long winters.

How to Grow Abies concolor Video

Abies concolor Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Abies concolor
  • Common Name: White Fir, Compact white fir, concolor fir.
  • Growing Zone: USA: 3 to 7. UK: H7 very hardy.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): from 40 to 130 feet (12 to 39 m).
  • Plant Spread (Inches): from 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m).
  • Time of Bloom: As it is a coniffer, this plant does not produce flowers.
  • Flower Details: N/A
  • Leaf Foliage: Blue, Green. Needles reach about 2.5 inches (7 cm).
  • Fruit: Produces upright yellowish to green seed cones. These are barrel shaped and about 3 to 6 inches 8 to 15 cm) in length.
  • Growth Form: Columnar. Narrow.
  • Bark: Ash colored, smooth.

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight (for best results).
  • Rate of Growth: Grows fairly slowly.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Deep. Slightly Acidic, Loamy, Gravel, Well drained. Does not thrive in clay soils.
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, tolerates dry soils once established.

Abies concolor white fir bark

Abies concolor White fir tree trunk photograph by James St. John; CC.

Caring Conditions

  • Care: Can be pruned in early spring if shaping is requires and to remove decayed tissue. Only prune when conditions are dry to help prevent diseases.
  • Level of Maintenance: Low to Medium.
  • Propagation: Seed or grafting ( sow or graft in early spring or autumn).
  • How to Prune: Not usually required.
  • Pests: Usually pest free, but aphids, budworms, Scale, Adelgids, and Bark Beetles may be present.
  • Diseases: Diseases include blight, Needle rust, and root rot.

Further Information

  • Best Garden Use: Christmas tree, Firewood, Areas requiring pest tolerance, Screen, Specimen.
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here
  • Family: Pinaceae.
  • Miscellaneous: May take up to 40 years to produce cones. Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Does not bloom.
  • Genus Detail: Abies
  • Closely related species: European silver fir; Korean Fir; Caucasian fir

Varieties / Cultivars

Abies concolor 'Compacta'

This is known as the Compact white fir and behaves very differently to the wild type White Fir tree. It is slow growing and only reaches a height of around seven feet (2 M).

This form of the tree has a spreading habit, reaching a similar size to its height, thus giving the tree a bushy shrub like rounded appearance.

The plant carries bluey green needles. These are evergreen.

The reduced size of this variety makes it useful for smaller gardens, and it can even be grown as a container plant.

Compact white fir tree picture

Compact white fir, Blue Cloak variety, picture by F. D. Richards; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Abies concolor. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Hercules Club and Cercis siliquastrum.