£50 – £233
This tree could be described as Britain’s original Christmas tree. The smell of Christmas that most of us grew up with, festive memories come flooding back whenever you get near one. If you’re a traditionalist this is as much a part of Christmas as crackers and mince pies. Dark green with thin slightly prickly needles. The Norway Spruce is a great choice if you put your tree up a week or so into December (as it will dry out quicker in the warm), or at any time as an outdoor tree. Read more.
If you grew up in the UK and are over the age of about 30, the Norway Spruce (Picea Abies) is the Christmas tree of your childhood. Found natively in Europe – particularly Northern, Eastern and Central areas – they are also one of the most widely cultivated spruces across the globe. You’ll see them growing across the UK, but the tree isn’t actually considered native to these isles (though it was introduced yonks ago).
The Norway Spruce is a fast grower, if left to their own devices they can grow 2-3ft per year. When we’re growing them for Christmas, however, we tend to train the tree to direct all it’s growing energy to achieve a nice bushy shape rather than shooting upwards.
It’s speedy growth and hardiness make the Norway Spruce a popular choice for timber. The timber is smooth, strong and light in colour and is often used by carpenters to make joists, rafters and floorboards.
As they get taller, the trees change a little in appearance. That’s why the Spruce in Trafalgar Square (donated each year by the city of Oslo to the people of London as a token appreciation for support in World War II) might look like a different tree altogether to the one in your sitting room. Beyond about 20 feet, the foliage tends to hang or droop more from the branches, where on younger trees it’ll look a bit more upright. You might also see long cones hanging down from the taller Spruces. It’s also obviously much harder to look after a tree that’s 20ft tall, so you’re less likely to see the perfect pyramid shape you’re used to.
If you’re struggling to identify your tree as a Norway Spruce, take a look at the needles. They should be around an inch long and, if you take one and look closely, you should notice it has four distinct sides (unlike needles of firs, and of the Serbian Spruce, which are flat).
Aside from the fact that it might hark back to your childhood, the biggest reason to get a Norway Spruce is probably the scent. It’s an instantly recognisable rich, deep pine smell; fresh and oh-so Christmassy.
They’re also great for those who prefer a bushier, fuller tree – particularly at the bottom, you won’t see gaps through the tree. Norway Spruces do start to drop their needles once cut, and particularly when in the warm, so they’re more suited to those who tend to buy closer to Christmas. For the same reason, they’re a great choice for those looking for an outdoor Christmas tree.
The smell of the spruce brings back all my childhood memories. For me, that smell is Christmas.
Companies and growers measure Christmas trees in lots of ways, so on our website we’ve tried to keep it relatively simple: our measurements in feet are a minimum height to the top of the tree. So, if you order a 6ft tree it will be at least 6ft from the base of the trunk to the tippy top – typically, it will be a bit taller. Don’t forget to account for this potential extra height – sometimes up to 1.5ft for taller trees.
The long bit on the top of the tree (where you put your star or fairy) is called the ‘leader’. This can be quite long on some trees and much shorter on others – just natural variance – so growers account for this when measuring by taking a height to halfway up the leader (halfway between the top set of branches and the top of the tree). Just to confuse things a bit further, the industry standard is centimetre ranges. Here’s a handy conversion:
Tree ordered - Height to halfway up leader:
4ft tree - 125-150cm
5ft tree - 150-175cm
6ft tree - 175-200cm
7ft tree - 200-225cm
8ft tree - 225-250cm
9ft tree - 250-300cm
With natural products it’s not a perfect science, so these ranges act as a guide and your tree may be a little outside of the ranges in either direction.
If you’re putting your tree in any sort of stand, that will add some height to the tree, so don’t forget to factor it in to the overall measurement! If you need a stand, we sell them here.
Bear in mind that the taller your tree, the wider it will be at the base. Nordman Firs and Norway Spruces in particular get quite big and bushy as they get taller, so make sure you’ve got space!