Abies koreana “Silberlocke” is a striking short needled fir tree with two-toned needles curving upright with an abundance of small showy cones. The needles are green on top and white underneath, but because they curve upward, the white often shows itself off. It is a small to medium sized evergreen tree, growing ultimately to 30’ tall and 10’ wide. It needs full sun but can handle some afternoon shade in the extreme heat of Boulder Colorado landscapes. It will require more water than your average evergreen, hence the afternoon shade to help retain that moisture.
Because of its size, it is a great choice for an east or north side of a smaller residential landscape, but they are not readily available from the larger wholesale nurseries. One needs to scout them out at smaller more specialized nurseries, or special order them. The tree is native to South Korea, but this cultivar was introduced in Germany in 1986 by Gunter Horstmann. They do not tolerate urban pollution well, so it is not recommended as a street tree where traffic is continuous. These are specimen evergreens that should be showcased in a back yard to enjoy. The purple cones are show stoppers.
“Silberlocke” has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit because of its distinct characteristics as a fir. Plant one or a cluster of three in your evergreen demonstration garden or as a corner ‘anchor’ specimen this year. They are an endangered species, so adding them to your list helps preserve the species. They can be planted in the USDA hardiness zones 5-7, which includes the Front Range of Colorado.