The tall European silver fir reaches great heights with age. Young trees were traditionally used as Christmas trees in Central Europe before North American fir species were introduced to the market. The pyramidal young trees develop wider, more flattened canopies as they grow. They also become enormous. Populations of grand specimens exist throughout the southern mountains of Europe, from the Pyrennes eastward to the Alps and into the Caucusus.
The flattened needles of this fragrant fir are held horizontally on trees growing in partial sun and erect on those grown in full sun. They are glossy and dark green with silvery gray bands on their undersides. Small male cones of pinkish violet are produced alongside large, cylindrical female cones that turn from yellow-green to sienna. Mature trees develop plates along the otherwise smooth gray bark of the trunk.
Grow European silver fir in full to partial sun and fertile, moist, acid to neutral soil with good drainage. Trees grown in less sun attain more irregular, weeping branch habits. Plant as a large specimen tree for large, open spaces. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Abies
Species - Alba
Common name - European Silver Fir
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 8
Height - 80'-130' / 24.4m - 39m
Spread - 12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m
Plant type - Large Tree
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Well drained
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees
Germination rate - 60%
Leaf / Flower color - Green, Dark Green / --
Abies seeds need to be "overwintered" or stratified before they will germinate.
1. Soak overnight in warm water.
2. Then pre-chill (stratify) for 30 days. Seeds can be stratified in dampened peat, sand or moist vermiculite , in a plastic box or bag at 4°C or 5°C in a refrigerator. The seeds should not be frozen or in a wet medium.
Seed can be sown in early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Normally will only germinate with light, but the stratification (described above) can help to increase the germination rate.
Sow Abies seeds 2-4 mm deep in the seed sowing mix.
Abies seeds will usually germinate in 21-40 days if overwintered and stratified or about 6 - 8 weeks if sown directly.
Soak seeds in cool water for two periods of 10 hours, but with a night break between them. Then after the second period, let the seeds drying out for a few hours. Next, put seeds into closed plastic bags but with little holes on the upper bag to allow gas exchanges. Place these bags in cold room/lower part of a refrigerator at +2° to +4°C. Check it out and stir it every 2 to 3 days to avoid mould development and watch also for the first appearing radicules. It usually takes 3 to 5 weeks to get about 10% of radicules to appear and then it's time for sowing.