Is blue spruce (Picea pungens) toxic to cats?
Blue spruce is non-toxic to cats and is safe to keep as a Christmas tree in homes with pets with care.
What is blue spruce?
- Genus: Picea
- Family: Pinaceae
- Botanical name: Picea pungens
- Common names: Hickory pine, White spruce, Green spruce, Silver spruce, Colorado spruce
- Plant height: 10-50 metres
- Spread: 5 metres
- Needle retention: Excellent
- Scent: Evergreen/pine
- Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats
- Toxic parts: None
- Severity: –
- Toxic principle: –
Blue spruce (Picea pungens) is a compact evergreen conifer native to Colorado and the central Rocky Mountains. The blue name is due to the blueish needles. The conical shape and lush foliage makes blue spruce a popular Christmas tree.
In the garden, blue spruce is a low-maintenance tree that adds structure to gardens in winter.
Blue spruce likes a moist environment in well-drained acidic soil in full sun. Fertilise every 2-3 months during the growing season.
After Christmas, place the tree in a shady spot and gradually reintroduce it to a sunnier position. Repot into a larger planter as required.
While blue spruce is non-toxic, fertilisers and pest control can be potentially toxic to cats, therefore we recommend homes use cat-safe products to prevent accidental poisoning.
Do not add aspirin to Christmas tree water as cats are unable to metabolise aspirin effectively, which can lead to a fatal overdose in as little as a single tablet.
Ingestion of large volumes of needles can potentially lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction but this is unlikely as the needles act as a deterrent. If you do have a cat who is interested in eating the plant, consider moving it to another location the cat cannot access and bring in some cat-friendly plants such as catnip or cat grass.
Secure the Christmas tree to a wall to prevent the tree from accidentally toppling over.
Avoid tinsel in homes with cats as ingestion can cause gastrointestinal obstruction or telescoping of the intestines. Place breakable ornaments high on the tree to prevent the cat from pulling them off and breaking them.
Toxicity of common Christmas trees
|Norway spruce||Picea abies||Non-toxic|
|Blue spruce||Picea pungens||Non-toxic|
|Serbian spruce||Picea omorika||Non-toxic|
|White spruce||Picea glauca||Non-toxic|
|Nordmann fir||Abies nordmanniana||Non-toxic|
|Fraser fir||Abies fraseri||Non-toxic|
|Douglas fir||Pseudotsuga menziesii||Non-toxic|
|Noble fir||Abies procera||Non-toxic|
|Balsam fir||Abies balsamea||Non-toxic|
|Grand fir||Abies grandis||Non-toxic|
|Scotch pine||Pinus sylvestris||No information available|
|White pine||Pinus strobus||No information available|
|Virginian pine||Pinus virginiana||Listed as toxic to dogs, no information on cats|
pine, house pine
Feature image: Yoksel 🌿 Zok on Unsplash