Canaan Fir

(Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis)

Abies balsamea

Canaan fir (ka-naan) develops into a handsome dense, pyramidal shaped conifer. Makes a lovely conifer for residential planting.  Plant it as a specimen in a cluster or use it for a hedge or windbreak.  Also widely used as a Christmas tree. Canaan fir is considered a variety of the closely related Balsam fir.

Ornamental features:

  • Foliage is lustrous dark green to bluish green with silvery bands on the underside of the needles.
  • Short ¾ to 1” soft upward curving needles line the upper side of the twigs.
  • Develops full pyramidal form with little shearing.

Wildlife value:

  • Provides winter shelter for wildlife. Seeds eaten by small mammals and some birds.

Horticulture profile:

  • Zone 3 to 7
  • Grows 40 to 55 ft Tall x 20 to 25 ft wide.
  • Medium growth rate, 1 to 2 ft per year.
  • Prefers well-drained slightly acidic soils.
  • More tolerant of moist soils and heavy clay than most firs.
  • Delayed bud break protects Canaan from late frosts.
  • Full sun to half shade.
  • Native to isolated high elevation pockets in West Virginia and Virginia.