Other Pine Species

There are over 120 species of pines, mostly native to the Northern Hemisphere. A number of them have horticultural value for their unique size, shape, color and texture. Here are a few interesting species that make great additions to a garden landscape.

Pinus bungeana (Lacebark Pine) is native to northwestern China. It is a spectacular tree with bark that flakes off in pieces similar to the Sycamore, revealing shades of cream, olive green, and rust that contrasts with the light outer bark. Patience is necessary, though, since it may take 10 years or more for the bark to flake. Lacebark Pine often is multi-trunked, pyramidal to rounded, and grows slowly to 30’-50’H × 20’-35’W at maturity. It does best in average, well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade, and in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Pinus densiflora (Japanese Red Pine) is a highly popular ornamental in Japan where it is native. It is often multi-trunked and contorted or gracefully twisted, and its reddish-brown bark flakes off in small plates. P. densiflora grows at a medium rate to 40’-60’H × 15’-25’W with horizontal branching and a rounded crown. It has some amazing cultivars, such as «Oculus Draconis» that has green and yellow banding on the needles, «Cesarini Variegated» with lighter colored banding on the needles, and «Rainbow», which is a dwarf with cream and yellow banding on the needles. Japanese Red Pines grow best in full sun, in average soil with good drainage, and in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 7.

Pinus heldreichii, syn. P. leucodermis (Bosnian Pine) is native to Greece, Italy, and the Balkans. It is a beautifully symmetrical tree that is pyramidal or conical in shape, growing quickly to 30’-40’H × 15’-20’W in cultivation. Its dark green needles are 3”-3.5” long, and the 2”-3” cones are a showy lavender-purple maturing to brown. Bosnian Pine grows best in full sun in a variety of moist soils that are well-draining, and in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.

Pinus nigra (Austrian Pine) is native to central and southern Europe. It is pyramidal when young, developing a dome-shaped crown with age, and growing 40’-60’H × 20’-40’W in cultivation. There are some great columnar varieties of this species such as «Arnold Sentinel» that has blue-green needles, and compact, upright branching, growing to 20’H × 5’W. «Frank» is another columnar cultivar with dark, rich green needles and a tight, upright habit. It grows slowly to 15’H × 5’W and is a good choice for narrow spaces. “Green Tower» is a small, slow-growing, compact, columnar variety with dark green foliage that only grows to 4’H × 1.5’W in 10 years. These trees grow in full sun, in average soils that are moist and well-draining, and in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8-9.

Pinus pumila (Siberian Stone Pine) is native to northern Japan and Korea, and northeastern China, Mongolia, and eastern Siberia. It is a low-growing, spreading pine that grows slowly to 6’-10’H × 10’-15’W at maturity, and to 3’H × 2’W in 10 years. It has 3” long, blue-green needles, and bright red pollen cones. The 1.5” long seed cones are purple-violet when young, turning to red-brown when ripe. P. pumila grows best in full sun, in a variety of well-draining soils, and in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.