Dwarf pine (Pinus pumila)

Pinus pumila in garden

Image - Wikimedia / FD Richards

When we talk about pines we usually imagine trees that are quite tall, too tall to be able to have them in a small garden, but the truth is that if we look for a species that does not grow so much we can get a Pinus pumila, which is precisely known as dwarf pine.

It is a slow growing plant that does not grow much and is also very easy to care for. What's more: it is so adaptable that it can even be kept in a pot 😉. LEARN MORE.

Origin and characteristics of the dwarf pine

View of dwarf pine in habitat

Image - Wikimedia / Σ64

Our protagonist is a shrub native to northern Japan, specifically from the mountains, whose scientific name is Pinus pumila and which is called dwarf pine or Siberian dwarf pine. Grows to a height of 1 to 3 meters, although sometimes it can reach 5m. The needles (leaves) are perennial, 4 to 6cm long, and form groups of 5. The cones are 2,5 to 4,5cm long.

It is usually hybridized with Pinus parviflora, leading to Pinus x hakkodensis, which is a tree that reaches 8-10 meters.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:

Location

The dwarf pine must be abroad, in full sun or in semi-shade. It is a small shrub that does not take up much space but if you want to have it in the garden, it should be planted at a minimum distance of 4 meters from pipes, paved floors, etc., to avoid problems.

Earth

  • Flower pot: universal culture substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  • the garden: grows in all types of soils, but prefers those that are slightly acidic (pH 6 to 7).

Irrigation

Pinus pumila leaves

Image - Flickr / Tatters

It should be watered an average of 3-4 times a week in summer, a little less the rest of the year. To do this, use rainwater whenever you can, but if you can't get it, fill a basin with tap water and let it sit overnight before using it.

Of course, if it is very calcareous, that is, if its pH is 7 or higher, it is better to mix it with a little lemon or vinegar to acidify it. If you do, go analyzing it with a meter (for sale here!) since it would not be good if it was lowered to a pH of 4 or lower.

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In spring and summer, with ecological fertilizers once a month. In this way you will get your dwarf pine to grow with a strong defense system, capable of quickly fighting against microorganisms and insects that want to weaken it.

Be careful: this does not mean that a fertilized plant will be immune to pests or diseases, but that it will be easier to recover from them than another plant that is not fertilized.

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds in autumn (they need to be cold before germinating). To do this, follow this step by step:

  1. First, a tupperware is filled with previously moistened vermiculite, to which a little sulfur will have been added to repel fungi.
  2. Afterwards, the seeds are sown and covered with more vermiculite.
  3. Then, the tupperware is closed and placed in the refrigerator, in the section for dairy products, sausages, etc., where it will be kept for 3 months.
  4. Once a week the tupperware will be opened so that the air is renewed, and to check that the vermiculite remains moist.
  5. After those months, they will be sown in seedling trays, putting a maximum of two seeds in each alveolus, with substrate for acid plants.
  6. Finally, the seedbed will be placed outside, in semi-shade.

This is how they will germinate throughout the spring.

If you live in an area where autumn is mild and even cold, and winter usually snows, you can plant them directly in pots outside and let nature take its course.

Pruning

It's not necesary. Only dry, diseased or weak branches should be removed at the end of winter. Use previously disinfected scissors, since although the fungi cannot be seen with the naked eye, the risk of infection is always present.

Rusticity

Resists up to -17ºC, but temperatures of 35ºC or more can harm it as it is a bush typical of the mountains.

What uses is it given?

View of dwarf pine

Image - Wikimedia / Σ64

El Pinus pumila is a plant that it is used as an ornamental, either garden or pot. As it does not grow much, it is perfect as a low-medium hedge plant, but also as an isolated specimen. On terraces it can be used as a plant that offers a little protection against the wind or that gives some shade, for example.

In addition, it can also be worked as bonsai, being one of the few species of Pinus that are appreciated for those jobs.

What did you think of the dwarf pine? Don't you think it is a very beautiful plant to have in a garden, or on a terrace? 🙂


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