Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture


Foliage: At tip of branch about 1 inch long needles borne singly; needles not at tip are 1 inch long and borne on short stems (spurs) in clusters (about 35 needles); deciduous
Height: About 75 feet
Spread: About 25 feet
Shape: Conical with pendulous

Main features

European larch is a medium/large deciduous conical conifer (one of the few conifer species that drops its foliage in the fall). The secondary branches are pendulous and give the tree a very graceful appearance. The fall foliage colors vary from fair to good. This species is suitable for USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3 to 6, thus it is not suitable to the heat of the south. European larch is suitable as a specimen plant (used alone as focal point), in mass, or as an accent plant. It has a medium to fast growth rate in its youth and is slow-growing when mature. European larch is a valuable species for landscapes, especially for landscape species diversity, but is not typically found in garden centers.

Plant Needs

Zone: 3 to 6
Light: Full sun
Moisture: Average to somewhat dry
Soil type: Average well-drained soil
pH range: Acid


European larch is suitable as a specimen plant (used alone as focal point), in mass, or as an accent plant. Since it is deciduous (less visual weight in winter), the landscape use of this species is more aligned with deciduous trees.


No special care is needed for this species.

Additional Information

The cultivar ‘Pendula’ is a shrub form with weeping branches. Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) is a close relative and is similar to the European Larch with the exception that it is somewhat less hardy and somewhat more heat tolerant (suited to zone 4 to 7).


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

November 3, 2010

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