Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture


Foliage: 1 to 2 inch long needles; 2 needles per fascicle (bundle); evergreen
Height: Depends on cultivar
Spread: Depends on cultivar
Shape: most dwarf types have a low mound form or an upright oval form; the species is a medium to large multi-stem tree form

Main features

Generally only dwarf forms of mugo pine are sold at garden centers; the species (non-dwarf) is a multi-stem medium to large tree. Dwarf forms vary in their growth rate from 1 to 8 inches per year, and in their form (mounded to upright oval). Hence, cultivar selection is important to match the cultivar to the available garden/landscape space. Cultivars are useful in mass, as foundation plants, and to frame a landscape element (e.g., entryway, walkway, art work); individual cultivars will be discussed in the Additional Information section. Mugo pine tolerates dry and alkaline soil.

Plant Needs

Zone: 3 to 7 (will languish in hotter portions of zone 7)
Light: Full sun
Moisture: Average to dry
pH range: Acid to alkaline


Dwarf forms of mugo pine are useful in mass, as foundation plants, and to frame a landscape element (e.g., entryway, walkway, art work).


No special care is needed. If pruning is required, then candle growth (newly emerging shoots in spring) should be cut in half.

Additional Information

There are numerous cultivars in the trade (more than 40). Some of the popular ones are:

  • ‘Mops’ slow-growing globe-shaped form
  • var. pumilo (Pumilo Group) wide-growing form
  • "Sherwood Compact’ slow-growing flat mound form
  • ‘Slowmound’ slow-growing mounded form
  • Tannenbaum’ tall-growing form (10 feet +) with a dense conical form

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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