Pinus mugo (Mountain Pine)
Position: Best in full sun; stands open exposed sites well
Soil: Well drained, acid or alkaline. Does well on sand or clay if not too wet
Rate of growth: When established around 15cm per year
Flowers: Male and female ‘flowers’ in spring
Fruit: Cones bearing seed may remain on the plant for more than a year
For a really unusual evergreen topiary plant, why not pick this compact-growing mountain pine? It certainly makes a highly effective choice with its distinctively textured growth, provided by whorls of 5cm-long, mid-green needles. These are at their best during winter but really lovely year-round. If you pinch out the new candle-like shoots in spring, growth will be kept fairly dense, to form a ball or dome that contrasts beautifully with perennials and other shrubs. Mountain pine looks really good in arid plantings or gravel gardens, and likes an open, sunny site. It stands drought when established and will bring a touch of regularity to these plantings. For an alternative approach, try growing Pinus mugo in a container in a sunny spot.
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