Content Detail

Japanese white pine is a dense, slow-growing evergreen with a smaller stature which makes it an excellent specimen for small landscapes and restricted spaces.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium tree (25-40 feet), Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 25-50 feet
  • Mature width 25-50 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Broad, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

Japanese white pine is native to Japan.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is smooth and gray-green when young, gray and scaly when older.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Needles are fine textured, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, bluish-green in color and grow in bundles of five. They are stiff and twisted and appear in brush-like tufts on strong horizontal branches.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Monoecious, small, yellow-green flowers in clusters in May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The 2 to 4 inch long cylindrical cones are thick, leathery, and located near the terminal ends of the branches. Cones are abundant, even on young trees, and persist for years on the tree.

Plant care:

Japanese white pine is a slow grower that does best in full sun. It is relatively tolerant of most soils as long as they are well-drained. It is somewhat tolerant of salt.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Japanese white pine can suffer from insects and disease when stressed. Susceptible to a number of diseases including diplodia tip blight, needle casts, and pine wilt. Susceptible to a number of pests including pine sawflies, pine needle scale, and Zimmerman pine moth.


Bergman Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman’): 

A more compact cultivar at 15 to 20 feet high, with twisted blue-green needles.

Glauca Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora ‘Glauca’): 

A cultivar with blue needles.


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