Content Detail

Mugo pine is a small to large-sized, shrubby pine adapted for the home landscape. Plants vary in height, texture, and year-round color. Needles remain on plant for up to 5 years.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites
  • 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 Mounded, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and form:

It is a dense evergreen shrub to multi-trunked dwarf tree with a very slow growth rate. It can vary in size from five to 20 feet tall and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to mountainous areas in Central and Southern Europe.

Bark color and texture:

Mugo pine bark is gray brown and scaly but does not peel. 

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

The bright green, stiff and slightly curved needles are arranged in bundles of two. They are one to three inches long with a serrated margin and will persist for 5 years.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

There isn’t any ornamental value.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Mugo pine have a dark gray ovoid cone that is one to two inches long. It is either held in clusters of two to four or found alone. The slightly pendulous, tip of the cone is surrounded by a darker ring.

Tree & Plant Care:

Mugo pine prefers a deep, well-drained, loose soil and is adaptable to high pH soil. It grows best in full sun, but is one of the few pines to tolerate part shade and windy sites. Prune lightly for a more compact shape by removing part of the new candles (spring growing shoots). It can be transplanted easily as it does not have a tap root.

List of pests and diseases:

This shrub is susceptible to pine needle scale and pine sawflies.

Donna’s Mini Dwarf Mugo (Pinus mugo ‘Donna’s Mini’):

A dense low mounded, miniature evergreen reaching 12 to 18 feet high and 18 to 24 inches wide.

Enci Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Enci’):

This cultivar grows three to four feet high and three to five feet wide with a mounded shape.

Slowmound Dwarf Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Slowmound):

This shrub is rounded growing two to three feet high and wide. It has dark green foliage and is excellent for rock gardens.

Tannenbaum Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Tannenbaum’):

This compact, pyramidal shape cultivar grows 10 to 12 feet high and five to six feet wide with dark green foliage.

White Bud Dwarf Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘White Bud’):

A two to three feet high and wide, low mounded dwarf evergreen. The dark needles have a white, waxy winter bud coating adding winter interest.


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