Content Detail

Swiss stone pine is a dense, narrow, pyramidal evergreen tree that provides dark green color in the landscape. Native to the mountains of Europe and Asia, it is a picturesque evergreen for the smaller landscape.

  • 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 30-40 feet
  • Mature width 15-25 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, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • 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 Columnar, Narrow, Pyramidal, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Wildlife Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Swiss stone pine is native to the mountains of Europe and parts of Asia.

Bark color and texture: 

Mature branches are dark with scaly plates. New stems are orange-brown.

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

Stiff, but soft, 3 inch needles are held in bundles of five. The needles have a blue-green to light green color. Sometimes needles are twisted.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Flowers are not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Terminal, 2 to 3 inch cones do not open on the tree but require three years to mature and drop in the spring.

Plant care:

Swiss stone pine is best sited in a well-drained, loamy soil in open areas in full sun. It transplants well and needs little pruning for a strong structure. Due to its slow growth rate, this is an excellent choice for small landscapes.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Resistant to most pests and diseases.

Prairie Statesman® Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra ‘Herman’):

This cultivar has a very upright habit (30 feet high and 15 feet wide) with emerald green needles. It is very cold hardy and drought tolerant.

Stricta Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra ‘Stricta’):

This is a columnar form of the species, with blue-green needles and a dense, narrow habit. Sometimes sold under the name ‘Columnaris’.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift