Pinus densiflora 'Pendula'
Common Name: Japanese red pine
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light afternoon shade, particularly in hot summer climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinus densiflora, commonly called Japanese red pine, is perhaps the most common tree growing in Japan. It will soar to 100’ in the wild, but in cultivation is more likely to top out at 40-60’ tall. In its early years, this is a medium growing pine (to 12” per year). It is noted for its irregular but frequently graceful form and its orange-red bark. Often multi-trunked at the base, this tree features a broad-rounded shape, horizontally spreading branching and a somewhat flattened mature crown. Trunks often lean. Bark matures to gray-fissured at the base. Bright green needles (to 3-5” long) appear in bundles of two. Oval to oblong cones (to 2” long) are often plentiful. Common name is in reference to the attractive orange-red bark that exfoliates with age. Needles may yellow in winter.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for pines.

Specific epithet means densely-flowered, which is odd being used for a non-flowering plant (a conifer). It probably refers to the species' abundant production of small cones.

‘Pendula’ is a weeping form that may be grown in several different ways including (1) spreading along the ground without support as a ground cover, (2) draped over a wall with branches cascading downward or (3) grafted to a standard with branches weeping downward from the point of the graft or staked with branches weeping. Mature shape and height depend upon how plant is grown. It typically grows 3-5' tall over the first 10 years. Dark green needles (to 4" long).

Problems

Healthy, well-maintained trees in their native environment usually have few major problems. Most pines can be difficult to grow well in the St. Louis area in large part because of soil and climate.

Garden Uses

Small weeping shrub or prostrate groundcover. Cascade over walls. Staked or grafted plants make interesting accents to the landscape.