Pinus densiflora 'Alice Verkade'
Common Name: Japanese red pine 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Deer


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 a large pine native to rocky slopes, hillsides, and lakeshores in Japan, Korea, northeastern China and far southeastern Russia. It will soar to 100’ in the wild, but in cultivation is more likely to reach 40-60’ tall. This pine has a medium growth rate in its early years (to 12” per year). It is noted for its irregular but frequently graceful form and its flaky, 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 are often crooked or leaning. 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. Needles may yellow in winter.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for pines.

Specific epithet means densely-flowered, which, although this plant is non-flowering, refers to the abundant production of small cones.

'Alice Verkade' was selected by John Verkade of J. Verkade Nursery in Asbury, New Jersey. Described as looking like a miniature 'Tanyosho' or 'Umbraculifera' pine, it is a wide-spreading, dense, dwarf evergreen that grows into a compact, rounded dome. It has soft, long, grass green needles and a reddish brown trunk. Generally wider than tall, it will grow slowly to 2 to 3 ft. tall and wide. It won an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012.


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.


Specimen pine. Also used for bonsai.