Pine tree, Pinus pinea - care of the pine

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Pine tree, Pinus pinea - care of the pine: Pinus

The pine, pinus pinea, embodies by its appearance a Mediterranean flair, because it is at home around the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, a pine can be cultivated with the appropriate winter protection in our latitudes. A pine can grow up to 250 years old. Their seeds are edible.
Pine trees, Pinus pinea, come from the Mediterranean and can be easily recognized by their umbrella-shaped crown and their extremely long needles. The tree is often referred to as Mediterranean pine, umbrella pine or Italian stone pine. Pines grow extremely slowly and are therefore interesting for German gardens. However, Pinus pinea are not hardy and tolerate only short-term frost to -15° C. As a pure garden plant they absolutely need a winter protection. Pines are suitable as potted plants that spend the winter in a frost-free room.


Pines are the only conifers that can be kept permanently in the house. The pine needles spread a spicy scent. They are up to 18 cm long and stay on the tree for about four years. Later, a dense layer of dead needles forms on the ground under the tree, which can hardly be inflamed. Pines are monoecious, because male and female seeds grow on a tree. After 15 to 20 years, pines start to produce seeds. The male cones then spread in May yellow pollen. Male cones form in the lower crown area. Female cones appear in the upper crown area. The cones grow very slowly. After two years, the decorative cones are about eight inches long. Fertilization of the cones takes place only about two years after pollination. In the following spring, the seeds can then be harvested. Pines are among the evergreen coniferous trees. Their bark turns from ash gray at a young age to reddish gray in age.


Pinus pinea needs a sheltered location. The tree can grow up to 25 meters high and up to eight meters wide. This should be considered when planting. Only in sunny locations does the tree develop its typical fungus growth habit. Pines are flat-rooters. The root depth of the main root is 1.8 meters. All other roots are superficial.
Tip: Container plants do not become so big and spreading!

Substrate & soil

Pines need a well drained, with stones and sand interspersed soil. The optimal mixing ratio is 2/3 soil and 1/3 sand. Torferde is not suitable. Heavy soil can be improved by the addition of sand. Possible materials for loosening the soil, also in planters, are lavagout, gravels, chippings, expanded clay or limestone quarry. Pines in pots need a location that provides at least three hours of sunlight per day for healthy growth. They are repotted every two to three years.

Fertilize & Pour

The pine can be fertilized once a month. In winter, the fertilization is suspended, because then the pine makes a break in growth.
Pines tolerate a lot of dryness, because the needles are rolled up leaves and have an evaporation protection. Nevertheless, they grow the healthiest and fresh green needle color if they receive regular water. If there is too little moisture, the ornamental trees will edge.
Tip: With too much moisture and cold, the roots rot!

To cut

Pines form a typical umbrella or mushroom crown. By stitching, the process can be accelerated. Every autumn, the two lower rows of branches are completely removed. To limit the growth of pines in planters, hobby gardeners remove 2/3 of the fresh shoot tips early in the spring even before the needles unfold.
Tip: Never cut into the old wood! The pine will not work anymore.


Pines can be grown from seeds. Since the cultivation takes place in the house the sowing is possible all year round. To do this, open the shell of the pine nut and place the soft core in room-warm water for twelve hours. Then the pine kernel comes into a pot with soil. The germination temperature is around 20° C. The pot should be bright but not too sunny and watered regularly. The seedling shows up after about two weeks. Now the mini-line is placed in a bright place, but not in the full sun. The seedlings are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and drafts. If the pine is bigger then it needs a full sun on the windowsill. After about five years, the tree is big enough to be transplanted to the garden.
Tip: The pine nuts can be found inside the pine cone. They fall down in nature from a great height and burst. In culture, the cores must be opened by hand.


The pine tree feels good in the garden from April to October, in protected locations also until November. If the tree remains outdoors in the winter, then it must be protected against frost with brushwood, straw or fleece mats. Pine in pots overwinter at 3° C to 10° C.In winter, the pine needs less moisture. The earth should not dry out though. The emergence of long thin shoots can be prevented by a bright location. In the case of large trees, the branches should be tied up in the winter with the antifreeze upwards before the wrapping. This reduces the snow load. Pinus Pinea is a decorative specimen plant in a Mediterranean garden design. In pots she finds a place on the balcony and terrace or in the unheated conservatory.

Pests / diseases


Pines are usually not attacked by pests. Their biggest enemies are cold, snow break or fire. The pine processional spinner damages the needles of the pine. Infestation by the pine winder causes damage to the bark and fresh shoots. The native bark beetle sometimes nestles in pines. If infested, the branches become unstable.

Frequently asked questions

  • Where are young trees offered?
Small finished pines are offered in nurseries and garden centers. They are around 30-40 cm tall.
  • Which related species are there?
The Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) is referred to as False Pine. The Scots pine (Pinus silvestris) with about 10 cm long needles can be found in native forests.
  • Is there a hardy pine?
The Arola pine (Pinus cemba) grows in Switzerland. It is absolutely frost resistant.

Worth knowing about the pine shortly

  • A pine tree is grown over its seeds. The core, which is surrounded by a hard shell, is located inside the pin.
  • He has to be put into a potty with soil without bowls.
  • Then it is covered with soil and placed in a place that is as warm as possible, yet shady.
  • If the seedling has about 20° C heat over 2 weeks and has enough liquid, it can start germinating after just 2 weeks.
  • When the seedling shows up, it may move to a brighter place, but not into the sun.
  • However, pine seedlings are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations and draft. So some prudence is required.
plant out
  • The pine grows very slowly and may only be planted in the garden after 5 years.
  • Then it should be sufficiently hardy to withstand temperatures down to -15° C.
  • Some copies do, but not all.
  • Because of the frost sensitivity, it is always better in very cold winters to give the pup a good winter protection, e.g. with brushwood or similar.
  • The soil in which the tree is planted should be as permeable to air as possible and permeable to water. The best is sandy soil.
  • The soil should not dry out, it is best to pour it regularly - but: too much is not good.
  • You can fertilize the pine tree about once a month.
  • Only after about 3 years, the cones are fully matured, so you can harvest the pine nuts.
  • They are very tasty and by the way should be consumed fairly quickly.
Other notes
  • If it is planted in the garden, it can reach a height of up to 25 meters - this should be remembered beforehand.
  • Leaving it in the bucket, it remains much smaller. Then there can be problems with cold temperatures.
  • Many consider the pine tree as a houseplant anyway - this one must put it over the winter in a bright and cool place.
  • In the garden, a pine always brings a bit of "Mediterranean flair" with it, as it is not found here too often in the gardens.

Video Board: Pinus pinea (Stone Pine).

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