This unique conifer is not a true pine, but its elegant foliage does look rather pine-like. Japanese umbrella pine has an attractive pyramidal shape and is fairly slow growing but quite long-lived. Its glossy deep green needles are long (3 to 5 inches), narrow and arranged in whorls around the stems, like umbrella ribs. Mature trees bear small rounded cones. With age, it develops attractive peeling reddish brown bark, but the dense foliage often hides the bark from view. Its distinctive shape and unique foliage makes Japanese umbrella pine an excellent specimen plant, adding a dramatic upright accent to your landscape.
Common name: Japanese umbrella pine
Botanical name: Sciadopitys verticillata
Plant type: Evergreen tree
Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 25 to 40 feet
• Sun: Full sun or partial shade
• Soil: Prefers moist, fertile, slightly acidic loam soils
• Moisture: Evenly moist
• Mulch: 2 to 3 inches of pine needles, wood chips, or other organic mulch
• Pruning: Rarely needed
• Fertilizer: In spring, topdress with compost or apply fertilizer as needed.
Pests and diseases
• No major pest or disease problems.
• ‘Wintergreen’ has a dense, conical form and deep green foliage that does not discolor in winter.
• ‘Joe Kozey’ has a narrow, spire-like form with short, sturdy side branches.
• ‘Ossorio Gold’ has golden foliage and is best planted in partial shade.
• Plant Japanese umbrella pine where it is protected from strong winds that can dry and damage the foliage.
• Japanese umbrella pine’s dark green foliage makes a perfect foil for shrubs or small trees that have brightly colored fall foliage or persistent, colorful fruit.
All in the family
• Japanese umbrella pine is the sole species in its family, Sciadopityaceae.
Where to buy
• Bethlehem Nursery, Bethlehem CT; www.bethlehemnursery.com
• Rare Find Nursery, Jackson NJ; 732-833-0613; www.rarefindnursery.com
• Song Sparrow Nursery, Avalon WI; 1-800-553-3715; www.songsparrow.com