I received two Italian stone pines (Pinus pinea) in pots. What kind of light and soil do they like? How tall do they grow? —Peg Banks, Plano, TX
Italian stone pines, sometimes called parasol pines, become large, picturesque trees with 5- to 7-inch needles in bundles of two. Their seeds are edible. In fact, most pignolias (the “pine nuts” we use in cooking) come from these trees. Unfortunately, they’re only suited to Zones 9 and higher.
I hope you’re planning to move your pines from their pots to your landscape. Since they’re relatively slow growing, you might be able to keep them in large containers for a few years. But eventually, these trees may grow up to 80 feet tall. Choose a location with lots of sun. Originating in the Mediterranean, these pines grow best in fairly poor, dry soil. Water to get them established, but don’t overdo it.