Mugho pine (Pinus mugo mugo)

Quick facts and care essentials

• Evergreen
• Climate zones 1-11, 14-24, 32-45
• Full sun
• Regular to little watering

Also called dwarf mountain pine, this little conifer eventually achieves a height and width of 4 feet, with branching, upright stems evenly covered in 2-inch-long needles of a deep, dark true green. Thanks to its low growth, mugho pine can be used at the front of a border or anywhere you want year-round greenery in conifer form. Because it grows very slowly, start with a plant in a 15- or 5-gallon container.

Mugho pine does not need special soil; in nature, it often grows in slightly rocky areas with shallow topsoil. It does require good drainage, however. Roots grow near the surface; cover soil with a 2-inch-thick mulch to protect them. It performs best if left to grow naturally, so pick a plant with a pleasingly rounded form rather than trying to shape it later through pruning.