TREES & plants

Swiss stone pine

Swiss stone pine is a dense, narrow pyramidal evergreen tree that provides dark green color in the landscape. Native to the mountains of Europe and Asia. A picturesque evergreen for the smaller landscape.

Botanical name: 
Pinus cembra
All Common Names: 
Swiss stone pine, arolla pine
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Mature Height: 
30-40 feet
Mature Width: 
15-25 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Edible fruit
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
  • Early spring
  • Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Pink
Shape or Form: 
  • Columnar
  • Narrow
  • Pyramidal
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • No
  • Small mammals
More Information: 

Size & Form

A narrow pyramidal evergreen  reaching 25 to 35 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide.
Open and flat-topped with age. Branches tend to droop as plant matures.

Tree & Plant Care

Best sited in  a well-drained, loamy soil in an open areas in full sun.
ransplants well, needs little pruning for a strong structure
Due to its slow growth rate, this is an excellent choice for small landscapes.

Disease, pests, and problems

Resistant to most pests and diseases.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to mountains of Europe and parts of Asia
Cold hardy to zone 3

Bark color and texture 

Mature branches are dark with scaly plates.
New stems orange-brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Stiff, but soft 3 inch long  needles in bundles of 5 with a blue green to light green color.
Sometimes needles are twisted.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Terminal, 2 to 3 inch long cones do not open on the tree but require 3 years to mature and drop in the spring.

Cultivars and their differences 

'Columnaris' ( Pinus cembra 'Columnaris')- A common form of the species, with blue-green needles and a dense, narrow habit.