This under-used pine, native to the western United States, is more tolerant of alkaline soils than the Eastern white pine. The dark blue green needles help this tree stand out in the landscape.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks
Tree or Plant Type:
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet),
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Edible fruit
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early spring,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
Best in full sun with moist, well-drained soils; tolerant of part shade.
Adaptable to dry soil and wind once established.
Better tolerance of salt spray than other 5-needled pines.
Disease, pest, and problem
Less troubled by pests and diseases than other pines.
Disease, pest and problem resistance
Branches are flexible and less prone to storm damage.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the Rocky Mountains in Western U.S. and Canada
Bark color and texture
Young trees have smooth, light gray bark. Older trees develop a blocky, scaly texture and turn grayish brown.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Needles are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long, in bundles of 5 and tend to be clustered at tips of branches.
The dark bluish-green needles slightly curved or twisted, persisting 5 to 6 years.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Monoecious (male and female flowers on the same tree in separate structures), male flowers clustered, female flowers solitary or in 2's or 3's
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Cones are 3 to 6 inches long, upright at youth, turning pendulous at maturity.
Cultivars and their differences
Extra Blue limber pine (Pinus flexilis 'Extra Blue'): This cultivar has more intense blue color and is fast growing. Grows 25 feet high and 15 feet wide.
Vanderwolf’s Pyramid limber pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’ ): This cultivar is faster growing than the species and has a very upright pyramidal habit. The needles are a bright blue-green color and twisted.