fbpx Mugo pine | The Morton Arboretum

Mugo pine

Needles and cone of mugo pine.

Mugo pine is a small to large-sized, shrubby pine adapted for the home landscape. Plants vary in height, texture, and year-round color. Needles remain on plant for up to 5 years.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Pinus mugo

All common names:

Mugo pine, Swiss mountain pine, Mugho pine, Creeping pine, Dwarf mountain pine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
  • Medium shrub (5-8 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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • midwinter,
  • late winter,
  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size & Form

A dense evergreen shrub to multi-trunked dwarf tree. It can vary in size from 5 to 20 feet tall and wide.
Very slow growth rate.

Tree & Plant Care

Prefers a deep, well-drained, loose soil, quite adaptable to high pH soil.
Best in full sun, but one of the few pines to tolerate part shade and windy sites.
Prune lightly for more compact shape by removing part of the new candles (spring growing shoots).
Easily transplanted, does not have a tap root.

Disease, pests, and problems

This plant is susceptible to pine needle scale and pine sawflies.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to mountainous areas in Central and Southern Europe.

Bark color and texture 

Gray brown and scaly but does not peel. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Needles arranged in bundles of two; stiff and slightly curved needles.
Needles are 1 to 3 inches long, bright green color with a serrated margin.
Needles persist for 5 years.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

No ornamental value

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A dark gray ovoid cone, 1 to 2 inches long, held in clusters of 2 to 4, or found alone.
Slightly pendulous, tip of cone surrounded by a darker ring.

Cultivars and their differences 

Donna's Mini Dwarf Mugo (Pinus mugo 'Donna's Mini'): A dense low mounded, miniature evergreen reaching 12 to 18 feet high and 18 to 24 inches wide.

Enci Mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Enci’):  This cultivar grows 3-4 feet high and 3-5 feet wide with a mounded shape.

Slowmound Dwarf Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'Slowmound): Rounded, 2 to 3 feet high and wide. Dark green folage, excellent for rock gardens.

Tannenbaum Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'Tannenbaum'): Compact, pyrimidal shape, 10 to 12 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide; dark green foliage.

White Bud Dwarf Mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'White Bud'): A 2 to 3 feet high and wide, low mounded dwarf evergreen. Dark needles have a white, waxy winter bud coating adding winter interest.

Location of Pinus mugo (Mugo pine) at the Arboretum