Slowmound Mugo Pine - Tree FormPinus mugo 'Slowmound’
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Pinus mugo 'Slowmound’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Slowmound Mugo Pine Tree is a wonderful dense mound of branches attached to a short, thick trunk, making the perfect miniature evergreen tree. The short trunk holds up a rounded ball of branches growing 1 to 2 feet across, covered with closely-packed dark-green needles that stay for up to 10 years, forming a charming dense ball of green. Grow it as a specimen in a small bed, or in a rock garden. Use it in planters or pots to decorate a porch or patio. Put it in an ornamental pot in an Asian garden. Wherever you grow it this cute little guy will win hearts.
Grow the Slowmound Mugo Pine in full sun, or with no more than an hour or two or shade each day. It grows in any well-drained soil, from sand to clay, as well as in gravels, poor soils and in urban conditions. Pests and diseases are unusual, and easily dealt with, and this plant is drought resistant once established. It needs no trimming, as the growth is naturally short, bushy and compact.
The Mugo pine is without doubt one of the most popular and undemanding small evergreens there is. Its dark-green needles and mounded form make it ideal for foreground planting and in rock gardens. Some caution is needed, though, because this species is in fact very variable, and some individuals can grow large if they are not regularly trimmed. This is especially true of seedling trees, which can be unpredictable in form and size. That’s why it is important to grow a named variety, and that’s why, when we wanted our growers to put some mugo pines on short trunks to create miniature trees, we told them to choose the Slowmound Mugo Pine. As its name suggests, this is a special form that is renowned for its compact shape, forming a dome just one or two feet across; its reliable needle color and its dense growth; and last but not least, its toughness and year-round good looks. You won’t find better than this for a long-lived dwarf tree, you really won’t.
The Slowmound Mugo Pine Tree is a dwarf evergreen bush that has been made by attaching a special dwarf form of the mugo pine onto the top of a short trunk created from a seedling mugo pine. The result is a miniature tree, with a short, sturdy trunk and a rounded crown of many short branches, growing into a dense ball 1 or 2 feet across. With the trunk underneath it stands about 2 or 3 feet tall once the crown has grown. The short, dark-green needles densely encircle the stems, which are topped with shiny dark-brown buds. The needles are kept on the tree for 5 to 10 years, so it never becomes bare and open, as other pines do. In spring each stem produces a cluster of new short stems, with bright green needles, just an inch or two long, so trimming is never needed to keep this plant bushy, dense and small. As they mature the needles turn dark-green and that color is held well through summer and winter.
In smaller gardens and in small beds we often want some extra height, but most taller plants are also wide, or slender columns, which may not be the shape we want. The taller but rounded form of this small tree works perfectly in those situations, giving height and bulk without much width. It adds a perfect touch of charm anywhere in the garden, including in rock gardens and collections of other dwarf evergreens. It is also beautiful in a planter or pot, with or without smaller plants beneath it.
The Slowmound Mugo Pine Tree is amazingly cold-resistant. It grows easily in zone 3 without damage, and in all milder zones into zone 7. It does not grow so well in hot zones.
Full sun is best for the Slowmound Mugo Pine, keeping the growth dense, compact and a rich green. It will take an hour or two of shade each day, but no more, or it will begin to grow weak. It is reliable too when it comes to soil, growing easily in any well-drained soil, from sand to clay, including poor soils and urban gardens. Water regularly when newly-planted, but once established this plant has good drought resistance and needs no special care at all.
In some parts of the country there are a few pests that can attack mugo pine, but generally this plant is free of problems, and any potential issues like sawfly are easily taken care of. Some evergreen fertilizer in spring, sprinkled around your bush or applied as a liquid fertilizer, will encourage good growth and healthy coloring. Because this plant is naturally dwarf and compact it needs no trimming or ‘candling’ to stay that way – it’s very low maintenance. If any growth should start to grow directly from the trunk, remove it, because this is not the proper tree.
The mugo pine, or dwarf mountain pine, Pinus mugo, grows wild through the Alps of central Europe, in Switzerland, France and east into Austria, as well as down the Italian Apennines and into the Balkan peninsula. It has been grown in gardens for a very long time, and over that time many different forms have been found among seedlings. The most desirable are small and more compact than wild trees typically are, and usually found among batches of seedling plants. The variety called ‘Slowmound’ was discovered in 1975 as a seedling by Jean Iseli, at Iseli Nursery inc. in Boring, Oregon. Jean Iseli was a passionate collector of dwarf conifers who helped popularize them as garden plants, discovering and propagating many forms at his nursery. We had our skilled growers attach pieces of ‘Slowmound’ at the top of roots and short trunks from vigorous seedling mugo pines to create these great miniature trees.
The Slowmound Mugo Pine is so highly-regarded that Jean Iseli placed it in his Signature Plant collection, and also in his TRUdwarf® range, to show what an enormous advance it was over other mugo pines. We love these little guys, and how reliable and easy they are – and so do many other people. Best to order right away, as they won’t be in our stock lists for very long.