Home > Connect > Plant Spotlight: Mops Mugo Pine
Plant Spotlight: Mops Mugo Pine
Plant Spotlight: Mops Mugo Pine

Mugo Pine

Plant Spotlight: Mops Mugo Pine

There are many new exciting dwarf cultivars of conifers which gives us homeowners
in the colder zones of the country plenty of options for winter interest. I am
all for this and look forward to trialling a number of them in my own gardens.
But because new introductions have not been in commerce long, it can be a gamble
if the plant will perform as it is supposed to. One evergreen shrub we turn to
at scott flanagan landscape when we are looking for something dependable and low
maintenance is the Mops mugo pine (Pinus mugo 'Mops').

The mugo pine is one tough conifer - it is hardy to USDA zone 2 (-50 degrees F) and
is very adaptable, tolerating drought, wind, salt, alkaline soil and even some shade
which is unusual for pine species. The downside to the mugo pine is that it is highly
variable when grown from seed. Even those varieties commonly called called dwarf,
such as P. mugo var pumilo or P. mugo var. mughus can get over 10 feet tall after
15 years.

Of course, plants do not stop growing as long as they are healthy and usually the
size listed for trees and shrubs is the size after 10-20 years. However, we have
found that the Mops mugo pine does stay very compact even after many years, measuring
2-3 feet tall and wide after 10 years. Iseli Nursery originally brought this cultivar
to trade and a specimen they have is well over 30 years old and is 5 feet tall by 7 feet
wide. This particular cultivar was discovered in 1951, so it is safe to say it's
tried and true.

Besides being useful, I think this is a very attractive plant. It has very dense
branching and the individual needles are somewhat short, giving it a bristled or
bottle brush texture. The density of Mops mugo pine is a nice pop of green in the
winter months and creates a solid backdrop to showcase shorter annual and perennials
during the growing season. In our experience, Mops will thrive just about anywhere
except constantly wet soils or heavy shade.


Iseli's 30+ year old specimen

Nicole Gear
scott flanagan landscape

Scott Flanagan Landscape    708.460.5884    sfl@scottflanaganlandscape.com