ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANT OF PINE TREES, Pinus parviflora, the Japanese white pine, can be a little difficult to find but is worth the effort. Its foliage has a soft appearance with needles that are shorter than most pines—only 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long, slightly twisted, and a soft grassy green with a touch of white or silver.
THE NATURALLY SLOW GROWING PINE typically reaches only 25 to 45 feet tall in the landscape. It tends to be conical when young but becomes wide-spreading with maturity. It is often picked for the garden because of its slightly sculptural shape, but requires a space at least 25 to 30 feet wide in order to grow naturally there.
PLANT IN FULL SUN IN AN AREA that is well-drained and where there is adequate space to grow. Japanese white pine is more tolerant of moist soils than most pines, but areas with excessively moist soils should be avoided. Small, attractive oval cones—1-1/2 to 4 inches long—are produced annually and can remain on the plant for several years before dropping.
SEVERAL CULTIVARS ARE AVAILABLE, but ‘Glauca’ is the most readily available one. Its foliage is covered with a whitish material that makes it look even softer and slightly bluish.
THIS PINE IS MOST NOTABLE for its use in the art of bonsai. A 375-year-old Japanese white pine bonsai can be seen at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.
ASK THE GARDENER
by Angie McManus
Would you please give me a list of camellias that would grow well in Louisville, and where and when to plant?
Camellias are a staple in any Southern garden. Fortunately for Kentuckians, there are camellias that can be grown successfully here. Although there are exceptions, Camellia sasanqua are generally more cold-hardy than Camellia japonica. The flowers are not typically as large as the japonicas, but the sasanqua have been hybridized so that they are available in an array of flower colors as well as size.
In Kentucky, camellias are best planted in the spring or summer if you are going to be around to water them. Even though some are more cold-hardy than others, it is a good idea to get them in the ground earlier in the year so that the roots can establish themselves before the cold winter arrives.
These acid-loving plants are happiest growing in a space where they will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. If you are interested in having your soil tested for acidity, you should contact your county’s Cooperative Extension Service.
The Ackerman hybrids developed at the U.S. National Arboretum are all good choices for this area. Any of the winter series will do well in your new garden. ‘Pink Icicle,’ ‘Two Marthas,’ ‘Taylor’s Perfection,’ and ‘Freedom Bell’ are other cultivars to consider.
HAVE A GARDENING QUESTION?
Go to www.KentuckyLiving.com, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”