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Thunderhead Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’)

When the Thunderhead Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’) grows, it can look a bit like the creature from the black lagoon crawling out of the pond to eat you. But in a good way! I swear. The multi-lobed mounded form is intriguing rather than scary as it grows in a sprawling and somewhat haphazard looking fashion, adding an asymmetrical flare to any garden space.

ThunderHead PinePhoto by Mark Bolin CC BY SA 2.0 

Characterized by dark, glossy green needles and long white ‘candle-like’ buds during the spring, the Thunderhead Pine is an evergreen conifer that can be trained to grow either as a shrub or tree depending upon how you prune it. A smaller, dwarf version of the Japanese Black Pine, the Thunderhead takes its name from the billowy cloud-like tufts that form the multi-lobed look mentioned previously. So instead of looking for plants and animals in the cloud formations of the sky, you can look forward to seeing the amorphous shapes of the sky in your own backyard! Highly drought tolerant and deer resistant, the Thunderhead Pine makes a great option for xeriscaping and focal specimens.

ThunderHeadPine_NewGrowthPhoto by Andy Blackledge CC BY SA 2.0 

Thunderhead Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’) is a compact coniferous evergreen shrub native to Eastern Asia, grows best in zones 5-9, reaches a height of about 5-10 feet with a spread of 10-15 feet, prefers dry to average moisture levels in well-drained soils, flourishes best in full sun to partial shade, is highly drought tolerant and deer resistant (thus making it a great option for xeriscaping), and is most well-known for its multi-lobed mounding and spreading low growth habit.

If you’re as intrigued by the Thunderhead Pine as I am (or just really want to see the creature from the black lagoon in your own backyard), call 703-679-8550 to set up a consultation today!


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