Japanese Umbrella Pine Tree
Japanese Umbrella Pine Leaf
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Japanese Umbrella Pine Tree
Japanese Umbrella Pine Leaf
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Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 15-20'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Japanese Umbrella Pine

Sciadopytis verticillata

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Japanese Umbrella Pine is a rare and exquisite evergreen tree that is sure to spark conversation when planted in your landscape.  This choice pyramidal conifer gets its name from the way its foliage is arranged in distinctive tufts—like umbrella spokes—along the branches.  Its waxy green needles are handsome and glossy—so glossy in fact, you might find your guests touching them to see if they’re real!  Give this slow-growing legacy tree a place of honor in your landscape, where it will be the pride of the garden for years (even centuries!) to come.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 15-20'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

Japanese Umbrella Pine is really a special tree.  Technically, it isn’t a Pine, but belongs to a family all its own, with no living relatives.  Like the Ginkgo tree, this unusual conifer is a “living fossil” that has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth 230 million years ago.  Japanese Umbrella Tree once grew in North America and Europe, but is now found in the wild only in Japan.  The Japanese consider this noble evergreen tree to be one of their five most sacred trees, and ancient specimens stand guard over several holy shrines there.

The Details

Umbrella Pine is known as “koyamaki” in Japanese.  A koyamaki in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan is said to be over 700 years old.  Locals believe it possesses a female spirit with the power to grant the wish of bearing healthy children to women who touch it.  You will also find koyamaki at some Japanese hotels.  The wood of this tree is water resistant and has a spicy fragrance, and some luxury hotels feature “koyamaki” baths.

How to Grow

Native to the “cloud forests” of Japan, this elegant specimen tree dislikes extremes of hot or cold weather, though it thrives in many parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.  A site protected from strong winds and intense afternoon sunlight will suit it best, and the soil should remain moist but not soggy.  Given these comforts, Japanese Umbrella Tree is remarkably problem free and low maintenance.  In youth, it naturally takes a formal Christmas-tree shape, but in time this tree will open up a bit.  If you prefer it to keep that tight pyramidal shape, you can lightly sheer your Umbrella Tree when the new growth emerges in spring.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 8
Exposure Sun/Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 30'
Avg Mature Width 20'
Spacing 15-20'
Growth Rate Slow
Leaf Color Green
Fruit Color Brown
Fruit Time Fall
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award Yes
Attractive Bark Yes
Attracts Birds Yes
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native No
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches Yes
Shade Tolerance Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions No
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I hard prune (remove 1/3 of the foliage) my Umbrella Pine in spring to help keep the plant more dwarf?

Answer: Umbrella Pine can be pruned like any other evergreen - the flush to be cut to stop stretch - selectively cutting back to older wood to a clean point where branches are formed - slowly and methodically choose cuts to thin and reduce foliage while keeping the shape of the tree. This, with regular shearing at flush will hold the growth back and can even reduce it.

However, eventually the natural beauty or look of the Umbrella Pine will be sacrificed controlling the size. The tree wants to grow out and up. 

Recommendation is to prune annually, opening up the growth and moving toward a more open appearance. Removing 1/3 of the foliage may be on the extreme side but is doable. Begin work on this early April, not earlier and most certainly before he spring flush.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

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Japanese Umbrella Pine Tree
Japanese Umbrella Pine Leaf