Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine
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Bold and billowy like a storm cloud, Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine will have a dramatic presence in your landscape. This sturdy conifer forms a wide-sweeping mass of shining, deep forest–green needles held in stiff, upright clusters. In winter, the dark foliage sets off the silvery white candles beautifully, and when the candles extend in spring, the effect is enhanced. Who says you need flowers to put on an amazing display? Eventually the candles become more of that impeccable foliage. Let Thunderhead be the backdrop to all your fair-weather outdoor fun!
- Hardiness Zone: 6-9
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The Japanese Black Pine is a rugged tree that grows on the wave-battered shores of Japan and South Korea. In this challenging environment, the picturesque trees may reach only 20 feet tall; further inland, on more hospitable sites, they can soar to 100 feet. In the past, these taller trees were one of the most important sources of lumber in Japan. For hundreds of years they were popular in construction. Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine originated in the United States. This compact version arose from a crop of seedlings at Angelica Nurseries in Kennedyville, Maryland, in the mid-1980s.
This is no dainty foundation plant! Although you can keep Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine small through diligent pruning of the candles every year, this plant really wants to spread its wings. Give it room to shine and let it do double duty as a handsome, large privacy screen or a divider between one outdoor “room” and another.
How to Grow
The Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine is easy to please. Plant this tough evergreen beauty in full sun and in soil that drains freely. Water regularly to get it established; after the first year or two, it will be quite drought tolerant. Thunderhead prefers moderate temperatures and does best where it isn’t subjected to brutal winter cold or extreme summer heat. It flourishes on the coasts and copes well with the salt spray there. It also handles pollution, and strong winds are no problem as long as they aren’t accompanied by icy-cold temperatures.
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