Mugo Pine

Pinus mugo

Family: Pine

Type: Tree

Other Common Name: Mugho Pine, Swiss Mountain Pine

Mugo Pine, scientifically known as Pinus mugo, is a versatile and robust evergreen shrub. Known for its dense, conical shape and dark green needles, it’s a popular choice for both ornamental and practical landscaping purposes. This hardy pine is particularly valued for its adaptability and ease of maintenance.

Growing typically to a height of 3-5 feet with a similar spread, Mugo Pine is ideal for smaller gardens or spaces where a compact evergreen is desired. Its slow growth rate and manageable size make it a favored choice for landscaping. The shrub’s needle-like leaves provide year-round color and texture, making it a staple in many garden designs.

Mugo Pine is resilient, tolerating a variety of conditions including cold climates and different soil types. It thrives best in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. This pine’s rugged nature and attractive appearance make it a reliable and visually appealing addition to any landscape.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 2b-3a

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Dry to average

Sun Needs: Full sun

Drought Tolerance (Xeriscape): Yes


Growth Rate: Slow

Average Height (feet): 20

Average Spread (feet): 25

Average Life Span (years): 70

Form: Upright spreading


Foliage Color: Green

Foliage Shape: Needle

Bark Color: Gray

Bark Texture: Rough

Landscaping Your Yard With Mugo Pine

Mugo Pine can serve as a foundation planting, offering a stable and evergreen backdrop for other garden plants. Its dense foliage provides excellent ground cover, and its symmetrical shape enhances the aesthetics of garden beds and borders. Plant it as a standalone feature or in groups for a more impactful display.

Incorporate this pine into rock gardens or alpine landscapes, where its compact form and evergreen nature complement the rugged terrain. It also works well in mixed shrub borders, adding structure and year-round interest. Mugo Pine is suitable for creating low hedges or for use in mass plantings.

Thanks to its manageable size, Mugo Pine is also an excellent choice for container gardening. It can add greenery to patios, decks, or balcony spaces, thriving in large pots with adequate drainage.


Suitable Garden Styles

Formal Garden

In formal garden settings, Mugo Pine adds symmetry and structure. Its neat, conical shape makes it suitable for creating geometric patterns and designs.

Japanese Garden

Mugo Pine is a natural fit for Japanese gardens. Its form and texture align with the aesthetic of tranquility and natural beauty that these gardens embody.

Alpine and Rock Gardens

In alpine and rock gardens, Mugo Pine thrives. Its tolerance for well-drained soil and compact growth habit make it ideal for these rugged landscapes.

Mugo Pine Landscaping Ideas

Plant Mugo Pine along pathways or driveways for a structured look. Its slow growth rate and evergreen nature make it perfect for low-maintenance edging. Grouping several plants together creates a dense, green barrier.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Mugo Pine maintains its lush green appearance, providing a fresh look in the garden as other plants begin to bloom.


During summer, the pine continues to offer vibrant green foliage. It stands resiliently through the heat, serving as a steady green presence.


In the fall, while other plants begin to lose their leaves, Mugo Pine remains unchanged. Its enduring needles provide a constant in the garden's color palette.


Winter highlights the strength of Mugo Pine. Its evergreen needles persist through the cold, offering color and structure in the otherwise barren winter garden.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Mugo Pine is best planted in an area that receives full sun to partial shade. It’s ideal for garden beds, rockeries, or as a structural element in mixed borders where its evergreen nature can be appreciated year-round.


Full sun to partial shade is optimal for Mugo Pine, with full sun encouraging the densest growth and best needle color. It's adaptable, however, and can still thrive in partial shade.


Well-drained soil is essential for Mugo Pine. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay, as long as they do not retain excess moisture.


Space Mugo Pine plants about 4-5 feet apart. This spacing allows enough room for their natural spread and ensures healthy growth and air circulation.

When to Plant

The best time to plant Mugo Pine is in the spring or early fall. These cooler temperatures help the plant establish itself before the extremes of summer or winter.

How to Plant

Plant at the same depth it was in the container. Loosen the soil around the planting hole to encourage root growth. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

Plant Care Tips


Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, Mugo Pine is drought-tolerant but benefits from occasional watering during prolonged dry periods.


Fertilize Mugo Pine in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing to prevent excessive growth.


Pruning is generally not necessary for Mugo Pine, as it maintains its shape well. If needed, light pruning can be done in late winter or early spring to shape or remove damaged branches.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, check for any winter damage and prune as necessary. Apply fertilizer to support new growth.

Summer Care

During summer, ensure Mugo Pine is watered during extended periods of drought to maintain health and appearance.

Fall Care

In fall, no specific care is needed as the plant prepares for dormancy.

Winter Care

Winter care is minimal. Mugo Pine is cold-hardy and requires no additional protection.


How Fast Does Mugo Pine Grow?

Mugo Pine has a slow to moderate growth rate, making it a low-maintenance choice for landscaping.

Is Mugo Pine Deer Resistant?

Yes, Mugo Pine is generally considered deer resistant. Its needle-like foliage is not a preferred food source for deer.

Can Mugo Pine Be Grown in Containers?

Mugo Pine can be grown in containers, especially dwarf varieties. Ensure the container is large enough and has good drainage.

Products That Feature This Plant

Shades of Evergreen

Subscribe to get a free garden blueprint

Get the latest tips, trends, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.
Subscribe today, pick a free garden blueprint you like, and grow with us!

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter!

A big thank you for subscribing to the PBN Design newsletter.

We're thrilled to have you join our community. Get ready for exciting updates, insightful content, and more delivered straight to your inbox.

Stay tuned!

Go back

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter!

A big thank you for subscribing to the PBN Design newsletter.

We're thrilled to have you join our community. Get ready for exciting updates, insightful content, and more delivered straight to your inbox.

Stay tuned!

Go back