Pinus contorta var. contorta

shore pine

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Who is not impressed by the beauty and toughness of this versatile Pacific Northwest native pine? Shore pine will grow in almost any location provided there is enough sunlight. It is one of the few conifers that tolerates wet places as long as water is not standing all year long. Because of its exceptional tolerance of salt spray, it is a common sight in our coastal landscapes. It often grows on bluffs just above the crashing ocean waves. It responds well to pruning and can be shaped into fantastic, twisted forms suitable for Japanese gardens or adding whimsy to any home. Let the pine grow naturally, and it makes an evergreen backdrop or acts as a transition to more natural areas. Once it is established, this conifer is very drought tolerant, requiring no additional watering.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 35 ft. 0 in. (10.67 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 25 ft. 0 in. (7.62 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Wildlife Associations: birds

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, burgundy, variegated

Great Color Partners: silver, dark green, blue

Culture Notes
Shore pine grows best in full sun. It prefers well-drained or sandy soil, but will tolerate clay if the drainage is adequate. Once established it is completely drought tolerant. The roots are tolerant of restricted zones making it great for patio planters and large containers. It is fairly disease and insect free, although it can sometimes be attacked by a fungal rust gall. These galls can easily be pruned out and disposed of during the summer. Little pruning is needed to maintain its twisted habit; remove dead, broken or poorly formed limbs. New growth can be broken in half or pinched out to create a denser more compact tree.