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Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant Profile

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Dwarf mugo pine plants are excellent for landscaping and gardening, but many people don't know much about them. Dwarf mugo pine trees are great for a number of reasons.

They're easy to grow, versatile, and resemble an evergreen tree found in nature. The dwarf mugo pine can be used for a variety of purposes, including as home or office decor and even as Christmas tree decorations.

If you're looking for something different that resembles an evergreen tree found in nature, then this is the perfect choice for you because it's very easy to care for and will thrive indoors or outdoors with minimal effort from you. This article outlines everything you need to know about Dwarf Mugo Pine. Read on!

What is Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant?

Mugo pine, also known as Pinus mugo, is a popular dwarf conifer that is rugged, hardy, and has dark green needles on dense branches. Mugo pines are genetic descendants of much taller evergreen trees native to mountainous regions of Europe.

What is Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant?
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Many dwarf mugo pines are hardy to USDA zones two, and they do not do well in areas with overly hot summers. As with many shrubs, spring is a traditional planting time, as this gives the plant plenty of time to settle in and develop new roots before the winter cold arrives. This species is not originally from North America, but it's a native plant in Central Europe, Balkans.

The mugo pine can also be planted in the early fall, provided you give it enough time before frost to settle in. Avoid planting it in the heat of mid-summer. Pinus mugo is also a slow-growing evergreen that can take up to ten years to achieve its maximum size. This allows you to plant it in tight places without needing to prune it too often. Another great selling point of pinus mugo is that it's deer resistant.

How to Grow Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant

Dwarf mugo pines usually grow well in almost any soil other than dense clay. It prefers cool conditions and has a good tolerance for urban environments. To plant it, growers usually recommend digging a large planting hole, amending the soil if it's clay or peat moss if the soil is sandy.

How to Grow Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant
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Remove the plant from its nursery container, gently loosen the roots, position the shrub in the hole and pack the amended soil around the root ball. Tamp the soil as you go to remove air pockets, then water thoroughly. Mugo pine roots grow close to the surface, so it's a good idea to mulch around the base to keep the roots cool, especially in climates with hot summers.

How to Care for Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant


In order for it to maintain its excellent form, texture, and color detail in the garden, this dwarf mugo needs full sun. While it will tolerate part shade at the northern end of its range, you'll see better performance if you plant the shrubs in full sun in these regions.

Soil Requirement

Dwarf mugo pine prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well drained soil. Mugo pine trees are also not fussy about soil pH and can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. They also tolerate various soil types, provided it drains well. Make sure you test the soil pH before planting your mugo pine tree. They do not like wet, dense soil. They also do well in sandy soil, provided it has some organic matter in it.


Mugo pines are drought tolerant once established. Water young trees regularly until they become well established, though, to establish deep root systems and then water them 1 or 2 times a week during periods of little moisture. It is critical that the soil drains well and does not stay wet for any period of time as this will cause root rot. It will die if left in standing water.


Fertilize your dwarf mugo annually with compost or another organic soil amendment. Dwarf mugo pine trees do not need applied fertilizers, though a spring application will help their growth. Make sure you know how to make compost to avoid using chemical fertilizer as much as possible on your beautiful tree.

Temperature and Humidity

These cultivars can survive both hot summers and cold winters. They rarely suffer winter burn on the foliage from the drying winds of winter, as do arborvitae and some other evergreens.

Pruning Mugo Pine Trees

Don't worry if you find your mugo growing beyond the dwarf size you were expecting. Mugo pines can be pruned with almost any technique, making them ideal for bonsais or topiaries. Prune candles to keep tight to maintain a dense habit of growth.

Pruning Mugo Pine Trees
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Dwarf mugo pine is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will thrive in inner city environments. It's a rather low maintenance shrub, and if pruning is necessary, it's recommended to only trim back the current season's new growth, other than to remove any dieback.

Common Pests and Diseases

Most dwarf mugo pines are virtually maintenance-free, barring any insect or disease problems that are not common. However, you should watch out for pine sawfly and pine needle scale, as well as various moths and borers, tip blights, rots, and rusts.

Insecticidal soaps are the first option for treating most insects, but you can use chemical pesticides if necessary. Fungicides applied in the spring can be used if your shrub suffers from a fungal disease.

Dwarf Varieties of Mugo

Pinus mugo Compacta

This variety has dark green needles on dense branches and grows three to four feet tall and two to four feet wide. It's hardy in USDA zones 2 through 8.

Pinus Mugo Sherwood Compact

This is a true dwarf that is densely needled with a rounded shape. It's slow growing and matures at two feet tall and wide. It's hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7.

Pinus Mugo Enci

This is a dense, slow growing shrub with short needles. It's hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7.

Pinus Mugo Gnome

This small, flat top form variety grows slowly, topping out at only 18 to 24 inches tall and 3 feet wide. It's hardy in USDA zones 3 through seven.

Pinus Mugo Mops

This variety has a dense growth habit that works well in confined places. It grows slowly to about four feet tall and two to three feet wide, taking 30 years to do so. It's hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7.

FAQS on Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant Profile

Where doesn't mugo pine grow best?

Native to European mountain areas such as the Alps, Carpathians, and Pyrenees, hence the name mountain pine, mugo pine thrives in cool temperatures and high elevations.

What is the importance of mugo pine in a landscape?

Mops and other short mugo pines can function effectively as a low hedge or ground cover as well as foundation plantings or as evergreens for rock gardens.

Final Thought on Dwarf Mugo Pine Plant Profile

As you can see, the dwarf mugo pine plant has several uses. Plus, this pine tree is easy to grow and care for. So, don't leave your rock garden empty if you have space for this dwarf mugo pine.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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