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The Plant Guide

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Japanese umbrella pine

Sciadopitys verticillata

This glorious conifer constitutes the sole member of both its genus and plant family. It is without a peer in its beauty; on a mature specimen, its rich needles compose a sculpture of form, texture, and color that is unrivaled. The foliage develops a bronzy tint in winter. While it often grows to 30 feet in cultivation and 90 feet in the wild, its slow-growing nature inspires patience.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsNamed for the whorls of shiny, deep-green foliage encircling its branches like the ribs of an umbrella, this evergreen stands out in any crowd.

CareGrow in average, moist but well-drained soil in full sun with some shade at midday, or partial shade.

PropagationBecause of its slow growth it is best to purchase a sizable plant if possible. Sow seed in spring and root semi-ripe cuttings in summer.


  • Genus : Sciadopitys
  • Plant Width : 15 to 30 feet
  • Plant Height : 30 feet or more
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Tolerance : Frost Tolerant
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Characteristics : Interesting Bark, Showy Foliage, Showy Seed Heads
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Slow
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Plant Type : Trees
View Comments


  1. drtomconnair 01/23/2015

    What would cause drying of whorls at the top of the plant?

    1. olavkalleberg 10/27/2016

      If the roots are in frozen soil too long for a long period of time - when the sun is getting strong in the spring drying of whorls at the top may occur.

  2. aidreydaga 05/06/2015

    Does it need to covered in winter>

    1. olavkalleberg 10/27/2016

      It depends on the climate. Small plants/young plants - and more tender cultivars - may need cover in winter - especially if there is no snow.

  3. olavkalleberg 10/27/2016

    Warning: These plants are excellent - and they may be an addiction that will be expensive, but not harmful. I have about 100 plants - the oldest is 50 years old. 65 different cultivars.

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