The Green Penguin Scots Pine is a dwarf evergreen that never gets too large, reaching 2 to 4 feet in about 10 years, and staying naturally dense without any trimming. It has a narrow conical top and a broader base, making it look exactly like a green penguin about to waddle across your garden. Unlike some other forms of the Scots Pine, it retains its rich-green foliage color all through the winter season. Use it as accent in a small bed, or to add variety to a collection of dwarf evergreens. It makes an easy-care plant for a collection of pots outdoors on a terrace or balcony, or a great gift for a child as an easy introduction to growing plants. It is very hardy, to at least zone 3, so if you love dwarf conifers, but live in a very cold area, this is a great plant for you.
- Upright, dense green pyramid
- Holds its color well in winter
- Charming dwarf evergreen never gets too big
- Easily grown in poor soil and urban conditions
- Never needs trimming to keep its special form
The Green Penguin Scots Pine grows in any well-drained soil, including poor, sandy or gravel soils. It will tolerate urban conditions too, so it’s the perfect choice for a town garden. It has no significant pests or diseases, needs no trimming, and once established it is moderately drought tolerant, so this is a very low-maintenance plant indeed. A little evergreen fertilizer in spring is helpful in reaching its maximum growth rate, but not entirely necessary, so just plant it, and leave your little green penguin to take care of himself – it’s easy.
Everyone loves small conical evergreens, and these plants make perfect specimens in small spaces, grow in pots or planters, and add interest and variety to any part of the garden. There are many available, but for charm and attractiveness, as well as cold-hardiness and all-round toughness, very few beat the Green Penguin Scots Pine. This little beauty adds two, three or four inches a year to its size, reaching on average about 3 feet in ten years’ time, and a foot or two across.
The Green Penguin Scots Pine has a dense form, and the needles are a rich green color. With its broader base and narrow top, it looks just like a little green penguin ready to waddle across your garden. When the new shoots emerge in spring, they have very short needles, giving an interesting textural difference against the longer, mature needles of the previous year.
Children will love the Green Penguin Scots Pine, and so will you. If you enjoy these conical evergreens, but live in a cold place, then the good news is that this plant is very hardy, growing in zone 3 and reliable even in the coldest parts of Duluth, Minnesota, where it has been tested for hardiness. Unlike many other forms of the Scots Pine, which are known to discolor in winter, turning yellowish, these little guys stay a rich green all year round, even through the coldest months of the year.
Growing Green Penguin Scots Pines
You can grow the Green Penguin Scots Pine in a sunny or perhaps lightly shaded spot, in almost any well-drained soil. This tree will grow well even in poor soil, and it is not bothered by urban conditions either. It has few if any pests or diseases, and it will grow steadily into a more attractive and mature specimen year on year. Use it as an accent plant in a bed of mixed evergreens of different forms and colors, or you can add it to the foundation planting around your home.
If you garden in pots and planters, it is a fantastic way to bring some height, and an attractive appearance, to any collection of potted outdoor plants. A group at the corner of a bed will make a focal point and add interest, and really, with these little guys you just can’t go wrong. It also makes an ideal gift plant for a child, who will love to grow this plant in their own part of the garden, and with such a clever name it is sure to be a favorite friend.
History and Origins of the Green Penguin Scots Pine
The Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) also called Scotch Pine, is the only pine tree native to northern Europe, growing from inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia across to Eastern Siberia, and southwards into the British Isles and down into the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is usually found growing on poor, sandy soil, and it thrives in those conditions in gardens too. It is of course the national tree of Scotland. It grows into a tall tree, often bare of branches until many feet up. Trees can easily top 100 feet tall, and the tallest known is 152 feet tall, in Estonia. The needles are 1 – 2 inches long, in pairs, slightly twisted, and green in color. The cones are 1 – 3 inches long, but the Green Penguin will probably never produce any cones.
The Green Penguin Scots Pine was found in the late 1990s at a nursery in Park Rapids, Minnesota, by Jim Lewis, who today has his own nursery in Oregon. He noticed an odd-looking seedling in a batch of Scots Pine seedlings, and he asked the other people he was working with should he keep it or throw it out. In the end he kept it, and as it grew he could see its form, so he named it ‘Green Penguin’.