The Complete Guide for Shore Pine (Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta) Care

The Shore Pine, otherwise known as the Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta is a pretty well known tree plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this tree will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Shore Pine Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

In order to take proper care of your Shore Pine you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Shore Pine grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.
  • Light: Keep your Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Shore Pine in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Shore Pine is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Shore Pine up close

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Shore Pine belongs to the Pinaceae family, the genus Pinus and the species Parviflora, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta. Other common Pinaceae species include Abies Lasiocarpa ‘Glauca Compacta’, ‘Low Glow’ Japanese Red Pine, Abies koreana ‘Alpine Star’, Lantana Camara ‘Monike’ Plant Patent #17,612, Physocarpus Opulifolius ‘Podaras 3’ Plant Patent #22362, Red Cone Norway Spruce, Picea Mariana ‘Nana’, Pinus Flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’S Pyramid’, Pinus Strobus ‘Nana’, Pinus Sylvestris ‘Glauca Nana’, Raspberry Lemonade™ Ninebark, Austrian Pine, Loblolly Pine, Mountain Pine ‘Mops’, Nest Spruce, Picea Abies ‘Pumila’, Abies Concolor ‘Blue Cloak’, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Golden Deodar Cedar, Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Pinus Densiflora ‘Umbraculifera Compacta’, Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine, Abies Balsamea ‘Nana’, Pinus Mugo variety “Pumilio”, Purity Pieris and Pinus Mugo ‘Sherwood Compact’.

As with other Pinus’s, the Shore Pine is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Shore Pine is a plant native to the Japan and Korea.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Shore Pine is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta will be most used to the heat zones in the 6 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Shore Pine is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Shore Pine actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta can grow up to 35′ – 50′ (10.5m – 15m) tall and 35′ – 50′ (10.5m – 15m) wide. 


In terms of watering, the Shore Pine is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Shore Pine plants

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Shore Pine in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Shore Pine then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Shore Pine needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Shore Pine prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Shore Pine requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this tree will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Shore Pine will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


The Shore Pine produces some wonderful brown/copper and red/burgundy flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Shore Pine have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a needles and simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Shore Pine fruits

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Shore Pine is well known for its tolerance to salt, drought and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Pinus Contorta Var. Contorta will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Shore Pine will look best in it.

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of japanese garden, coastal garden, informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Shore Pine’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a coastal exposure, or a specimen.

Companion Plants

Shore Pine’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Acer, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Rhododendron will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Shore Pine, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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