Pinus Species, Big Pine, Norway Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Western Yellow Pine

Pinus ponderosa

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: ponderosa (pon-der-OH-suh) (Info)
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Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Prescott, Arizona

Amador City, California

Chico, California

Hayward, California

Sacramento, California

Yucca Valley, California

Boulder, Colorado

Aurora, Illinois

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Belfield, North Dakota

Dickinson, North Dakota

Bend, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon

La Pine, Oregon

Livingston, Texas

Orem, Utah

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 13, 2019, pokeyhontas from Bellingham, WA wrote:

Here in zone 8, ponderosa pine grows well. I have a spectacular one by my back door, over 100 years old, at least 100 feet tall, 8-10 feet around at 4 feet off the ground. No care required of course, even though we're out of it's native range. In 10 years I've never seen a seedling, though.


On Sep 28, 2015, nlafrance3 from Edmonton, AB (Zone 4a) wrote:

Ponderosa Pines are very dramatic with their large needle clusters. They are probably the most exotic looking pine for Alberta along with the Austrian Pine (Pinus Nigra). They grow very well upto zone2a and upto 100 ft tall. They can take severe drought when mature.


On Aug 19, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Some have been planted in the west suburbs of Chicago, IL, and do well in the usually silty-clay loam soils of pH about 7.0. A handsome stately large pine that does not get nearly as big as it does in its native habitat out in the West and its bark does not mature to as much to a heavy scaly form. It usually gets about 30 to 50 feet high in the Midwest landscapes. They look very much like the Austrian Black Pine that is the most commonly planted landscape pine in the area, due to its adaptability to alkaline soils and tougher conditions for pines. The ponderosa has longer needles to 10" long and in bundles of 2's and 3's while the Austrian has needles only in 2's and to 6" long.


On Mar 4, 2012, charlotte59 from Spokane, WA wrote:

I need help. Here in Spokane, many residential areas are canopied with the native ponderosas that were here before the houses were here. Although it is a tiny percentage of the "forest," a number of them do topple during winter storms. This generally happens when high winds (to 55 mph) follow precipitation that has resulted in water-soaked soil. Along with some firs, an oak and a maple, I have three ponderosas. All three are good-sized, but one is a huge, beautiful, healthy-looking tree that must be pretty old, though. I don't know how to care for the trees during the other three seasons to keep them standing. Should I water them deeply so their roots won't be too shallow to hold the tree fast during the storms? Or should I give them the summer drought that nature intends? (This... read more


On Aug 29, 2011, Larch16 from Kamloops, BC (Zone 5a) wrote:

We have 3 large ponderosa pines in our yard. They are beautiful trees and are very rewarding. Every time we go outside, the trees are full of wildlife. We see squirrels, chipmunks, sparrows, etc. They also provide good shade and give privacy to the yard. We haven't had any problems with these trees and highly recommend them for large yards.


On Feb 27, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Upper Midwest United States Note:

Ponderosa Pine is increasing popular in the plant trade - even for the Twin Cities - northern range stock plants are used for zone 3 and 4, even zone 5. Will tolerate a wide range of conditions so keep constantly moist won't apply to this species. Grows on mountain slope and decend down the mountain into areas where the levels of moisture is sufficient to make them grow so they have good drought tolerance but need to be watered from time to time. Competitions from Austrian Pine and Red Pine, 2 other long needle species of pine commonly grown in zone 4 and low public knowledge keep sales of this species at presently in third place for long needle pines.

For Upper Midwest ID:

Red Pines have shorter needles that b... read more


On Jan 11, 2005, WallaceR from La Pine, OR wrote:

The Ponderosa Pine can grow in excess of 150 feet tall.


On Nov 13, 2004, 433kfj from klamath falls, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

I don't know where they got the name "Norway Pine" from because this is "THE" native pine of western america. This is one of the largest pines that grow anywhere in the world. THE largest pine, frome my understanding, is the sugar-pine, and they can grow HUGE by any tree's comparison, except, of course, the red-wood and sequoia, which aren't pines. Eastern Oregon wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't for the "yellow-belly" pine. In early logging days , they called the young, black-barked trees "bull-pine", thinking they where a different kind that were chocking out the "yellow-bellies". My dad still calls them "bull-pine" but I have since shown him that they are only young ponderosa and they don't get a "yellow-belly" untill they're about 150 yrs old. This "bull-pine" stage is all anyone can... read more


On Apr 30, 2004, shawnkilpatrick from Fort Mohave, AZ (Zone 13a) wrote:

Although few in number, this pine grows well in the high desert areas of southern California. The Poderosas grow straight and maintain thick, green needles during the winters here, unlike the more common Eldarica and Aleppo Pines. I have two at my place in Yucca Valley (4000' Elv.) where we have blistering summers and dry, bone chilling winters. It's a shame they are not more commercially available for landscaping purposes in this area.


On Jun 6, 2003, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Grows very well in zone 3 and 4. Doesn't mind poor sandy soil and is pretty drought tolerant.