Narrow Japanese Black Pine ‘Kotobuki’


Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’, known as the Kotobuki Japanese Black Pine, is a moderately fast-growing, narrowly upright selection of Japanese black pine with short irregular branching and shorter-than-typical, extremely prickly, dark, grey-green needles. After 10 years of growth, an unpruned mature specimen will reach 1.5 m tall and approximately 1 m wide, with an annual growth rate of 10 to 15 cm. As is true with all Japanese pines, ‘Kotobuki’ is easily maintained by employing candle pruning and aesthetic pruning techniques. To candle prune, snap off new shoots in half with sterlised and sharp secateurs while the needles are still small. Several buds will form on this shortened stem, and more shoots will come the following year. This method creates a denser more compact form and accentuates the character and irregular, upright form of this tree.

‘Kotobuki’ is a very old cultivar that originated in Japan most likely centuries ago.  The Kotobuki Japanese Black Pine prefers full sun, in well-drained soil. It can thrive in hot, dry conditions once established, but also in moister, richer soils too. It tolerates poor soil, and coastal areas with salt laden winds. It has no pests and is not susceptable to disease. This specimen is ideal for bonsai, as an oriental garden specimen or in a large decorative pot.


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