Pinus pinea, the stone pine

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The stone pine, known by the scientific name of Pinus pinea, is a conifer found throughout the Mediterranean region, especially in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. But, despite being very common, it has a quality that makes it a very interesting plant to have in the garden: its pine nuts, which are edible.

In addition, it withstands salinity, so that it can be planted near the coast (or even on the coast itself).

Origin and characteristics of the stone pine

Our protagonist is a conifer that grows up to 30 meters in height, known by the common names of Manso Pine, Doncel Pine or Stone Pine. It has a slow growth rate, but a very long life expectancy: up to 500 years.

It is characterized by having a more or less straight trunk, which has grayish plates separated by reddish cracks. Its crown is rounded and flattened, so it gives very good shade. Its leaves, called needles, are thin and green.

The fruit is an oval-spherical pineapple between 10 and 15cm in length that ripens in the third year. Pine nuts are covered by a hard rind, and they are edible.

How is it cared for?


If you want to have a stone pine in your garden, keep the following in mind:


It is a tree that has to be placed outside, in full sun. Because its roots are long and strong, it is important that it is at least ten meters away from pipes and others to avoid problems.


It depends on where you are going to be:

  • Garden: it must have good drainage, being able to grow in sandy soils, and even a few meters from the sea. If the soil has a tendency to compact and also has problems draining the water, it is advisable to make a hole of 1m x 1m and mix the soil with perlite or some similar material in equal parts.
  • Pot: it is not a plant that can be kept in a pot for many years, but during its youth it is precious in a container- This must have holes for drainage, and be filled with universal substrate.


It withstands drought quite well, but is grateful to receive water from time to time. For this reason, it is highly advisable to water it regularly, about 2 times a week, or 3 if the summers are extremely hot (temperatures above 35ºC) and dry.

Anyway, if it is going to be in the garden, it will be enough to water it the first year, since from the second year on, it will have developed a root system that is resistant enough to be able to live in conditions as long as a minimum of 300mm of precipitation falls in the area. year.


Image – Wikimedia/ Pdreijnders

It multiplies by seeds in spring. Let’s see how to proceed:

  1. First, put them in a glass of water for 24 hours.
  2. After that time, keep only the ones that have sunk, as they will probably germinate.
  3. Then, fill a seedling tray with universal substrate and water.
  4. Next, place a maximum of two seeds in each socket.
  5. Afterward, sprinkle a little sulfur to repel fungus, and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  6. Finally, place the seedbed outside, in semi-shade.

If all goes well, they will germinate in about 15-20 days.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed.

You have to be very careful with your roots, because if they are manipulated too much you will have a lot of difficulties to move on. In fact, if you plan to plant one in your garden, it is advisable to choose the site well, plant it and leave it there forever.

The transplant, that is, the passage of a pot to a larger, is simpler, but equally do not touch much the rootball.

Plagues and diseases

It does not have, except for the pine processionary.


You don’t need it, but dead, diseased, weak or broken branches can be removed to make it look more beautiful in late winter.


It supports frosts up to -7ºC and maximum temperatures close to 40ºC.

What uses is given to Pinus pinea ?

Image – Wikimedia/ GPodkolzin


It has several uses:


It is a very decorative plant, perfect to have in spacious gardens even if they are a few meters from the sea. It resists salinity very well, and also provides a pleasant shade.

Some are encouraged to work it as bonsai, but it is difficult because its roots are delicate and its leaves are long.


Its pine nuts are edible, being used in pastries, sauce dishes and even in salads. They were formerly believed to be aphrodisiacs.


Wood, being flexible and light, is used in maritime construction and carpentry. It is also good for making charcoal.

Where to buy?

It is a pine that you can buy in nurseries, but also from here:


€ 11.40

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Stone pine is a very interesting plant, don’t you think?

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