Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo)

In the Iberian Peninsula we find the Abies pinsapo, a conifer that, unlike its cousins, prefers to live in mountain climates but as long as they are in an area with a Mediterranean climate. For this reason, it is ideal to grow in gardens with mild temperatures, as it is also beautiful.

Its growth rate is not very fast, but that does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed from its youth. Do we know it?

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ Josesanchez

The Spanish fir, also known as Spanish fir, Andalusian fir, Spanish fir, or pinzapo, is an endemic conifer of the Iberian Peninsula, specifically of the Betic mountain ranges of Cádiz and Málaga, at an altitude of about 1200 meters. It is very similar to the firs of the North of Morocco, the A. maroccana and A. Tazaotana ; in fact, for a long time it was believed that these two were varieties of pinsapo, but various studies showed that no, that they are genetically different. Thus, the Abies pinsapo is a unique species.

It grows to a height of up to 30 meters, with a habit that is usually pyramidal. As it ages, and depending on the habitat conditions, its trunk may twist or split, becoming known as “candelabra pinsapo”. This trunk has a light gray, cracked bark, and with a thickness of up to 50cm.

The leaves are stiff and sharp, dark green, and perennial. This means that they remain in the plant for several months, perhaps years, but at the end of their life they dry out and fall, as the new ones are replacing them. It blooms in spring, the male cones being purple-red, or rarely yellow. And the pineapples are large, with a cylindrical shape, with a smooth texture, inside which are the pine nuts that will be released as soon as they mature (towards summer/ autumn).

What are their cares?

Image – Flickr/ Tree-species

Do you want to have a copy? Then we recommend providing the following care:


It is a conifer that must be outside. But where? It depends: if you live in an area with strong insolation and where it is very hot in summer (30ºC or more), it will grow better in a place where it gets direct sunlight; if this is not the case, you can have it in full sun.


  • Garden: the soil must be rich in organic matter, with good drainage, and limestone.
  • Pot: it is not a plant to have in a pot, not for its entire life. However, you can enjoy it for many years in containers with drainage holes filled with universal growing medium.


Irrigation has to be frequent, especially in summer it should not lack water. But it is important to control it, because it does not withstand drought but waterlogging does not do it any good either. When in doubt, check the moisture of the soil or substrate, for example with a moisture meter, which will tell you instantly how it is. Based on that, you will be able to know if it is convenient to water, or if on the contrary you have to wait a little longer.


From the beginning of spring to the end of summer (it can be until autumn if the weather is mild, with very weak and/ or late frosts), it is very important to fertilize it once a month or every 15 days with organic fertilizers, be it mulch, compost, egg and/ or banana peels, or others.

If you have it in a pot, always use liquid fertilizers, since otherwise the water drainage will be hindered and, as a consequence, the roots would be damaged.


You don’t need it. Remove only dry, diseased, weak or broken branches. Do it in late winter, or late summer/ early fall.

Planting or transplanting time

Late winter. If you have it in a pot, transplant it to a larger one with drainage holes every two to three years.

Multiplication of the Spanish fir

Image – Wikimedia/ On the roads of Malaga

The Spanish fir multiplies by seeds or cuttings in spring. How to proceed in each case ?:


To multiply it by seeds you have to fill a seedling tray with universal growing substrate, water well, and place a maximum of two seeds in each alveolus.

Once the tray is placed outside, and keeping the soil moist, they will germinate in about 1-2 months.


If you want to multiply it by cuttings you have to cut a branch of about 40cm, impregnate the base with liquid rooting hormones (on sale No products found. ), And plant it in a pot with substrate such as universal or vermiculite (on sale here ).

Keeping them outside, in semi-shade, they will root after about 1 month.

Plagues and diseases

As long as it receives the water it needs, it is very resistant. In fact, its greatest enemy is us, the people, as well as global warming. Arson, drought, and deforestation are your potential enemies.


Resists up to -18ºC.

What uses is it given?

Image – Wikimedia/ Liné1

It is a very decorative plant, ideal for medium-large gardens. It can be kept as an isolated specimen or in alignments, planting them about eight meters from each other.

In the past, its wood was made paper, being soft. But it is no longer done.

What did you think of the Abies pinsapo ?

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