Blue Pine Tree Guide: Locations, Species, Growing Instructions

Man walking in the woods with a hiking stick wonders if there is a blue pine tree species guide (pinus wallichiana) and how to grow blue pine trees and how to identify trees with blue leaves.

Have you ever wanted to plant a blue pine tree to provide color and distinction to your garden or home landscape?

Maybe you’re just interested in knowing why some pine trees have a bluish tint to their foliage?

Knowing how to recognize and how to grow a blue pine tree can help if you’ve planned to plant a windbreak or simply want to liven up your backyard with some gorgeous evergreen trees.

But before you head to the local nursery, you’ll need to consider the types of blue pine trees that will flourish in your growing zone.

This complete guide examines some of the most popular and common blue pine tree species that can adorn your space.

Here are a few details about this evergreen ornamental Blue Pine tree.

Himalayan Blue Pine

(Pinus wallichiana, formerly known as Pinus griffithii​)

An image that depicts a close-up view of the needles and branches of a Blue Pine tree against a green background.
  • Family: Pinaceae or Pine family
  • Genus: Pinus
  • Leaf: Needle-shaped
  • Bark: Fissured and slate-gray in color
  • Seed: Cones, 15-25 cm in length, grow in clusters of 2 or 3
  • Blossoms: Between April and June
  • Fruit: Brown cones
  • Native Habitat: Himalayas
  • Height: 50-75 Feet
  • Canopy: 10-20 Feet
  • Type: Evergreen, conifer
  • USDA Zone: Hardiness zone 5-7
  • Other Common Names: Bhutan Pine, Himalayan Pine, Blue Pine

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


Image Credit: Daderot14

The Himalayan pine grows at elevations of 6000 – 16000 feet so prefers regions in the Northwest for optimum growth such as Nevada, California, Utah, Kansas, and Colorado to name a few.

Facts About Blue Pine Trees (Pinus wallichiana)

The scientific name for the Blue Pine tree, also known as the Himalayan Blue Pine,10 is named after a Danish botanist who was based in India in the 1800s.

From 1817 to 1846 the renowned botanist, Nathaniel Wallich was in charge of the Calcutta Botanic Garden where he collected thousands of plant specimens discovered on his many exploratory journeys into the mountains of the Himalayas, including the Himalayan Blue Pine.

Nathaniel Wallich didn’t create the Blue Pine but he was responsible for bringing the seeds to the UK in 1827, and 9 years later they entered into the European Nursery trade.

Yet Adam Stainton, William Sykes, and John Williams are credited with the widespread introduction of the Blue Pine whose seeds they collected on an expedition to Nepal in 1954.

In honor of the contribution that Nathaniel Wallich made to botany and the 20,000 specimens he collected and cataloged in his own personal collection while in India, the explorers elected to officially certify the scientific name of the Himalayan Blue Pine as Pinus wallichiana out of respect for his work.6

Trees With Blue Leaves (Blue Pine Tree Guide: Locations, Species, Growing Instructions)

Most trees have green leaves because of a substance called chlorophyll. That green pigment is responsible for and is extremely efficient at capturing and converting light rays into energy and food for the trees.

Closeup of Blue Pine tree showing its drooping green needles.

(Image: MabelAmber6)

When leaves turn from green to yellow or orange/red it’s because the chlorophyll is no longer being produced by the tree as there is less sunlight, and the onset of winter is fast approaching.

Blue Pine trees have leaves classed as anthocyanins which, although not as efficient as green leaves, can still absorb enough sunlight for the process of photosynthesis.

These anthocyanin pigments are also found in red leaves as well as blue and some of those trees are:1

  • The Colorado Blue Spruce
  • The Blue Atlas Cedar
  • The Purple Osier Willow Shrub
  • The Arizona Cypress
  • The Balsam Fir
  • The Blue Star Juniper
  • The Blue Chip Juniper
  • The Blue Point Juniper
  • The Blue Pfitzer Juniper

There are various cultivars of the Colorado Blue Spruce that extends the membership of this exclusive blue club.

Whether the leaves are a deep blue, silver/blue, or a mix of green and light blue, the impact of any one of these trees in any setting is eye-catching and more than impressive.

Native Region and Habitat Growing Needs of Blue Pine Trees

Originally native to the Himalayas, this Blue Pine tree has been welcomed with open arms in numerous countries around the world such as China, Afghanistan, and Nepal for its shimmering blue needle-like leaves.

In the United States, it thrives in hardiness zones from 5-7 where the soil in those habitats is ideally clay or loam and moist.

It requires a lot of sunlight and doesn’t do well in the shade or in areas that become waterlogged.

Line graph of Blue Pine tree growth chart showing the Blue Pine tree age on the x-axis and Blue Pine tree height on the y-axis.

What the Himalayan Blue Pine tree tends to do in whatever environment it grows in is to aggressively dominate the water and nutrient availability to the detriment of other nearby trees and fauna.

Facts About the Himalayan Blue Pine

Here are more facts about the Himalayan Blue Pine:

  • 410 years is the age of the oldest Blue Pine Tree.
  • Height– Up to 164 feet, but on average between 32-100 feet.
  • Bark– On young trees the bark is gray-green and smooth then becomes dark brown and flaky with age.
  • Leaves– Blue-green or blue-gray depending on the location. Needle-shaped, they grow 12-18 cm long in groups of 5 on fascicles.
  • Cones– 16-32 cm long, scaly
  • Seeds– Elliptical, 5-7mm long, and edible.
  • Its reproductive ability is monoecious.3 It has both male and female flowers and cones in the reproductive system.
  • Persons sensitive to dermatitis have been known to be affected by the sawdust and the resin.
  • Turpentine and tar are taken from tapping the trunk and a dye is often made from the leaves.
  • Blue pine can be used for skin ailments like burns, boils, and aids in the treatment of influenza and TB. It can also be used as an antiseptic.
  • The medicinal and commercial uses that this tree can be used for are numerous, but using it as firewood is not one of them as it gives off too much of a far-from-pleasant smoke. It is a durable wood, though, and is often used in carpentry.

Folklore, Significance, and Medicinal Qualities of Blue Pine Tree

Because they are long-lived and have evergreen leaves, many cultures around the world have associated Pine trees with immortality, while Native Americans believed them to be symbols of peace. The term “burying the hatchet” was a solemn gesture of Native American tribes that was as binding as a blood oath.

When a peace agreement was reached between 5 warring tribes at the time, an actual hatchet was buried beneath a pine tree to seal the agreement and create the Iroquois Confederacy. When settlers arrived they didn’t at first understand what is a Blue Pine tree, but quickly came to appreciate the durable qualities and flexibility of the wood and began to make a range of products from the lumber such as:

  • Fences
  • Baby Cribs
  • Houses
  • Barns
  • Windows and doors
  • Boxes
  • Matchsticks
  • And even coffins

Being so readily available, there were very few items that were not made from pine at the time. Medicinally, the pine tree was a medicine gold mine- as well as being used to make herbal teas.

From this iconic tree came:

  • Expectorants
  • Essential oils
  • Antiseptics
  • Diuretics
  • Flu cures
  • Rheumatism treatments
  • Insect repellents
  • Remedies for kidney problems
  • Anti-inflammatory treatments
  • Inhalants for respiratory problems

Native Americans understood nature and believed in utilizing all parts of the Pine tree to the benefit of their tribes.

The last act to a Pine tree that they had cut down would be to burn parts of the wood as an incense offering to pacify the gods, completely appreciating all of the benefits of this tree down to the last puff of smoke.

How To Grow Blue Pine Trees (How To Grow a Pine Tree From a Pine Cone)

A Blue Pine tree can be grown from a seed or a cutting, but not from a cone.7

If it is to be grown from a seed, a 6-week stratification period is recommended to shorten the lengthy germination process.

Once the roots have formed, the seedlings should be placed in-soil near the end of winter so the root system, which is not particularly strong to begin with, has time over the next two years to settle in firmly.

A person planting a Pine tree seedling on soil.

(Image: USDA Forest Service11)

Branch out with beautiful conifers as cuttings only work when taken from a tree below 10 years of age, strangely enough, and this method is a lot slower than growing by seeds.

Before taking a cutting first prepare a container of water mixed with sand and peat and let it rest until the peat begins to expand. Once the water has been absorbed, add more of the potting mixture.

  • Use a pair of shears that have been sterilized with alcohol before snipping a 12 cm strip from the end of the branch. It’s important to cut at an angle and between 2 twigs of leaves to increase the chances of successfully growing another tree.
  • Clean off any remaining leaves and peel away the bark end of the cutting.
  • Apply a rooting agent to the end.
  • Insert the cutting halfway into the potting mix.
  • Spray with water and place where there is no direct sunlight.
  • Within 2 to 4 months the roots will appear and the pot can be moved into direct sunlight outside during the day to slowly acclimatize, then moved back indoors at night.
  • In autumn the seedling can be transplanted outside. Dig a hole, remove the plant from the pot, and bury it into the hole, filling it in with the garden soil.
  • Place mulch around the base. For the next 2 or 3 years water as required to keep the soil moist and add fertilizer in spring to boost the nutritional needs of a growing tree.

Trying to grow a Pine tree by implanting a complete cone, however, is doomed to failure. Encased as it is within the cone, the seed will not have access to water, or any nutrients and will be unable to germinate sealed off as it is from all sources of food.

So the only alternative would be to extract the seed from the cone to enable it to be bathed in life-giving sunlight.

Different Types of Himalayan Blue Pine With Blue-Colored Foliage: Does Blue Pine (Himalayan Pine) Have Any Other Type?

Some botanists would say that the Himalayan Blue Pine tree was the first and original blue-leafed Pine tree thanks to the discovery by Nathaniel Wallich.

There are a few cultivars and varieties of the Himalayan Blue Pine and over 50 different types of pine trees that offer a bluish hue, and are worth knowing.2


  • Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) Image
  • Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora)
  • Single-Leaf Pinyon Pine Tree (Pinus monophylla)
  • Blue Shag Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
  • Chalet Swiss Stone Pine (Pinus cembra ‘Chalet’)


  • Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus Chinensis ‘Blue Point’)
  • Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’)
  • Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)
  • Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’)
  • Blue Pacific Juniper (Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’)
  • Angelica Blue Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Angelica Blue’)
  • Blue Arrow Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Blue Arrow’)

Blue Star Juniper

Blue Star Juniper tree showing its short and bluish-green needles.

Short bluish-green leaves of Blue Star Juniper tree

Blue Arrow Juniper

Young Blue Arrow Juniper trees with pyramidal shape and green needles.

Pyramidal form of young Blue Arrow Juniper trees


  • Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
  • Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’)
  • Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)

Atlas Cedar

Atlas Cedar tree showing its clusters of bluish-green needles and a conical pine.

Bluish-green needles and conical pines of Atlas Cedar tree

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar tree showing its cascading branches with silvery-blue needles.

Cascading branches and silvery-blue needles of Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar tree


  • Montgomery Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’)
  • Hoops Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’)
  • Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
  • Blue Wonder Blue Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Blue Wonder’)
  • Dwarf Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika ‘Nana’)


  • Smooth Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica)
  • Blue Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’)
  • Blue Ice Cypress (Cupressus glabra ‘Blue Ice’)
  • Kashmir Cypress (Cupressus cashmeriana)
  • Boulevard Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

Related Reading: 10 Types of Cypress Trees in Every State: Pictures (Full Map & Chart)

Kashmir Cypress

Young Kashmir Cypress tree showing its pyramidal shape with green needles and budding pine cones.

Green needles and pyramidal form of Kashmir Cypress tree (Image: Daderot12).

Boulevard Cypress

Bonsai in ceramic pot, Boulevard Cypress shrub showing its dense bluish-green needles.

Bluish-green needles of bonsai Boulevard Cypress shrub (Image: Daderot13).


  • Blue Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii glauca)
  • White Fir (Abies concolor)
  • Tyler Blue Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea ‘Tyler Blue’)
  • White Fir (Abies concolor ‘Blue Cloak’)
  • Korean Fir (Abies koreocarpa x ‘Festival’)
  • Blue Waterfall (Abies lasiocarpa)
  • Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa ‘Glauca Compacta’)
  • Noble Fir (Abies procera)
  • Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo)

Blue Douglas Fir

Blue Douglas Fir tree showing its thin branches and blue-green needles.

Short blue-green needles on thin branches of Blue Douglas Fir tree

Noble Fir

Noble Fir tree showing its thin branches with dense blue-green needles.

Dense blue-green needles of Noble Fir tree

Fir trees are very similar to Spruce trees and are very hard to tell apart, belonging as they do to the same Pinaceae family of trees.

Like the Blue Pine tree, they prefer mountainous regions, and of the 56 species that exist in the world, only about 10 of them have blue foliage.

Graphic that shows the Blue Pine Tree Identification with the images of Blue Pine Tree leaves, Blue Pine Tree flowers, and Blue Pine Tree fruit in circle frames on green background.

These can be seen interspersed with their all-green evergreen cousins in Pinsapo forests located in National Parks in places like Andalusia, Spain, and Morocco, and also in mountainous regions in the United States, Central America, and Asia.

Related Reading: Types of Evergreen Trees

They are distinct and recognizable from spruce trees by the way the needles attach to the twigs and the dark purple-colored cones that stand upright instead of hanging down.

Impressive, iconic, and soaring to heights of up to 260 feet, a fir tree sporting dazzlingly blue needle-like leaves as it towers above other species, is hard to miss.

Blue Pine Tree Disease Prevention

The two most common diseases that affect the Blue Pine Tree and the Blue Spruce are the Cytospora Canker and Rhizospharea Needle Cast.4

Cytospora Canker is a fungus that can damage and deform a tree or in the worst-case scenario, cause the branches to die and fall off by girdling.

It infects a damaged or weakened tree by entering at the base of the tree or on branches and is identifiable by a light coating of bluish resin that thickens into hard lumps.

Slow-spreading, when spotted before the branch dies, pruning the infected area in the dry season is the only way to eliminate this threat.

A Pine tree species with brown needles, showing signs of Rhizosphaera Needle Cast infection.

(Image: Mulvey, Robin10)

Proper prevention comes in the form of fertilization and a sufficient watering regimen so the tree does not become stressed or weakened. When that does occur, the blue spruce is more prone to infection.

Where the Cytospora Canker attacks the branches, the Rhizospharea Needle Cast fungal infection affects the leaves.

Again, due to stress, the tree becomes vulnerable and this fungus is able to grow on the needles and present as barely noticeable bumps lined up in rows. Over time the needles turn brown and fall off, followed by the entire branch if left to run rampant for a couple of years.

Prevention starts with planting initially in areas that do not be waterlogged and pruning lower branches to allow air to circulate properly throughout the tree. Proper spacing of mulch around the base is recommended as is spraying twice a year with a fungicide containing copper hydroxide.

Is It Easy To Care for Blue Pine Tree Species?

Blue Tine trees are very easy to care for. All they require is regular watering so the soil remains moist and a layer of mulch spread around the base at a distance of about 2 inches away from the trunk.

This is vital as it will stop the moisture from evaporating. Exposure to filtered sunlight is necessary for about 6 hours so they need to be planted in a convenient location.

Once a year compost needs to be applied with a high-nitrogen content- and that’s it.

Prune the branches of the tree when and if necessary,9 keep an eye out for any signs of diseases or pests, and enjoy.

Little Known Facts About Blue Pine Trees

A lot is known about the world’s most populace conifer tree, but there are always a few facts that escape common knowledge but that are worth knowing.

There have been many cultivars taken from the Colorado Blue Spruce such as the Picea pungens ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, the Picea pungens ‘Moerheimii’, and the Picea pungens ‘Glauca Globusa’ which is a dwarf variety, but they are just as spectacular in their own way.

Let’s learn a few more interesting facts about these trees:

  • In colonial times the British Royal Navy used the trunks of the Blue Pine tree as ship masts because they were so tall.
  • In 1772, the “Pine Tree Riots” exploded when colonists in America fought back against the British who wanted to monopolize the much sought-after pine trees.
  • The Pine tree became known in Europe as “THE” Christmas tree species after it was first used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1841.5
  • It was the Germans who brought the tradition to the United States during the American Civil War era.
  • There was a Pine tree called “Prometheus” that was dated as being older than “Methuselah,” but was unfortunately cut down.
  • Not all Pine tree nuts can be eaten. The nuts from the Chinese White Pine will leave an uncomfortable metallic taste called Pine Mouth Syndrome that affects some people worse than others for several days, especially if they have any sort of allergies.
  • A forest fire can help some pine trees to absorb more organic nutrients from the soil and the flames also act as a catalyst to release the seeds from the cones.

When he cataloged the seeds from the Himalayan Blue Pine all those years ago on one of his exploration and gathering trips into the Himalayas, now-renowned botanist Nathaniel Wallich could never have envisioned how many species would later be discovered and cultivated into even newer species.

No matter what level of experience a landscaper or keen gardener may have, it’s never too late or too early to learn a few more tricks or increase your knowledge of not only how to plant trees, but how to care for them.8

By knowing how to recognize and care for Blue pine tree plants, you can add a colorful addition to any landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Pine Tree

What Are the Signs To Help How To Identify Blue Pine Tree?

The blue-green or blue-gray needle-like leaves are the best way to identify a Blue Pine tree.

Where Are Blue Pine Trees Found?

Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Tibet are where these types of trees were originally found but now they are found growing in countries such as China, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

How Big Do Blue Pine Trees Get?

Blue Pine trees can reach heights of 164 feet.

What Other Trees That Have Blue Leaves and Needles Often Confused With Pine?

Firs, cedars, spruce, juniper, and cypress trees are often mistaken for Pine trees.

How Much To Cut Down a 50-Foot Pine Tree?

If you are wondering how much to cut down a 50-foot pine tree, here is the answer.

The cost to remove a 50-foot Pine tree will be approximately $890 to $1,780 depending on its size, location, and ease of accessibility.

White Wood vs Pine, What’s the Difference?

Experienced woodworkers can tell the difference because there are more visible knots in white wood than in pine. Pine is also heavier, and generally slightly more expensive due to its superior durability.


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