Pinus Nigra Helga, also called Black Pine Helga or Dwarf Black Pine, is a small shrub with a very distinctive look which will find a home in even the smallest of gardens! Fully hardy and low-maintenance, it will reward you with year-round interest. Helga is a slow growing upright busy variety of dwarf conifer with short fresh green needles. In terms of size, this little shrub is really very small, after 10 years reaching only 90 cm by 90 cm.
Discovered in 1965 in Marktheidenfeld Germany as a witch’s broom on a Pinus Nigra, this dwarf form of Austrian Pine makes a big impact for such a small plant. Pinus Nigra Helga has dark green needles up to 12 cm long, creating a fluffy form. The white buds provide an attractive contrast with the darker needles, and the upright “candles” make for a distinctive picture in the garden. The dark brown or black bark of Black Pine Helga gives it the name Nigra.
Hardy throughout the UK and even in the severest continental climates, Black Pine Helga will reach a size of 90 cm in 10 years, and a mature height and spread of 1.25-1.75 metres in 20 years, with an annual growth rate of 7-15 cm. No pruning is necessary, but if desired, pinch the candles in mid-spring to encourage a more dense and compact form.
Plant Pinus Nigra Helga in full sun or partial shade in an exposed or sheltered position with a south, east or west-facing aspect, in any well-drained soil, preferably with an acid to neutral pH. Once established, Dwarf Black Pine is heat and drought-resistant, and will grow happily in even sandy coastal locations, as it is also salt-tolerant. It will grow well in city gardens, as it tolerates pollution, and will not suffer from grazing deer in the country.
This small, slow-growing dwarf pine is adaptable to the smallest of gardens. Plant Black Pine Helga in a container on a roof terrace, balcony, or patio, where its extreme hardiness will guarantee year-round beauty. It is perfect in the restricted space of a courtyard, or planted as a foundation shrub. In a gravel or rock garden, it will be a reliable and slow-growing foliage shrub which will take dry conditions in its stride! In a mixed border, Pinus Nigra Helga will complement flowering plants and shrubs and then provide winter interest.