Pinus Nigra Hornibrookiana or Black Pine Hornibrookiana is a dwarf conifer variety that grows slowly (max 15 cm per year) in a compact spreading mound to 0.3 Metres tall and up to 1.5 metres wide in 10 years. It features generally horizontal branching with upright branchlets and stiff dark green needles. It is a low growing conifer that eventually becomes wider than it is tall. Overall this dwarf conifer grows in a globe form. During the winter months, the upright buds stand out in a snowy white shade that instantly draws the eye. The plant looks as if it was touched by a sprinkling of winter snow. During the spring, this dwarf conifer boasts small cream coloured candles as its new growth erupts. ('Candles' is a technical reference to the new extension growth of 'pinus' shoots before the needles emerge).
The tough little evergreen shrub was discovered in 1932 in Rochester, New York. Its compact size and ease of care led to it quickly gaining popularity in gardens around the world. The Pinus Nigra or the Black Pine family from which this cultivar stems originates from the mountains of Southern Europe, North West Africa and Turkey. Typically, the bark is dark brown or black – hence Nigra! The genus can sometimes be called the Austrian Pine or European Black Pine. With Black Pine Hornibrookiana the bark stands out in stark contrast against its dark green needles.
The Pinus Nigra Hornibrookiana grows best when placed in full sunlight but it will tolerate partial shade although its growth may be hampered in shady conditions. Ideally, choose a planting location with well-draining soil. Once established it is drought tolerant. Its ability to thrive with very little water makes it an optimum water-wise plant in regions where water conservation is of utmost importance.
Pinus Nigra Hornibrookiana can withstand harsh winter winds and weather extremes without suffering from bronzing needles. It also grows well in coastal areas. Black Pine Hornibrookiana needs no pruning to maintain its size, but it can be trimmed lightly to keep its shape if desired. It looks best when planted in mass plantings, as a foundation plant, when grown in containers, or when used to outline walkways.