The Japanese Black Pine – Thunderhead
This is the compact form of the very popular Japanese Black Pine that is so widely used in Bonsai.
Its natural growth habit is anything but symmetrical, and as it grows it naturally forms tufts of foliage. This habit makes it an excellent choice for cloud pruning as well as topiary.
The common name of Thunderhead, is a reference to the growth habit, thunderheads of foliage.
If left to its own devices, it will form a sculptural piece by itself. If pruned, these plants can be works of art.
The Black Pine is almost exclusively used in the art of “Niwaki’. Here they are sculptured and pruned into into classical shapes. Niwaki simply means Garden Tree.
With very deep green foliage and a slow growth habit.
A few other worthwhile features are the tolerances of this plant.
It will grow in full sun to part shade, it grows is well drained soil and once established is regarded as drought tolerant once established.
It is also slow and low growing, so unlike some other conifers, it will not become a take over merchant.
In a well drained soil and a sunny position this is a very easy care plant.
Pruning is not actually required, however it is for Bonsai and Topiary that this plant is most commonly grown.
- Botanical name – Pinus thunbergii
- Common Name – Japanese Black Pine and Thunderhead Pine
- Origins – Japan
- Position – Full sun
- Soil – Well drained
- Foliage – Typical needle like foliage that is tufted.
- Fertiliser – A high nitrogen fertiliser will improve growth rate’
You will find a number of named varieties, although not all are readily available.
- The ‘Yatsubusa’ variety means dwarf. Also Gekka Yatsuba, Ban-Sho-Ho and Koto-Buki
- Pinus thunbergii ‘Emerys Dwarf’
- Nishiki means cork barked.
- Mikawa has a deeply fissured bark which gives it an aged look earlier on than the others.
Pinus thunbergii is available for sale from the following nurseries
82 David Hill Rd Monbulk (Opposite Vika Ave)
Japanese Maple and Magnolia specialists, Wholesale and Retail. Large range of other deciduous and evergreen ornamental trees and shrubs.
CNR Sherbrooke & Mt Dandenong Tourist Rds Ferny Creek. VIC 3786
Conifers, Magnolias, Maples, Dogwoods and Buxus.
125 Palmer Rd Jindivick 3818
Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 4pm
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.