How to Grow Vanderwolf Pine

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Vanderwolf Pine

Vanderwolf is related to Arizona Pinion Pine by produces fluffy foliage that resembles a blue Cedar from a distance. It is remarkably resilient in dry Arizona soils. Makes a very graceful single specimen for front yards, parks, or expansive estate-sized landscapes. This distinctive Pine grows 12’x5′ with long, twisted, silvery-blue needles covering the dense branches. Carefree and easy to grow.

Botanical Name         Pinus flexilis

Common Name         Vanderwolf Pine

Hardiness Zone         4-7

Plant Type                  Evergreen Conifer Tree

Size                             15’x6′ feet

Shape                          Pyramidal

Foliage Color             Dark Green with blue

Landscape Uses         Privacy, Screening, Accents

Growth Rate              Slow to Moderate

Plant Tolerance         Very Adaptable

Standout Feature      Evergreen, Interesting Texture, Unique Pyramidal Shape

Planting a Vanderwolf Pine

Choosing a site for this tree should allow for its mature height of at least 15′ feet tall and 6′ feet wide. The canopy tends to grow in a narrow upright shape. Never plant trees deeper than planted initially in the pot. Doing so can cause rotting of the stem and death to the tree.

1. Dig a hole 2-3 times the width of the container but the same depth.

2. Check drainage by filling the hole with water. All water should drain away within 12 hours. If not, you have hardpan, and it will need to be penetrated – dig deeper & add a layer of gypsum.

3. Watters “Mulch” – Blend 1 part mulch with two parts soil taken from hole.

4. Score the root ball sides and bottom with a utility knife or pruners.

5. Blend Soil – Mulch – 7-4-4 Plant Food & Aqua Boost mixture, then pack firmly around the rootball.

6. Stakes & V-Strap – install stakes just outside the roots making sure the stakes are deeper than soil mix. Remove the original shipping stake. Use V-Straps around the trunk of the tree to support against the wind. Use one strap just under the tree canopy and a second 18″ below the first.

7. Build a well around the tree and water with “Root & Grow” mixture.

Water with Root & Grow every 2 weeks for the first 2 months.

Soil and Sun

This Pine grows in virtually any mountain soil conditions, including alkaline or clay soils. Ideally, it should have slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Still, its tolerant nature means it may be planted in difficult areas where other trees are hard to grow.

6+ Hours of the sun are needed during the growing season for the best spring growth and blue Autumn hues.


Water newly planted trees regularly with a garden hose for at least one month (2 months in Summer). Automatic irrigation systems may not be sufficient initially. Water frequency will vary according to the season, exposure, and plant size.

April – Oct this Pine should be irrigated 2 x weekly.

Nov – Mar this Pine should be irrigated 2 x monthly.


Feed 4x Times per Year with either 7-4-4 All Purpose Plant Food, Soil Sulfur, or Humic. Here’s the recommendation by season:

Spring = 7-4-4 All Purpose Food + Soil Sulfur

Summer = 7-4-4 All Purpose Food + Humic

September = 7-4-4 All Purpose Food

December = 7-4-4 All Purpose Food