Looking for a long-lived evergreen that’s not a spruce? You might consider trying limber pine (Pinus flexilis) as a handsome alternative. While many pines are soft and have flexible branches, the branches of limber pine are exceptionally elastic, hence the name.
Limber pine grows to about 40’-50’ at maturity although it is a relatively slow grower. As it is a relatively narrow tree it can also fit nicely in landscape beds where other evergreens may grow too broad for the space.
Purchasing bigger specimens, if available, is recommended. Although the needles on limber pine are dark green, the needles also have white stomatic lines which give them a decidedly blue-green appearance. The distinctive ‘striped needles’ make limber pine easily identifiable from all other pines.
They look great in combination with rhododendron, azalea, and a wide assortment of ground covers. Limber pine is also highly tolerant of our clay soils, though it does not like wet conditions and is not a good choice for urban areas where environmental stress is the norm.
Limber pine is a bit difficult to locate in commerce but worth the effort if you are looking for a signature evergreen tree to spice up your landscape.