The Q&A Archives: Planting Ponderosa Pine Outdoors

Question: My mother recently gave me a potted ponderosa pine. Now that I have it (in my house) the outer needles are turning brown. My question is, "Will this pine survive outdoors in the zone that I live in or is it destined to be an indoor tree?"

I was considering planting it outside but do not know much about the pine and what the best growing conditions are. Any advice that you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Ponderosa pine is a handsome tree found in forests throughout the west, usually in higher elevations. It's native from British Columbia to Mexico and east to Nebraska, Texas and NE Oklahoma. It's cut extensively for the logging industry in some areas. They grow 50-60 feet tall in about 50 years, eventually reaching heights of 150 feet or more. It's very hardy, but doesn't do well in desert heat or as well in windy conditions. If you plant it outside, give it plenty of room to expand to its mature size. I've never seen it used as an indoor potted tree, but one reference I looked at said this was a possibility. They take full sign and survive in nature with limited rainfall, so make sure it has good drainage and let it dry out between waterings. I hope this info helps!

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