Golden Pine Tree Care Guide For Beginners

North american coniferous tree yellowed over winterIf you are in search of a vibrant yet steadfast tree to add to your landscape, you might consider the medium-sized golden pine tree. A unique conifer, this evergreen tree puts out a fantastic display of yellow foliage during winter months. Keep reading to learn how to grow the no-fuss golden pine, because this tree can add years of enjoyable, year ‘round scenery to your landscape. 

What is the Golden Pine Tree?

The golden pine tree (pinus virginiana) is an evergreen conifer native to North America. It was cultivated by William Bennett in Virginia during the 1960s, and is commonly called either Wate’s golden pine or Virginia golden pine; the distinguishing, golden foliage during winter is this conifer’s namesake.

Golden pine trees have a broad base, and trees narrow toward the topmost branches for an overall, conical shape with an oddly flat top. Unkempt branches host a shaggy display of evergreen needles, growing out as sets of two. Scaled, brown cones up to 3-inches long develop later during the tree’s life. A slow grower, at full maturity golden pine trees can reach a height between 15 and 20-feet tall and circumference between 10 and 20-feet wide.

How to Grow the Golden Pine?

Golden pine trees primarily grow outdoors, within USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 - 8. Golden pines grow slowly and need relatively no maintenance once established. It is not picky about soil type and tolerates loamy, clay, and sandy soils with adequate drainage. Locate the golden pine in full sun, and incorporate this tree as a wind-break, borderline, or accent piece throughout your landscape.

Planting Golden Pine

First and foremost, how can you propagate a golden pine tree? You can grow a new conifer tree by planting from seed, a cutting, or a sapling. We think you will have the best results by planting saplings, but with a bit of patience and determination, using seeds or cuttings can also work nicely.

Step-by-Step Planting by Seed

  1. Collect cones during autumn. Gently shake cones upside down to release seeds stored behind the outer, woody scales. 
  2. Test seeds for potential germination by putting gathered seeds into a dish of water; keep seeds that float, and discard seeds that sink.
  3. Dry seeds and store in an airtight container until mid-winter (December - February).
  4. Sow seeds indoors by planting one seed into a pot of permeable, moist soil. Keeping the pointed end downward, press the seed just beneath the surface of the soil. Place pots in a sunny location and keep the soil moist. 
  5. Germinating seeds will sprout within two to three months (March - April), and you will see a tiny needle emerge. 
  6. Transplant seedlings at approximately 6-inches tall into a larger pot. Move outdoors to acclimate before planting directly into the ground.

Step-by-Step Planting by Cutting

  1. Take a four to six-inch cutting that is exhibiting new growth, ideally during mid-autumn to early winter. 
  2. Remove needles from the exposed end of the cutting, and treat the exposed end with a rooting hormone (by following the directions provided).
  3. Plant the cutting into a pot of permeable, moist soil. Place the pot in a sunny location and keep the soil moist.
  4. Cuttings can take up to one-year to root. Once rooted, transplant into a larger pot and acclimate to the outdoors before planting in the ground.

Step-by-Step Planting by Sapling

  1. Plant conifer saplings during early-autumn (end of August through October). Dig a hole approximately twice the width and the depth of the sapling’s roots. 
  2. Lifting the sapling by the roots, gently place into the hole and leave any burlap intact if the roots are wrapped. 
  3. Cover the roots with lightly compacted, permeable soil. Water the roots daily for six to twelve weeks after planting.
  4. Prop the young trunk by staking if it needs additional support until it gets established in the new location. If necessary, also protect the young tree from strong winds. 

Golden Pine Photo Gallery

Check out these images of golden pine trees, exhibited beautifully among a variety of sculpted and natural landscapes. You will get a good idea of where to locate the golden pine at your own home. 

1. Warm Winter Waterfront

Take the chill off wintry waterfronts with the warm glow of a golden pine added to the landscape. You will be lured to admire the scene without being tempted to jump in for a dip.

2. Beautiful Transformation

Resolute, brunette cones of the golden pine protect seeds until the following spring, an impressive display of regrowth during stark winter months. 

3. Off-Season Sunspot

Shift your gaze toward sunny golden pine for a bit of cheer amidst drab landscaping between seasons.

4. Rugged Elegance

Soften a rugged rock garden, with gently sweeping branches of golden pine accentuating the borderline for a woodsy, yet elegant appeal.

5. Leaf Peeping

Golden pine displays assorted hues as evergreen needles change color. Peep at transforming foliage; bold, summer green to autumn, yellow-green to winter, golden yellow.

6. Cascading Color

Yellow conifers add depth to intricate landscapes. Feel as though you’ve escaped to the wilderness when you incorporate golden pines into centerpiece designs.

7. Sunkissed

The golden pine radiates during winter, prominently displaying bright yellow needles skyward.

8. Fiery Focal Point

Turn your attention to the golden pine during winter, when evergreen branches come aglow with brilliant, yellow needles. This conifer makes a lovely centerpiece in a seasonally dulled landscape. 


9. Artful Distraction

Conceal seasonal hedges with the placement of a golden pine in the landscape. Admire the bright conifer until spring rejuvenates your borderline hedges.


10. Enlightening Evergreen

Golden pine trees capture the eye year ‘round because their colorful needles change with the seasons. An enlightening addition to the landscape, these conifers keep us smiling all year long.


Where to Buy Golden Pines?

Not everyone has a local tree nursery in their backyard, but you can source golden pine trees online from tree farms that ship directly to your home. We’ve done the legwork to get your search started. Check out these convenient, online sources to buy golden pine trees. 

Clear Ridge Nursery, Inc. 

Having over 25-years of expertise for growing trees and shrubs, Clear Ridge Nursery, Inc.’s inventory includes pinus virginiana. Knowledgeable farmers can answer any of your questions about planting and caring for conifers, so when your golden pine arrives, you will be ready to plant. 

Click here to order from Clear Ridge Nursery, Inc.


Boasting a wide selection of trees, including Wate’s golden pine. Monrovia lets you shop online to purchase plants to be shipped to a participating garden center near you. 

Click here to order from Monrovia.

Mail Order Natives

With a vast selection of conifers, including pinus virginiana, Mail Order Natives grows all of their plants on-site from seeds or cuttings. Shipping promptly throughout the USA, you’ll have a young golden pine delivered to your home soon.

Click here to order from Mail Order Natives.

Forest Farm at Pacifica

Whether or not you are an avid gardener, you will want to start an account at Forest Farm at Pacifica’s online store for an incredible inventory of trees and shrubs. Forest Farm propagates their plants on-site, so you can be assured to receive a healthy, hardy golden pine tree.

Click here to order from Forest Farm.


While this all-encompassing, online store does not provide golden pine trees, Amazon likely has all of the accessories you will need to plant and grow your tree. Below, we’ve suggested a few essentials to help get your tree started.

Plant seeds and cuttings in these 3-inch, biodegradable pots. You won’t disturb the young root system when it comes time to transplant. Just carefully position the entire, paper-based pot containing the seedling into a larger container.

Click here to find this on Amazon.

To be sure your tree will take root, treat fresh cuttings with Miracle Gro’s rooting hormone powder. Follow the instructions to dip the exposed end of the stem, then plant the cutting immediately.

Click here to find this on Amazon.

Promote growth by protecting saplings from the elements, and from hungry backyard animals. Using a tree guard, you can increase the survival rate of your newly planted golden pine.

Click here to find this on Amazon.

Now that you know about the lovely golden pine tree, hopefully, you have come away with some great landscaping ideas and growing tips to add this conifer to your landscape. 

If we have sparked your interest in evergreens, check out our blog for even more varieties and great ways to incorporate conifers into your landscape:

32 Dwarf Conifers for Landscaping 

15+ Pine Trees Landscaping Ideas

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