Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' / Hillside Creeper Scots pine

Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' is a strongly growing, completely prostrate selection of Scots pine with rambling, lax branches that, over time, will cover a significant portion of real estate. Foliage is attractive, thick, fleshy and a nice gray-green in color. In colder climates, in winter, the needles will assume a bit of a yellow-green cast. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 1 foot (30 cm) tall and 6 to 10 feet (2 - 3 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 8 to 12 inches (20 - 30 cm).

This cultivar originated as a seedling selected around by 1970 by Layne Ziegenfuss at Hillside Nursery, Lehighton, Pennsylvania, USA.

Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' — a mature specimen in a private garden.
Photo by Charlene Harris
Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' — in early spring, fresh seed cones will appear like cherry-red jewelry.
Photo by Ellen Smart
Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' — a closeup of winter foliage.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' at Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Clinton, Iowa in their Heartland Collection of Garden Conifers, March 2004.
Photo by Dax Herbst



My hillside creeper was in a pot for many years doing well. Over the last few months, many pins have started turning yellow and the branches have dried out, they break easily. I've cut the dead branches and planted the pine tree in the ground (I was thinking maybe the pot starting to be too small). But more and more pins are turning yellow. Any advice?

Maxwell Cohn

It's very difficult to know what's going on with only words to describe. It sounds like the plant might already be very dead; but if it's not, it's quite likely the root system failed as a result of overly wet and compacted potting soil.

Now that it's in the ground, it will either finish dying or new roots will establish, and the plant will recover.