How to Grow European Larch — Larix

Larch branches
Bright green fluffy branches with cones of larch tree, Larix decidua Pendula in summer day. Natural beauty of elegant larch tree twig. Close-up branch of young larch as green spring background

European larch, Larix, is a deciduous conifer. Larch is the common name for Larix, a genus of ornamental and timber trees that belong to the Pine Family.

In landscaping, larches are planted for their stately form and soft texture, and for the pleasing delicate effect of the new growth early in the spring.

Among the hardiest of all trees, larch does well in almost any soil or location, preferring moderate moisture. Growth is very rapid, especially in young seedlings.

Larches usually take a Christmas-tree shape with long, straight branches, and short needles tufted like a pine.

Species are grown from seeds sown in fall or spring in shaped beds and treated like spruce or pine. The seedlings which should be given plenty of room to develop are easily transplanted after the leaves have fallen.

Larch trees in autumn; larch is a deciduous conifer

Get to Know European Larch

  • Plant type: Deciduous conifer
  • Growing Zones and range: 2-6
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Height and spread: To 100 feet (30m) tall and 40 feet (12m) wide; pyramidal habit with drooping branchlets
  • Foliage: Light green needle-like leaves that turn yellow in fall
  • Flowers: Insignificant yellow male and reddish female flowers; followed by upright brownish cones
  • Bloom time: Spring
  • Uses: Screens, background plantings
  • Botanical name: Larix decidua
  • Common name: European Larch
  • Origin: Europe

Where to Plant European Larch

  • Grow European larch in full sun to light shade.
  • Plant European larch in average soil; it is tolerant of a variety of soils.

When to Plant European Larch

  • Transplant European larch in late fall or winter.

Planting and Spacing European Larch

  • Space trees 50 feet apart or more; larch can grow to 70 feet tall and a half or more as wide.

How to Water and Feed European Larch

  • Keep the soil evenly moist; larch does not like dry soil.
  • Fertilize with aged compost spread to the dripline at least once a year.
Larix trees in summer

European Larch Care

  • Prune European larch in winter to shape as needed.
  • Mulch with aged compost to keep the soil moist.
  • Strong, healthy trees are less prone to pest and disease problems.

European Larch Common Problems

  • European larch is intolerant of dry, alkaline soils, and air pollution.

European Larch Propagation

  • Sow seed in fall.
  • Graft in early spring.

European Larch Varieties to Grow

  • Larix kaempferi, Japanese larch, grows to 40 feet tall; pyramidal form with slightly pendulous branches.
  • L. larcinia, American larch, Tamarack, grows 40 to 80 feet tall and 30 feet wide, narrower than other larches.
  • L. occidentalis, western larch, is a slender tree native to Western United States.

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