WSU Clark County Extension

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Alpine Totara

Scientific name: Podocarpus nivalis

Type:Groundcovers evergreen
Plant Requirements
Zone:7 to 10
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:3 ft
Width:6 ft
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Best known as a New Zealand native, Alpine Totara makes a wonderful Northwest filler for use where a tough groundcover is sought.

This evergreen conifer, featuring dark green needles, has a slight bluish cast and hold well on a dense and bushy plant. It has leathery leaves which are close-set and spirally arranged with a linear-oblong shape. They are 3/8” long and only a 1/8” wide. After 10 years in the ground this species may grow to a height of 2’-3’ and a spread of 5’-6’.

If fruit do form they are small red berries resembling those of the more common yew plant.

Will grow in almost any soil and situation and is a particularly hardy, low growing and almost prostrate ground cover. Totara is an ideal filler for growing over walls and banks or in a large rock garden. Plant this useful evergreen in sun, part shade or shade in well-drained soil. Once established it tolerates considerable drought and can go though a typical summer without additional water.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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