Monkey Puzzle as House Plant

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Unregistered, May 2, 2004.

  1. I just purchased a house plant of what I was told was a Monkey Puzzle Tree. It is about 4ft tall and looks like a miniture tree. It has torny branches, but the leaves are soft, thin and about 2 to 3 inches long. The pictures I have seen of Monkey Puzzle Trees growing outside to sometimes 70ft. tall look similar, but not quite the same as my tree. Is this because my tree is much younger, or is this a close relative of the Monkey Puzzle but not the same as the outdoor tree? I'm trying to find out what I really have here and would also like to know how to take care of this tree as a house plant, i.e. how much light, how much water and how often and any special soil/food needs. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Clayce
     
  2. There are several species often called monkey puzzle trees. Your best bet it to try to compare yours to a good gardening book. The branches on A. auricana are prickly, not soft, no matter the age. Good luck!
     
  3. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The plant you purchased may be a Norfolk Island pine, which is related to the monkey puzzle tree. The needles of the Norfolk are much softer and actually almost feathery, as opposed to spiny and sharp.
     
  4. Jim in Portland

    Jim in Portland Member

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    Just about the only monkey puzzle tree sold as a houseplant is Araucaria heterophylla, the Norfolk Island pine. This is not hardy outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. Large specimens do grow in subtropical parts of the world, especially along the seashore in Australia and Hawaii where it has been widely planted along beach drives. The only hardy monkey puzzle tree grown in the Pacific Northwest is the Chilean species -- Araucaria araucana. It would make a rather uncomfortable house plant as it has very sharp foliage, and is rather gawky in appearance. It would also quickly outgrow most homes and is difficult to repot due to the spiny foliage. There are Australian, New Caledonian, and a Brazilan species of monkey puzzles that are also in the Araucaria genus. One sometimes sees these in southern California (A. cunninghamii, A. bidwillii from Australia).
    Jim
     
  5. hamadryad

    hamadryad Active Member

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    Location:
    Morrison, CO, USA
    I bought something like this at a florist; have never seen another one for commercial sale. It is definitely an araucarian, but lacking green foliage as the monkey-puzzle trees I've seen. It has blue foliage, leaves narrower than monkey puzzle, but wider and more prickly than Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Is pine).

    Does anyone know what this one is? I think it's going to be difficult to get a good picture, but will try to post one soon.

    Thanks,
    Sally
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi, Sally. Could your plant be Araucaria angustifolia 'Saviana'?
     
  7. hamadryad

    hamadryad Active Member

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    Thanks, junglekeeper. I looked up A. angustifolia, but couldn't find anything about 'Saviana'-- and the only pix were of mature trees and forests. So, could be, but I'd like to see a picture!
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi, Sally. It does appear to be a rare plant. You were lucky to be able to buy it at a florist of all places. The entry in my plant book didn't come with a photo. However the description matches yours and that found at http://www.raretrees.org/arau081.html. Perhaps you can contact these people for more information.
     
  9. hamadryad

    hamadryad Active Member

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    Thanks again, junglekeeper. Yes, I was surprised to see it at the florist myself! I will check your link.
     
  10. David Gryte

    David Gryte Member

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    Location:
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    Does anyone know where you can find Araucaria biramulata for sale in the US?

    Thank you!
    David Gryte
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  11. JoeySantore

    JoeySantore Active Member

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    Location:
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    Three common species of Araucaria I've seen sold as house plants....

    Araucaria Bidwillii (mislabeled as "monkey puzzle")
    Araucaria Araucana (the original tree commonly referred to as "monkey puzzle")
    Araucaria Heterophylla
     

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