Monkey Puzzle tree in Calgary, Alberta

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by DHK, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. DHK

    DHK Member

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    Calgary, Canada
    During a recent kayaking trip in the Cape Scott area of northern Vancouver Island I visited Ronning's Garden. This was a most interesting place - started in 1909 in the middle of nowhere by a Norwegian settler. It includes various non-native trees such as monkey puzzle, bamboo and eucalyptus. Anyway, my family and I had been intrigued by the MP trees we had seen in Ireland and so I bought a young potted tree from the Ronning Garden green house.

    Ok. now we are home and I have to figure out how to let my new MP tree thrive in the challenging Calgary environment (zone 3a). We have a large yard on a hill that faces SE. Thus, in summer we get blazing heat and sunshine that bakes the ground. In winter we get bitter cold and strong wind, although it generally comes in spells of 1-2 weeks in length. To make life interesting (and at times quite pleasant during cold winter spells) we get "chinooks" - warm blasts of air that have travelled east from the Pacific, crossed the mountains and are now like warm moisture vacuums. Chinooks can change the temperature from -15 C to +15 C within hours, and make snow cover disappear within a day.

    I have read the various threads on this site with considerable interest. So far I am thinking my MP tree will be a potted plant (good thing it grows slowly), live outdoors ~April - October and indoors the rest of the year. A deep pot with well drained soil seems critical.

    I would be interested in learning any other suggestions.

    Cheers from Calgary, Dan K
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, you'll definitely have to overwinter under cover. Slow when young, can be grown as potted novelty for some years. If concerned about summer heat try part shade location, with sheltering walls or shrubbery around to cut wind.

    Will need cool, bright area for overwintering (cool-cold greenhouse, atrium...).
     
  3. DHK

    DHK Member

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    Ron B. Thank you very much for your reply and advice. I do appreciate it. We do in fact have a partially shady garden that is well sheltered from the winds. This may well be a good summer location. But yes winter will be another story.
    Cheers, Dan K
     
  4. DHK

    DHK Member

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    Update - we have re-potted our MP tree in a tall planter. The base is gravel, followed by sandy loamy potting soil and then the original soil that it came with (including a worm!).

    Regards, Dan K
     

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