Monkey Puzzle Trees In Washington State

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by DreamRider, May 17, 2007.

  1. DreamRider

    DreamRider Member

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    Hello, I am from Washington State and know of many Monkey Puzzle Trees living and seeding in Seattle. According to habitat description Monkey Pluzzle Trees love the sea salt breeze.

    My first question is, would Monkey Puzzle Trees survive in Yakima, Washington? Our climate is almost like desert in the summer and gets, at times below 0 degees F in the winters. The last 10 years we have had very minimal amounts of snow, however, in 96 we received a 6 foot artic blast (Seattle did as well). We have more of a sandy type of dirt with great soil mixed in, our drainage would never become an issue.

    Next Question is Can Monkey Puzzle Trees survive indoors, like Bonzi's, and if so, would moving them outdoors during the warmer weather shock them? I have yet to find a Monkey Puzzle Tree in Yakima or Eastern Washington for that matter, if I could get the Monkey Puzzle Tree to survive I might strike enough ooh's and aww's and get more people to plant these very puzzleing trees.

    Last Question, I know of several in Seattle, all are healthy and are of the "bushy" looks. Some are at the age of dropping pods, I read reproduction takes a male tree and females can be pollinated by the wind. There could be male trees around as I know of about 15 trees in Western Washington, 4 being in the area I grew up. One person's tree has dropped seed pods but no one could get 1 to grow, I also read they have up to 1,000 seeds in a pod. How would 1 go about starting Monkey Puzzle Trees from a seed? With my inheirited green thumb I am sure I could get some to grow.

    Thank you for your time reading this long thread, I just love the Monkey Puzzle Tree and hubby really wants 1 now he knows what the look like.

    DR
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Not much scope for either, I'm afraid. Won't persist outside in Yakima, have never seen as a house plant. Grows up quite high in Andes, indoor conditions probably too warm, dark and dry - except in a cold greenhouse, like other outdoor stock might be overwintered in. Maybe try one of the small bunya-bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) plants that have been getting shipped up here from California in recent years. Probably it could be managed more easily as a house plant. Norfolk Island pine (A. heterophylla) is certainly a very tolerant indoor subject, so it would seem there would be other species that had potential.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Two possibilities for the failure - first, the tree didn't have a male anywhere nearby to provide pollen (in which case the seeds would be lightweight, soft and empty).

    Second (particularly if the seeds were plump and heavy), the seeds won't tolerate more than a few days of drying out in a warm room. Plant immediately after collecting, or else store over winter mixed with damp sand and stored in the fridge at +1 or +2°C.
     
  4. DreamRider

    DreamRider Member

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    Thank you for your response, another question on seeds. Knowing there are several seeds in a pod, do you break open the pod or plant the entire pod in one location?
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They're cones, not pods ;-)

    The cones break up on the tree when they are mature, with the seeds falling individually. Left: cones on the tree; right: fallen seeds.
     

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  6. DreamRider

    DreamRider Member

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    Oh, then my Uncle didn't allow the cone to mature and had one of the cones (tried to plant it, but didn't grow) Wonder if that's why then. Thank you for the information.
     
  7. Ian

    Ian Active Member

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    There is about a 20' tall monkey puzzle in the Tri Cities, as well as a few at the USFS Arboretum in Carson, which continue to persist despite temperatures below -10F. I would still try it in Yakima, even though -20F might kill it off.
     
  8. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  9. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Quote..."Next Question is Can Monkey Puzzle Trees survive indoors, like Bonzi's, and if so, would moving them outdoors during the warmer weather shock them? I have yet to find a Monkey Puzzle Tree in Yakima or Eastern Washington for that matter, if I could get the Monkey Puzzle Tree to survive I might strike enough ooh's and aww's and get more people to plant these very puzzleing trees...."

    The answer to that is YES. They do survive indoors during the colder months. I have been doing this for several years with both Araucaria and Agathis species. I believe the key is to allow them to be outdoors until the overnight temperatures reach around 40*F to allow their metabolism to slow down. I haven't had any issues so far. They typically go into a dormant state and I only water them when the soil is dry. In the Spring when the overnight temperatures are consistently over 50*F, then bring them outdoors in a shady spot for a few weeks, then transition them to a partly sunny spot in the yard. Most Araucaria are not well-suited for bonsai pruning, so all you can do is slow/limit their growth by keeping them in a well-draining, loose mix in a relatively small container.

    I agree with the other posts, though, that attempting an outdoor planting may end up in disappointment. Sure, you can wrap the tree to protect it during the winter when it is relatively small, but eventually it will outgrow your ability to protect it from the cold.
     

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