what conditions do monkey puzzle trees like

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by PLANT LOVER 210, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. PLANT LOVER 210

    PLANT LOVER 210 Member

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    I have a monkey puzzle tree. We just moved from Tualatin, (south of Portland) Oregon to New Lenox, (south of Chicago) Illinois. I got my tree maybe three years before we moved and it is about 2-3 feet right now. It means more than anything to me. I've noticed that some of the spiny leaf things (what ever you want to call them) are brown. We have our house torn apart right now remodeling. It isn't getting a lot of sun because of that. I keep it well watered, but that's all I can do right now. I was just wondering if the brown should be normal for the conditions it is in right now or if something else is wrong. I would also like to know what conditions it would prefer and how I can replicate them. Again, it would mean the world to me because I love it so much. Thank you so much. :)
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Not suitable for year-round outdoor culture in Chicago. Climate MUCH too extreme. If it's sitting outside in a pot in Illinois in December the browning may indicate that it is dead or dying. To keep one of these alive there you must never allow it to sit out unprotected in frigid weather. If yours has not been zapped by cold yet you will have to provide a cool/cold greenhouse or similar winter environment for it, where it will have bright and humid conditions but the roots will not freeze.
     
  3. PLANT LOVER 210

    PLANT LOVER 210 Member

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    Thanks. I already have it inside thinking just that. It is in a spot by a french door which is mainly windows. I really do appreciate though. Thanks again. :)
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Not a house plant either, it will need a cool and quite bright area.
     
  5. PLANT LOVER 210

    PLANT LOVER 210 Member

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    How cool do you think?
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Like winter in PNW. Tree is native to Andes, grows up fairly high. Can't take subzero winters but doesn't want summer-like temperatures (and low humidity, low illumination) of typical heated indoor space either. Being in a pot it also needs to have the roots protected from penetrating frost.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Ideally average temperatures of around 20°C in summer, and 5°C in winter, with high humidity and rainfall. Can't really be done in Chicago!
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: even if you manage to get it through the winter then there is the problem of the summer.
     
  9. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Well, for what it's worth. Here is one of my previous posts regarding growing these trees in West Michigan....

    I am currently growing a single, 8-yr-old araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree), 2 4-yr-old araucaria bidwilli (bunya-bunya), and 14 2-yr-old agathis robusta (Queensland kauri) seedlings at my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan (zone 5). They are container plants that are moved indoors around the end of October when the threat of snow or freezing weather arrives. I move them outdoors towards the end of May-beginning of June.

    Granted, these are small, immature trees, and time will tell how well they will tolerate things in the future. But for what it's worth, I am no expert, but this is what has worked so far:

    1. These trees, from what I have seen, do develop a deep tap root with relatively little lateral root development (as compared to many other trees). Pick your container accordingly.
    2. As with most container trees, bonsai, etc. The root systems need a quick draining potting mix. I have used a mix of bonsai soil, peat moss, ground bark, and perlite...about an even mix of each. I am not convinced that it really matters too much as long as it drains well and is of some materials known to inhibit the growth of soil-born fungi and organisms.
    3. I have several bonsai, and I will likely use some "growth-restricting" techniques common to this art for these trees, but I keep hearing about this precious tap root that may need to be preserved while doing some root trimming. I have not had to do this yet, as the trees are so young.
    4. I also have found that a granular systemic insectide mixed in with the potting mix has significantly reduced any soil-born insects from being carried into my home in the Fall.
    5. Humidity trays help reduce leaf drop with all my plants during their time indoors.
    6. Use a small fan to keep the air circulating, or place plants in an area where there is a fair amount of walking traffic (but not where you or the plant could get damaged). Air circulation and humidity help significantly as most homes in the U.S. use some type of forced-air heat that can be quite dry and will damage most indoor plants...not to mention, stagnant air encourages scale, mites, and other little critters.
    7. Use 1/4 strength fertilizer mixes. Whatever, the directions say on the container...use 1/4 of it, and only during the warm growing season outdoors. This will help reduce salt build-up in the soil, reduce leaf burn on the tips, and will slow/restrict growth.
    8. Grow the plant slow and healthy. Araucariacea are typically slow growers anyhow.
    9. When you move the plant outdoors, have it spend a good 2 weeks on the north side of the house. No direct sunlight. After a few weeks, you can then move it to the east or west side of the house where it can get a few hours of sun in the morning or late afternoon. I would not recommend full southern exposure during the hottest summer months.

    By the way, I recently viewed an internet advertisement for agathis robusta (Queensland Kauri) in Australia as a potted, interior plant. On the internet, I have also seen other araucariaceae family members, podocarps, and other tropical and temperate climate trees grown indoors during the cold winter months.........

    That was last year. The trees are still doing fine. As said above, I do not know how long I can realistically keep these trees. They are healthy, growing slow, looking good, etc. They WILL get too big to bring indoors. What happens then,...who knows.
     
  10. PLANT LOVER 210

    PLANT LOVER 210 Member

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    I think that's a good idea. Thanks.
     

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