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Araucaria: growing, care, reproduction

Araucaria is one of the few conifers that you can try to grow at home (along with the legcarpe, lanceolate cunningamia and large cypress). This is due to the fact that natural habitats of araucaria (19 currently existing species are known) are areas with a warm climate (Australia, Norfolk Island, New Guinea, Chile, Argentina, Brazil) and the plants are adapted to a rather warm wintering.

Chilean araucaria

Chilean araucaria (Araucaria araucana) can be found in the botanical gardens of the Crimea and the Caucasus. The plant is native to Chile and Argentina - a very large tree, reaches 60 meters in height. The branches are located in horizontal whorls of 6-7, with age, the lower ones fall off and the crown acquires an umbrella-shaped shape. The needles are thick, scaly, rigid, triangular (3-4 cm in length with a base of 1-3 cm), with sharp edges, tightly arranged in a spiral and lasts up to 10-15 years, due to this, it covers most of the tree. The branches are arranged in very symmetrical whorls and resemble reptiles. This is a rather hardy species, tolerates a short-term drop in temperature to -20 ° C, which made it a popular outdoor plant in Europe.

As a rule, Chilean araucaria is a dioecious plant, although there are also monoecious specimens. The seeds are edible, similar to pine nuts. In honor of this species, the whole genus of araucaria is named, from the name of the Chilean area of ​​Araucan, where the thickets of this plant were discovered by the Spanish conquerors.

Chilean araucaria

Araucaria varifolia (Araucaria heterophylla) - the most common type for indoor maintenance. Her homeland is about. Norfolk is near Australia and is often referred to as the Norfolk Pine. In nature, this species can reach 50-65 m in height. It is a monoecious plant (male and female cones are formed on one plant). Female cones are round, up to 10-14 cm in diameter and contain large edible seeds. But at home, araucaria grows to a much more modest size and never forms cones.

The tree has a clear and wide arrangement of whorls of branches on a straight trunk, each branch resembles an even triangle, due to which the plant has a very decorative appearance and is often used as a Christmas tree.

Araucaria varifoliaAraucaria varifolia

The species got its name due to the change in the shape of the needles as the tree grows. At a young age, up to about 30-40 years, the branches are covered with subulate emerald-green needles 1-2 cm long and 1 mm wide. In the future, scaly concave needles begin to grow, up to 10 mm long and 2-4 mm wide, which tightly encircle the branches in a spiral.

Araucaria angustifolia, or brazilian (Araucaria angustifolia) suitable for growing at home and in greenhouses, since under these conditions it rarely reaches 3-4 meters in height.

The homeland of the plant is South Brazil. In nature, this tree is 25-30 meters, sometimes up to 50 meters in height with a straight, even trunk. The branches are arranged horizontally in whorls, the lower ones fall off with age and the crown acquires a flattened umbrella-shaped shape. Shoots are collected in characteristic whorls at the ends of the branches, due to which the plant is often called the Candelabra tree. The needles are lanceolate, pointed, thick, matte, dark green, 3-6 cm in length with a base of about 0.5 cm, more often in pairs at the end of the shoots in whorls. The needles on fertile shoots are much smaller and thicker. The plant is dioecious, the female cones are spherical, reaching 20 cm in diameter.

Araucaria Hanstein (Araucaria hunsteinii) - this species has recently been supplied as a pot plant from Holland. The homeland is the mountains of Papua New Guinea, where it is on the verge of extinction. These are the tallest trees in their genus, they can reach a height of 80-90 m, the trunk is even, up to 3 m in diameter. The branches are arranged in horizontal whorls of 5-6.The needles are scaly or subulate, long, 6-12 cm long and 1.5-2 cm wide at the base, with a sharp end, shorter and narrower on young branches, arranged in a spiral. As a rule, these are monoecious plants. Seed (female) cones are oval, up to 25 cm long.

Araucaria varifolia

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Araucaria varifolia

Illumination... Araucaria prefers bright light with little protection from midday summer sunlight. Rotate the plant regularly to form an even crown. In summer, it is useful to take the araucaria out into the open air (without endangering the effects of low temperatures) in the light shade of trees. It is imperative to monitor the uniformity of the crown lighting, with a lack of light, some of the branches may turn yellow and lose needles, this should be avoided, since the crown will not recover and the plant may lose its decorative effect. In winter, it is advisable to arrange supplementary lighting of the plant (daylight length 12 hours) with fluorescent or LED lamps (for one plant, a 20-40-watt lamp will be sufficient with a low placement directly above the plant).

Temperature. The optimum temperature in summer is + 15 + 22 ° C, in winter - + 10 + 16 ° C. Araucaria does not tolerate high temperatures, during the heat it is better to place the plant in an air-conditioned room or spray the crown often. At home, be sure to provide the plant with fresh air.

Watering should be regular and moderate. It is advisable to maintain the soil in an evenly moist state, avoiding drying out and dampness; wait for the top layer to dry between waterings. Water only with warm and settled water, always from above. Do not allow water to stagnate in the sump. In winter, with a decrease in temperature, the frequency and abundance of watering decreases, but the soil still cannot be allowed to dry out.

Air humidity. It is desirable to maintain high air humidity. With insufficient humidity, the needles at the ends of the branches begin to dry out. Do not place plants close to heating appliances. Spray the plant several times a day at temperatures above + 18 ° C. During the heat, very frequent spraying is required, this will help the plant to cope with the high temperatures. At temperatures below + 15 ° C, it is not necessary to spray the plant.

Fertilizers use necessarily special, for conifers, according to the instructions (it is better to slightly reduce the dosage). Top dressing can only be carried out on a pre-moistened coma.

Transfer... After purchasing the plant, carefully remove the clod from the pot. If the roots are tightly braided with a lump, then you should soon transfer (without replacing the soil) into a slightly larger pot with the addition of a substrate for conifers. Try not to damage the roots, replanting with a replacement soil can lead to the death of the plant. The next transplant may be required only after 3-4 years, when the lump will again be tightly braided with roots.

Reproduction

Reproduction of araucaria is possible by seeds and cuttings.

For vegetative propagation only apical or intermediate stem cuttings are taken. Rooted side branches can give asymmetrical growth. The shoot is cut a few centimeters below the knot (whorls of the side branches). It is dried for some time to freeze the resin. Then you should carefully remove the resin from the bottom of the shoot, dip the bottom in dry Kornevin and plant it to the level of the whorl of the branches in sterile soil (or a peat tablet). It is imperative to place the planted plant in a greenhouse with a temperature of about + 25 ° C. Rooting occurs in about 2-4 months.

Trimming the top of the head can lead to a loss of decorativeness of the plant.

Araucaria can be propagated seeds... It is better to take seeds immediately after harvesting, since germination drops sharply over time. Sow seeds one at a time in small containers filled with a mixture of peat and sand, slightly moisten and put in a warm place.However, araucaria seeds can sprout unevenly, from 2 weeks to several months. At first, seedlings develop very slowly.

Chilean araucaria seeds

Pests

Araucaria is quite resistant to pests, but can be affected by mealybugs and specific pests of conifers. If you notice white clusters that look like pieces of cotton wool, take a semi-hard brush (for glue), moisten it with alcohol and carefully remove the pests between the needles, treat with Aktara.

Photo by Rita Brilliantova and from the GreenInfo.ru forum

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