Best Care Tips for Christmas Tree or Araucaria

Best Care Tips for Christmas Tree or Araucaria
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Image Source: Photo by form PxHere

There are more around 20 species of Araucaria. They are evergreen coniferous trees but can be easily grown in indoor and outdoor as an ornamental plants. They require certain amount of care and maintenance. Under right conditions, they can grow up to 80 m tall and can survive for a very long time.

Quick Details and Care tips for Christmas Tree or Araucaria

Other Common NamesMonkey Puzzle Tree, Star Pine, Triangle Tree,
Living Norfolk Pine, Christmas Tree
TypeIndoor/ outdoor ornamental plant
FloweringProduces cones (only in natural conditions)
LightBright direct sunlight or partial shade
WaterWater when the top soil becomes dry
TemperatureWarm humid conditions
SoilWell draining soil
FertilizerFertilizer low in nitrogen
Common DiseasesStem rot
Scientific nameAraucaria heterophylla

Christmas Tree Buying Instructions

  • While buying the plant ensure that plant leaves are green and healthy.
  • Do not buy a plant with brown or dry leaves.
  • Its good, if you get a plant with one or two side branches. But its not mandatory as this is not normal. Having branch, adds to the foliage of plant.
  • Should be planted in bigger pot as the plant have robust root system.

Overview of Christmas Tree/Araucaria

They are evergreen trees belonging to the family Araucariaceae. They are native to Australian Norfolk Island. The trees appear like pines but are not real pines. The trees can grow up to a height of 50 m and more. They are one of the most commonly grown indoor pine plant. The branches spread horizontally in whorls and are covered with needle like leaves overlapping each other. The trees are dioecious with separate male and female trees which sometimes are monoecious or change their sex with change in time. The seeds are edible.

Care tips for Christmas tree, details of Christmas tree
Soil, water and temperature needs for Christmas tree

Image Source: Webysther Nunes / CC BY-SA (Image cropped)

Special about Araucaria

Araucaria is a National Tree of Chile. There are multiple famous stories of Araucaria in Chile. Once during the extreme winters when there was a shortage of food near by Araucaria forest. People harvested and consumes Pine nuts for the survival and from then the collection of pine nuts became a ritual that is known as “the piñoneo”. This takes place every year between February and April in that region.

Usage and Advantage of Araucaria

  • Yet, these are big trees but can be grown as an indoor and outdoor ornamental plant.
  • Araucaria is slow growing and long living tree/plant. If cared properly, it can survive more than 100 years. It makes this plant your true companion for whole life.
  • Christmas Tree can also be used in Christmas for decoration purpose.
  • Araucaria trees are grown for timber in their natural conditions.
  • In their natural conditions Araucaria seeds (Pine Nuts) are harvested and consumed as fruits which is a good source of minerals, fiber and protein. Pine nuts also contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 which helps in improving our brain and cardiovascular system.

General Care tips for Christmas Tree of Araucaria

Below are the some general guidelines and care tips for Christmas Tree.

Water Need for Christmas Tree

Water them enough to maintain the moisture in the soil. Check the top soil and water only when the soil is dry. They do not prefer excess moisture or water clogged soil. You can sprinkle water once in a week to keep the plant leaves hydrated.

Sunlight for Christmas Tree:

They prefer being exposed to bright direct sunlight at least for 4-6 hours a day. They thrive even in partial shade or bright indirect sunlight.

Temperature Conditions for Christmas Tree:

They prefer warm climatic conditions. The plants can tolerate heat but are not resistant to cold and can wilt and die if exposed to excess cold. They are well suited for the temperatures indoors or to be places in a warm corner outdoors. The plants prefer high humidity.

Special Care for Christmas Tree:

They do not require much care. Do not prune or shape the plant. They naturally grow in shape. The terminal bud should not be removed. The leaves at the base can turn brown, these can be cut off from the plant.

Fertilization requirement for Christmas Tree:

Fertilize the plants with a mild liquid fertilizer during the growing period.They can be fed ones in 14 days. Avoid feeding them during winters. Over fertilization and addition of fertilizer rich in nitrogen can show adverse effects on the plant.

Pests and other problems for Christmas Tree

The plants can be prone to pests like mealy bugs and thripse. Other than the attack of pests, one of the most common disease is the stem rot. The stems start to change the colour to brown which eventually spreads and results in the death of the plant.

You need to change the watering behavior if you notice the brown leaves or leaves of your Christmas Tree are drying. It may happen because of over watering or under watering.

Propagation of Christmas Tree

The propagation can take place through seeds or through stem cutting.

Propagation of Christmas Tree through Seeds

Propagation through seeds are rare and difficult. Fresh seeds should be selected and the seedling can take a long time to develop in to a mature plant.The seeds can be planted either in a pot or directed in ground. In case of pots, place a single seed per pot. Sow single seed per pot. Place the pot in a shady warm region, water enough to provide enough moisture.

Propagation of Christmas Tree through Stem Cutting:

This is not an easy method and requires good expertise and proper conditions. Stem cuttings can be made during winter. Only the terminal stem should be used as a stem cutting. The cutting should contain minimum a whorl of leaf and a flowering bud. The stem cutting can be inserted in to a potting mix and left it a warm spot with partial shade and watered to maintain enough moisture.

Follow the above care tips for Christmas tree. If you provide proper care, this plant can last for your whole life.

reema shaju

reema shaju

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