Araucaria - Expert tips
In this article
- How to Care for Araucaria: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
- Araucaria Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Light & Placement
- Temperature & humidity
- Soil & repotting
- Araucaria propagation
- Are Araucaria poisonous to your pets or children?
- Buy your new Araucaria online at PLNTS.com
How to Care for Araucaria: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Araucaria is a genus of evergreen coniferous trees and shrubs native to various regions of the Southern Hemisphere, including South America, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Some species of Araucaria are popular as houseplants, known for their unique and striking appearance.
Araucaria houseplants are commonly known by several names, including Norfolk Island Pine, Cook Pine, and Star Pine. The name "Norfolk Island Pine" is often used for the most common species grown as a houseplant, Araucaria Heterophylla.
Araucaria Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Provide bright, indirect sunlight. Araucarias appreciate several hours of direct sunlight each day, so place them near a south or west-facing window. However, protect them from harsh midday sun, especially during the summer.
- Maintain a consistent indoor temperature between 18-24°C. Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations and drafts, which can stress the plant.
- Araucaria prefers higher humidity levels. You can increase humidity by misting the tree regularly or placing a humidity tray nearby. Ensure the air around the plant doesn't become too dry, especially in the winter when indoor heating is running.
- Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water thoroughly when the top inch of the soil feels dry. During the winter, reduce watering frequency, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
- Use a well-draining, slightly acidic potting mix. Adding perlite or orchid bark can improve drainage. Repot your Araucaria when it outgrows its pot, typically every 2-3 years in spring.
- Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water accumulation at the root level. Ensure the pot is large enough to accommodate the tree's growth but not excessively spacious.
- Feed your Araucaria with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilization, as Araucarias are sensitive to excess salts.
- Regularly trim dead or yellowing branches to encourage healthy growth and maintain its shape. Be cautious not to cut too much at once, as Araucarias don't recover quickly from heavy pruning.
- Keep an eye out for common pests like spider mites and scale insects. If you spot an infestation, treat it promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- During the winter, reduce watering and avoid fertilizing as Araucarias naturally slow down their growth. Also, shield them from cold drafts, as they are sensitive to low temperatures.
Araucaria Care Tips
Light & Placement
When taking care of Araucaria as an indoor potted plant, never avoid light. These plants are very light-sensitive and so we advise you to keep them near windows or light areas. Place your Araucaria near a south or west-facing window where it can receive several hours of direct sunlight daily.These plants need direct bright light for their growth, as well as survival. So do not be afraid to place it right on the window sill, it will love direct sunlight.
Expert tip! Araucaria can be sensitive to changes in its environment, particularly regarding light and temperature. Try to keep it in a stable location to minimize stress and needle drop.
Before watering your plant, check the top 2.5 cm of the soil. Stick your finger into the soil; if it feels dry at this depth, it's time to water.
Expert tip! Once the pot feels light when lifted, compared to when you last watered it, this is the best time to irrigate.
When it's time to water, do so thoroughly. Water the plant until you see water coming out of the drainage holes in the pot. This ensures that the entire root ball is adequately moistened. Araucaria is sensitive to overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
During the plant's dormant period in the winter, reduce the frequency of watering.
We recommend to fertilise your Araucaria houseplant every four waters during the growing period before reducing this to every six in the autumn & winter. Make sure to use a fertiliser that is specifically for houseplants.
Expert tip! It's a good practice to water your plant lightly before applying fertiliser. This helps prevent root burn by ensuring the roots are not dry at the time of fertilisation.
Temperature & humidity
Being from a warm climate, Araucaria prefers warm environments. A comfortable indoor temperature is ideal for your plant. Make sure to avoid a spot near a drafty window or exterior door, as chilly airflow can be potentially damaging.
As for humidity, the higher the better! High humidity is a must for Araucaria to thrive. When the humidity is not up to standards, the tips of the branches may become brown and dry.
Expert tip! This houseplant will definitely benefit from a pebble tray or placement near a humidifier.
Soil & repotting
A potted Araucaria only needs to be repotted when it's root-bound or the roots are beginning to come out of the drainage hole. These green beauties are not very fast growers, so it might be possible to repot your tree every other year. When you are repotting your Araucaria, spring is usually the best time, as your plant is entering its active growth phase. Choose a new pot that is only slightly larger than the current one, as Araucaria prefers to be somewhat root-bound.
Use a well-draining potting mix that provides good aeration for the roots. Araucaria prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of around 6.0 to 7.0. You can check the pH level with a simple soil testing kit and adjust it if necessary.
Propagating an Araucaria is difficult, but not impossible! The best way to grow your own Araucaria is to plant the seeds that can be found inside the cones of the plant. If you want to try this method of propagation, follow these steps:
- Remove the seeds from the cones and clean off any remaining cone material. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours to soften their outer shell;
- Use a well-draining potting mix or seed-starting mix in small pots or seed trays. Fill the containers with the mix and lightly tamp it down.
- Plant the softened seeds on the surface of the potting mix, gently pressing them into the soil. Don't bury them too deep; just press them in slightly.
- Cover the containers with a clear plastic lid or plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse effect.
- Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mist the soil if it starts to dry out under the cover. It can take several weeks to several months for Araucaria seeds to sprout.
- Once the seedlings have grown large enough to handle, transplant them into individual pots with a well-draining potting mix.
Propagating through stem cuttings and division is also possible. If you want more information about this, visit our cutting and growing page, where we explain all forms of propagation step by step.
Most common pests & diseases on Araucaria
Araucaria houseplants are generally hardy, but they can still be susceptible to a few common pests and diseases, such as spider mites, aphids, scale insects and mealybugs. Being vigilant and addressing issues promptly is key to maintaining their health. Besides these bugs, Araucaria houseplants are also prone to some fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Want tips and advice on what to do about plant pests? Make sure to visit our PLNTSdoctor page.
Are Araucaria poisonous to your pets or children?
Araucaria trees are not typically considered highly toxic to pets or children, but the sharp and spiky leaves of some Araucaria species can be a physical hazard if touched or handled, potentially causing skin irritation or injury. Besides that, there is also a risk of suffocation. While Araucaria plants are not known for their toxicity, it's still a good idea to exercise caution and supervise young children and pets around these plants.
Buy your new Araucaria online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com we have the beautiful Araucaria Heterophylla, commonly known as North Folk Pine. Looking for a beautiful plant that adds a touch of Christmas to your home, then these beauties are great! Buy Araucaria online at PLNTS.com.