Araucaria belongs to conifers from the Araucariaceae family. There are about 14 varieties in total. The homeland of the flower is South America and Australia. Araucaria has rigid needle-shaped leaves. Its wood is used to make furniture, and its seeds are absolutely suitable for food.
The slow-growing tree has a special charm. It grows slowly: branches extending perpendicularly from the trunk form a strictly pyramidal crown. Soft, subulate leaves of needles of bright green color. Cover the tree with dense needles 2 cm long.
In the Caucasus, near the Black Sea coast, some types of araucaria are grown at home as ornamental plants. However, in most of the apartments, extremely dry air is observed, which prevents this flower from growing normally. Ideal conditions for its growth are created in greenhouses. If you take care of indoor spruce incorrectly, it can become seriously ill and even die.
You can try to grow this coniferous plant in an apartment. At home, araucaria, as a rule, refuses to bloom, but for decorative purposes it is perfect. For growing araucaria, they usually use a winter garden or pots. Like other conifers, it helps purify the air.
Basic rules for growing araucaria
The table shows brief rules for caring for araucaria at home.
|Lighting level||Indoor spruce constantly requires diffused and bright light.|
|Content temperature||In winter, maintain 10-15 degrees in the room, and in spring and summer try to keep the figure no more than 20 degrees.|
|Watering mode||In winter and autumn, the soil should be moistened only after it dries up to 2/3 of the depth. During the period of active growth, the flower needs to be provided with abundant watering.|
|Air humidity||Spray the plant regularly with a spray bottle to achieve high humidity.|
|The soil||The optimal substrate for growing araucaria is a mixture of peat, sand, leafy and sod soil in the following proportion – 1: 2: 1: 2.|
|Top dressing||While the indoor spruce continues to develop, the soil with it is fertilized once every 15 days. It is necessary to use a complex mineral fertilizer in which the calcium content is reduced.|
|Transfer||The transplant should be carried out exclusively in the spring or at the very beginning of summer. Young trees are planted in another container after the old one has ceased to contain their roots. Mature individuals are transplanted 1 time in 3-4 years.|
|Bloom||This ornamental deciduous plant practically does not bloom at home.|
|Dormant period||This period is observed from late autumn to the first spring days.|
|Reproduction||Carried out by means of cuttings or seeds (optional).|
|Pests||Araucaria can be severely affected by aphids and mealybugs.|
|Diseases||The development of diseases is provoked by 2 factors: inappropriate conditions of detention and improper care.|
Home care for araucaria
Araucaria is very fond of bright light, so at home you should provide sufficient illumination. In this case, direct sunlight on the flower must be excluded. In spring and summer, the araucaria will feel fine outside. After moving it there, choose a place that will not be exposed to precipitation and direct rays of the sun.
The optimal site for placing a bush will be the one on which it will be illuminated from 2 sides at the same time. If there is no such place, turn the spruce 90 degrees once a week – then the crown will form normally.
Room araucaria will be comfortable only in a cool room. While summer is on, keep the air temperature within 20 degrees. In the cold season, the plant will need 10-15 degrees, a higher temperature will negatively affect health.
For a whole year, araucaria must be watered only with well-settled water. Watch the soil in the summer – it should not dry out too much. If this does happen, the araucaria can be seriously harmed. Therefore, water the plant regularly and abundantly in the spring and summer. However, make sure that the liquid in the root system does not stagnate for a long time. In winter, the frequency and amount of watering should be reduced, especially if you keep the spruce in a cold room.
Constantly moisten the plant with a spray bottle, using for the indicated purpose only water that has stood for at least a day and has room temperature. The foliage should be moisturized throughout the year. This will be especially useful for those individuals who have to spend the winter in a well-heated room.
Having bought an araucaria in a store, you can carefully transfer it from a technical pot into a prepared home pot. There she can slowly but surely grow for 3 years. Don’t bother her more often.
The mixture of soil should consist of turf, sand, deciduous soil, peat and coniferous soil in a ratio of 1: 1: 1: 1: 0.5. And don’t forget to make a good drainage layer. Please note that there are species that grow very quickly. If you plant araucaria in a spacious container and follow all the growing rules, then in a few years you will get a large tree.
While the plant is in the stage of enhanced vegetation, feeding should be carried out at least once every 2 weeks. Araucaria is suitable mineral complex fertilizer with a minimum concentration of calcium. Professional growers advise to add mullein infusion to the soil, and do this about 1 time per month.
Araucaria transplant is carried out only in case of urgent need. This is, as a rule, an overgrown root system that has ceased to fit in the pot. This procedure is carried out between March and mid-April, or with the onset of summer. Only lush and mature bushes are subject to it, because the araucaria tolerates transplantation extremely negatively. A fragile individual can suffer greatly from this and even die.
Adult bushes are transplanted every 3-4 years. Use a wide pot, filling it with a soil mixture consisting of peat, turf, leafy soil and sand (taken in proportions 1: 2: 1: 2). You can also take a substrate that includes in equal parts sand, humus, peat, turf, coniferous and deciduous soil. Line the bottom of the tank with drainage to exclude stagnation of liquid in the ground. To grow indoor spruce, you can use the hydroponic method (without substrate, using nutrient solutions).
Breeding methods for araucaria
If you want to breed araucaria, you can easily do it at home. For propagation of this coniferous plant, apical and lateral cuttings are often used, as well as seeds.
Growing from seeds
Araucaria seeds should not be stored for a long time, otherwise they may not sprout at all. For sowing fresh seeds, use separate pots filled with equal parts sand, turf, peat and leafy soil (1: 1: 1: 1). You can also prepare an earth mixture by taking the following ingredients – peat, sand and a small amount of fine charcoal. Then the crops are slightly moistened with water, and the surface of the earth is slightly sprinkled with sphagnum moss. Do not forget to regularly ventilate and spray crops with a spray bottle. Watch the temperature in the room – it should be kept at around 20 degrees (small deviations are permissible).
Do not expect the sprouts to hatch at the same time. Some of the seedlings will appear in 15 days, and the rest will begin to emerge only after 2 months. When the roots of a small bush no longer fit in the container, it should be transplanted into a larger pot.
To prepare cuttings, use the semi-lignified branches growing at the top of the bush. The procedure is best done in March or in the first 2 weeks of April. You should step back a couple of centimeters from the whorl and make a neat cut. Be sure to let the prepared cuttings lie in a shaded place for 24 hours. After that, remove the resin that has come out from the cut, take the charcoal powder and sprinkle it on this place. For successful rooting of the cutting, treat its lower part with a special solution designed to stimulate root growth.
Next, the cuttings should be planted in separate pots filled with sand and peat (in a 1 to 1 ratio). However, you can get by with just sand. An inverted glass jar or cut-off plastic bottle is placed over each handle. They should be placed in a warm place (with a temperature of about 25 degrees), regularly ventilated and sprayed with a spray bottle. If the room is warm enough, the cuttings will take root in a couple of months. In a cooler room, this will have to wait longer – about 5 months.
When the roots of the cuttings grow and become cramped, transplant each of them into a large pot. In this case, you can take the substrate that was used for planting an adult plant (it is mentioned above about preparing a soil mixture for mature araucaria).
Diseases and pests
If you do not provide the proper care for the araucaria, you will face a number of problems:
- The termination of the growth of the bush after pruning. The growth of the top of a room spruce will not occur correctly or will stop altogether if you injure it when pruning. Place the flower in a lighted place, monitor the room temperature in winter (hypothermia is harmful for it) and regularly humidify the air in the room.
- Shedding and drying of the bush. In poor lighting and low humidity, its needles crumble. The stems turn yellow and dry. Branches can droop for other reasons – for example, at too high room temperature or with prolonged stagnation of liquid in the ground.
- Delayed plant development. If the soil mixture is excessively oversaturated with calcium, its growth will be extremely slow.
- The young branches have become too thin. This phenomenon is observed in cases of irregular fertilization of the soil.
- Damage to a flower by harmful insects. It can be harmed by mealybugs and aphids known to many plant breeders. They can also become a victim of insects that parasitize conifers. If you notice white lumps between the needles, remove them with a semi-hard glue brush dipped in alcohol. Then treat these places with Aktara insecticide.
Types and varieties of araucaria with a photo
The natural habitat of the species is the tropical part of the southern New Hebrides and Pine Island. Short branches, grouped in separate whorls, grow almost at right angles to the trunk. The crown apex is widened. The bristly buds reach a length of about 10 centimeters. Each lump has a subulate appendage drawn downwards. The plant has needles that are soft to the touch and a crown that gradually tapers at the top. The cultivation of this species is most often done in the tropics and subtropics.
Variegated araucaria (Araucaria heterophylla)
Norfolk Island is considered the homeland of this species. Its maximum height is about 60 meters. The bark of the spruce is light brown, flaky. The crown has a pyramidal shape due to the fact that the branches grow perpendicular to the trunk. Needle leaves with four edges form a spiral on the branches. They are about 2 centimeters long and are slightly curved upward. Often, novice growers mistakenly mistake the specified species for a high araucaria (in Latin – Araucaria excelsa).
Narrow-leaved araucaria (Araucaria angustifolia)
It is also called the Brazilian araucaria (Araucaria brasiliana). The habitat is the mountains located in the southern part of Brazil. In its natural environment, the tree grows up to 50 meters in length. At home, its dimensions will be more modest – at best, 3 meters. Thin branches, filled with linear-lanceolate leaf plates, hang from the plant. The leaves are bright green in color, their length is about 5 centimeters. The araucaria in question has very valuable wood. It is actively used in the construction industry, in the manufacture of furniture and musical instruments. It is also used to make paper.
Chilean araucaria (Araucaria araucana)
The flower grows in nature – Chile and the western region of Argentina. In diameter, the trunk can reach a mark of 1 meter 50 centimeters, and in height – up to 60 meters. The thick resinous bark has numerous longitudinal cracks. Usually, the lower branches of spruce cover the surface of the earth. After a while, they usually die off. The branches located on the sides are collected in whorls in groups of 6-7 pieces. The lateral branches of mature plants grow perpendicularly (relative to the trunk); in trees of venerable age, they sag slightly. The leaf plates are tough, prickly, dark green in color and sit tightly on the branches. By their arrangement, they form a spiral, just like Araucaria heterophylla.
The wood obtained from the processing of the Chilean araucaria is actively used in the construction of various objects. And its seeds have a magical taste (similar to nutty ones), and are of great benefit to the body. So, they are rich in protein and calcium, which are required by the human body to maintain normal life, strengthen bones, etc.