Taking care of a Wollemi Pine
The Wollemi Pine, the ultimate survivor, is proving to be hardy
and versatile in cultivation. It is not only attractive and striking
in appearance, it is easy to grow and low maintenance.
It will adapt to a diverse range of climatic zones, thriving in
full sun to semi-shaded outdoor positions.
It is a stunning feature tree for large gardens and parklands.
It can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, so is well suited
to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor
decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.
Taking care of the Wollemi Pine as:
The Wollemi Pine as an indoor/outdoor pot plant
As the Wollemi Pine can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely,
it is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also
be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to
The appropriate watering of both indoor and outdoor pot plants is
essential for good health and survival. The best way to know when
your pot plant requires watering is to regularly check the moisture
content of the potting mix by feeling the top 5cm of the potting
mix with your finger. This may be once every one or two weeks. If
dry, completely saturate the potting mix.
If it is an indoor plant, place it in a shady position outside
before saturating the potting mix and return the plant indoors after
it has drained. It is important not to over water or have the plant
sitting in a saucer of water. As a general rule of thumb, the lower
the light level, the less water loss.
Remember to only water when dry. Even in hot, dry conditions, do not water daily, and only water when the potting mix is dry.
For an outdoor living area such as a balcony or courtyard, choose
a sheltered location out of the full sun. Before placing the Wollemi Pine in the full sun, it is recommended to gradualy condition the plant to its new environment. If placed in the full
sun, they will initially develop a slight yellowing of the foliage,
as do other rainforest and Araucariaceae species. However, they
do regain their regular deep green appearance within six months.
As an indoor plant your Wollemi Pine should be placed in a well
lit position preferably near a window or doorway. As with all indoor
plants, especially trees, the Wollemi Pine occasionally needs to
be placed outdoors in a sheltered, shaded area. It is recommended
this be done for one week out of every month.
The Wollemi Pine can be shaped using sterile secateurs at any time
of the year to maintain its compact form. Pruning can be done on the upright stems and branches. New buds will generally develop from just below the cut.
A slow release low phosphorus fertilizer suitable for native trees in combination with a foliar fertiliser will promote optimum growth. Follow labelling
instructions. Keeping the Wollemi Pine in a pot and fertilizing
slightly, will slow its growth rate.
The Wollemi Pine's root growth is strong, but not so vigorous that
plants will require frequent re-potting, hence its suitability as a pot plant.
* Place the Wollemi in a slightly
larger pot than the one supplied.
Fill the bottom of a clean pot
with good quality potting mix to ensure that the root ball is at
the same level as previously.
Place the root ball in the pot and
fill with potting mix.
Tap the pot to ensure the potting mix fills
all the spaces and covers the top of the root ball.
water the plant until saturated.
Follow the instructions on the potting mix label to determine whether
you need to top dress with slow release granular fertilizer.
A specially formulated potting mix for the rare and ancient Wollemi Pine has been produced by Galuku, the world leader in premium coir. This unique formula results in a free-draining mix that promotes healthy roots and healthy growth with less watering required. For detailed instructions regarding re-potting the Wollemi Pine visit: www.cocoearth.com
The Wollemi Pine as a garden or landscape tree
The Wollemi Pine will make a spectacular specimen tree, planted
as an avenue, grove or hedge and can be planted in the understorey
of a rainforest.
The Wollemi Pine in Australia has grown in a range of temperatures
from -5 °C to 45 °C (23 °F to 113 °F) and it could
even be hardier than this. Trials in the USA and Japan have indicated
that it will survive temperatures as cold as -12°C (10.4 °F).
The Wollemi Pines are not easily damaged in high winds as they
have strong flexible stems, branches and leaves.
As a young plant, up to 18 months of age, a Wollemi Pine can grow
half a metre a year perhaps reaching a height of 20m in its lifetime.
A mature plant will grow around a metre a year. If the plant is
not fertilized or kept in medium to low light conditions, it will
grow more slowly.
Even though the Wollemi Pine tolerates a wide range of soil types,
it favours a well drained, slightly acid (pH 5.5 to 6) fertile site.
The suitability of your site can be improved by cultivating the
soil, that is loosening it to twice the depth and diameter of the
pot and removing any competing plants or weeds.
To learn how to improve the suitability of your site visit www.cocoearth.com
The spacing at which to plant your Wollemi Pines depends on the
effect you wish to create. If you want a single specimen tree or
an avenue, it is recommended that you leave a radius of approximately
2.5 metres around the tree. If you want a hedge or grove effect,
you can plant the trees much closer, even one to two metres apart.
The optimum time of year to plant your Wollemi Pine depends on the
seasonal conditions of your area. However, if you live in a cold
climate, it is best to plant the Wollemi Pine in the warmer months.
Ensure that you initially saturate the potted plant before you
plant. This is best done by submersing the root ball in water until
all air bubbles cease to rise. Immediately after planting, water
the soil around the plant deeply. You should water the tree deeply
every 5-7 days until the plant has established new foliage and then
water during drought periods.
It is best to remove the Wollemi Pine from the biodegradable pot
before planting. Crush the biodegradable pot and place it in your
compost bin or garden.
The Wollemi Pine can be heavily pruned i.e. up to two thirds of
the plant size removed. You can prune both the apical growth (upright
stems) and the branches. New buds (from one to multiple) will generally
originate from just below the cut. To stimulate active growth after
pruning, apply slow release granular fertilizer at recommended rates.
It is best to prune in the winter months for large diameter stems
and branches (greater than 5cm). Use sterile, sharp pruning equipment
to match the size of the stem or branch being pruned.