Araucaria is an exotic tree resembling a spruce. The plant is distributed in the high forests of the southern hemisphere from Australia and New Zealand to Peru. In the natural environment, araucaria is a tall tree with spiny branches at the top of the crown. Its wood is valued very highly. Indoor araucaria appeared relatively recently. It has a more modest size and soft needles. Due to its resemblance to ordinary spruce, gardeners are happy to buy such a beauty home, but she is popular not only during the New Year holidays.
In the natural environment, araucaria is a tree 50-60 m high (some reach 90 m). Its trunk is straight, and the branches grow almost parallel to the ground. Araucaria home usually does not grow more than 1.5-2 m. The branches on the trunk are whorled and when viewed from above resemble a star. For a year, 1-2 new whorls grow on a tree. The lower branches of the young plant literally lie on the surface of the soil, but over time they fall, leaving small traces on the trunk.
The branch is covered with short and hard needles along the entire length. They have a triangular shape with a wider base. The color of the needles varies from bright green to a bluish color. The length of small modified leaflets is 0.5-5 cm, and the width is 0.3-2.5 cm.
Araucaria are dioecious plants. Trees are covered with female (oval) or male (elongated) cones. Light green female cones reach a length of 20 cm. Their lobes fit snugly against each other, and edible seeds are hidden between the scales. The weight of one cone is about 1.5 kg.
Types of Araucaria
Among about 20 species of araucaria, only a few are suitable for indoor cultivation. Most popular is variegated araucaria. It is also called "room spruce." This delicate tree with a pyramidal crown and light green needles looks very elegant in the house. The dark brown bark on the trunk peels slightly. Young branches cover miniature scales up to 8 mm long.
Araucaria brazilian (narrow-leaved). A houseplant can reach a height of 3 m. Short triangular leaves of a bright green hue densely cover the shoots. A characteristic feature is the drooping tips of the branches.
Chilean Araucaria. Each branch, densely covered with hard green triangles, resembles a monkey tail. For this feature, this species is called "monkey tree". The plant is valued for high quality wood and edible seeds in cones. It is able to withstand minor frosts.
Araucaria colony. The tree has a pyramidal crown, which consists of short and thick branches located perpendicular to the trunk. Cones up to 10 cm long are formed on an adult plant.
Reproduction of araucaria is carried out by the method of sowing seeds and rooting semi-lignified cuttings. Seeds should be sown immediately after harvest, as their germination rate is rapidly reduced. In each pot with a sand-peat soil mixture, 1-2 seeds are planted to a depth of 2-3 cm. After irrigation, the surface of the earth is lined with sphagnum moss for optimal moisture exchange. Before emergence, you can put the containers in a dark place with an air temperature of +18 ... +20 ° C. Shoots appear in 2-8 weeks depending on the freshness of the seeds. When the first bunch of needles decorates the top of the shoot, the seedlings should be transplanted to a permanent place. If a suitable pot was immediately selected, you can continue growing without diving.
To root the cuttings, apical shoots with at least one whorl of branches are cut in early spring. During the day, the cut is dried in air, and then excess resin is removed and sprinkled with crushed charcoal. Before planting, the cuttings are treated with root and planted in sandy-peat or sandy soil. Before rooting, the seedlings are kept under the hood, periodically ventilated and watered. Rooting can take 2-5 months, during which it is necessary to maintain air temperature + 24 ... +26 ° C.
Araucaria is very painful for transplants, so they need to be carried out only if the roots are completely covered with an earthen lump. Indoor spruce is carefully removed from the pot and try not to disturb the rhizome. The new pot should be deep and wide enough. Large drainage material is laid at the bottom. Soil for araucaria usually consists of:
- soddy soil;
- river sand;
- sheet soil;
If desired, you can add coniferous earth and deciduous humus to the substrate. After transplanting for several days, the plant is left alone. It is not recommended to excessively moisten the soil, rotate and move the tree.
Araucaria at home requires a special approach. In the natural environment, it lives in the mountains, where there is always coolness. The ideal temperature for the plant is around +20 ° C. If the room is too hot, the araucaria turns yellow and discards leaves. For the summer, it is recommended to take the tree to fresh air, it is not afraid of small drafts and night cooling. In winter, it is advisable to lower the temperature to + 10 ... +12 ° C. If the house has a glazed balcony, it is ideal for a room spruce.
This coniferous beauty prefers bright diffused light. It can also be in small partial shade. It is better to keep araucaria under other plants in the garden or put in the back of the room, away from direct sunlight. It is recommended that you rotate the pot periodically with respect to the light source to avoid bending the barrel.
Humidity should be above average. In too dry araucaria can drop needles. It is recommended to carry out periodic sprayings and occasionally bathe a tree under a weak warm shower. If necessary, you can use trays with wet pebbles or put the plant near the aquarium.
Water the araucaria with warm and very soft water. It is advisable to pre-boil, stand or purify tap water using a filter. Watering should be frequent enough so that the earthen lump only dries out by a quarter. It is also important to ensure that the water does not stagnate in the soil or sump. All excess should be poured out half an hour after irrigation.
From April to October, araucaria must be fed with mineral fertilizers. Without them, the needles become thin and faded. In fertilizer it is important to control the level of calcium, it should be minimal. Excess of this mineral in top dressing or water for irrigation slows the growth of araucaria.
Indoor spruce is distinguished by excellent immunity and rarely suffers from parasite attacks. The most common pests for it are aphids, moth-erythematosus, and pine loach. Special insecticides (Fastak, Decis, Karbofos) help cope with parasite attacks.