Araucaria (lat.Araucaria) is a genus of evergreen conifers of the Araucaria family. Distribution: Australia, on the islands of New Guinea, New Caledonia and Norfolk. In natural conditions it grows up to 50-60 m in height.
Araucaria or indoor spruce is an evergreen coniferous plant that can be grown in an apartment. Like many conifers, indoor spruce purifies the air.
Indoors it grows up to 2 m in height. Araucaria grows slowly and can be kept indoors for up to 8-10 years. Grows well in winter gardens. A mature plant can be planted outdoors.
Types of araucaria:
The most popular is the Araucaria heterophylla or indoor spruce (Araucaria heterophylla).
The names of the variegated araucaria are: tall araucaria, indoor spruce, Norfolk pine.
Lighting. Araucaria grows well in a place with bright, diffused light, but also grows in a small shade. Like most houseplants, she does not like direct sunlight. In summer, it is advisable to take the spruce into an open space: a balcony, a terrace, a garden. Remember to shade the plant from direct sunlight.
IMPORTANT: for uniform growth of branches, the araucaria must be turned around the axis to the sunny side once a week or placed in a place where sunlight evenly falls on it.
Temperature. Araucaria prefers cool and well-ventilated areas. In summer, the optimum temperature for keeping is 15-22 ° С, in winter - no higher than 15 ° С. Do not place the plant near central heating radiators and heaters.
Air humidity. It is advisable to spray the plant, especially in rooms with dry air. To increase humidity, indoor spruce can be placed in a pallet with damp expanded clay (but do not place the pot on expanded clay). Dry atmospheres can cause araucaria branches to dry out and turn yellow.
Watering. Water the plant abundantly so that the earthen lump in the pot is completely wet. The remaining water in the sump must be drained. In the summer, watering frequency is about once a week. The top layer of soil in the pot should dry out a little by the next watering. The frequency of watering also depends on the conditions in which the araucaria is kept - in hotter and drier rooms, they water more often.
In winter, especially in a cool room, watering is reduced.
Important: araucaria does not tolerate drought. Make sure that the earthy ball in the pot does not dry out.
Top dressing. Indoor spruce is fed during the growing season (spring-summer) once every 3 weeks. Araucaria does not like calcium (lime), therefore, its content in the fertilizer should be minimal.
Transfer. It is not recommended to frequently transplant araucaria. Young plants are transplanted every 2-4 years in spring or early summer into a more spacious pot. If you want to keep the spruce from growing, change the soil and transplant into a pot of the same size. The plant needs a good drainage layer (about 1/3 - ¼ of the pot). Transplant soil: 1 part of sod land, 2 parts of leaf, 2 parts of peat, 1 part of sand. You can use the store substrate "For conifers"
Trimming and shaping. Indoor spruce does not need pruning.
IMPORTANT: be careful not to damage the top of the araucaria, there is a growing point. If you break off the top of the spruce, then at best the plant will stop growing upward, at worst - the branches of the plant will begin to develop unevenly and the araucaria will look unaesthetic.
Bloom. Only adult specimens bloom. Araucaria rarely blooms in the apartment.
Reproduction. Araucaria is propagated mainly in two ways: by cuttings and sowing seeds. For breeding purposes, only an adult plant that is more than 10 years old is suitable.
In the middle of summer, a semi-lignified apical stalk (not the top!) Of a plant is cut off, 3-4 cm below the whorl (groups of ring-shaped branches located on the stem at the same height). It is dried for a day, cleaned of resin, treated with coal and planted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts. Cover with transparent plastic glasses to maintain moisture and put in a warm place (18-20 ° C). Rooting takes place within 2-5 months. Rooted cuttings are planted in a substrate for conifers.
Protection from pests and diseases. Araucaria can be attacked by a mealybug.
A plant can get sick from excessively dry air and high temperatures. It is also dangerous for a plant to dry out an earthen coma.
Plants in winter. In the autumn-winter period, the optimal temperature for room spruce is 10-15 ° C, but it can be kept at a higher temperature.
Do not place the plant near heating appliances. Do not overdry the spruce.
IMPORTANT: in winter, when airing the apartment, do not leave the araucaria in a cold draft.
Useful properties of araucaria. Like many conifers, araucaria secretes useful phytoncides (substances that destroy microbes and bacteria), purifies the air in the apartment.PHOTO OF ARAUKARIA