Araucaria heterophylla

Araucaria heterophylla

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Araucaria heterophylla is part of the Araucariaceae family and its native range of this species is Norfolk Island where it grows in the wet tropical biome. It is a conifer with a pyramidal to columnar shape and features whorled, horizontal branches with secondary branches that tend to droop slightly. A. heterophylla grows off the coast of Australia, in Norfolk Island where it grows on basalt sea cliffs and interior rainforests, here it can reach 60m in height. It has needle-like, awl-shaped juvenile leaves but as the plant matures, its adult leaves become scale-like and lanceolate. 

Genus name comes from the Araucanian Indians of central Chile to whose territory Araucaria is native. Specific epithet comes from Greek hetero meaning ‘different’ and phylla meaning ‘leaves’.

Light: Araucaria heterophylla appreciate periods of full sun; this helps it to develop compact symmetrical growth. You should grow it in a place that receives bright, filtered sunlight during the day. Be careful to not overexpose to light, as direct, intense light can cause the plant to develop foliage bleach.

Water: Allow the potting mix to dry out almost at least 50% between waterings, aerate the mix with a few pokes of a skewer or blunt stick, pour water slowly over the top and allow the water to pass through the drainage holes. Get used to the weight of your plant when you have first watered it compared to how light it is after a couple of weeks.

Potting mix: A chunky well draining mix composed of coco coir, perlite, pine bark and worm castings. You could also add some horticultural grit to the mix to make it even more well draining. 

Fertilising: Feed your plant every few waterings during the growing season or when you observe active growth. You can dilute fertiliser to half the recommended amount but never add more.

Temperature: 12-18˚C.

Humidity: Average home humidity is usually fine but consider sitting your plant on a watered pebble tray if your humidity is below 50% at home.

Araucaria heterophylla are toxic, keep out of reach of pets and children.