How to Propagate Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus)


Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus

Botanical name: Podocarpus macrophyllus
Family: Podocaroaceae

Buddhist Pine can be propagated from seeds or from semi-hard wood stem cuttings taken during the growing period.

The Pine bears cones in which are 2-4 scales, usually 1 or 2 are fertile. Each fertile scale bears a single apical seed which is 10-15 mm long.

The seeds are not easy to germinate and can take upto 18 months to germinate. The mature seeds are are sown into sandy potting soil.

The scales must first be removed by scarification. Propagation by stem cuttings is much more successful than seed germination.

Below we outline propagation of Buddhist Pine from semi-hard wood stem cuttings.

Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus

Steps on How to Propagate Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus)

1. Select a large healthy Buddhist Pine

Avoid any diseased or pest infested plant to prevent transmission of the same to the new plants.

Ensure the Buddhist Pine bears numerous shoots and is large enough that it will not be harmed from taking cuttings.

2. Identify the shoots of the Buddhist Pine from which you will take the cuttings

Select those shoots that have new growth. If possible avoid those shoots bearing flowers as they may take longer to root.

3. Take the semi-hard wood stem cuttings from your Buddhist Pine

Disinfect your cutting tool (scissors, sharp knife, razor blade etc) with rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

With the clean sterilized cutting tool, take 3-4 inches of Buddhist Pine stem cuttings. Ensure each cutting has at least 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from.

4. Prepare the Buddhist Pine cuttings

Remove leaves from the lower third to half of the Buddhist Pine cutting and leave one set of leaves.

Reduce the leaves by half to reduce water loss and preserve space. The leaves are important as they continue to photosynthesize (make) food for the cutting which is necessary for growth and root development.

To hasten rooting, wound the nodes a little by slightly cutting through with a sterile cutting tool.

Keep the cuttings cool and moist until you insert them into the rooting soil to maintain the turgidity of the plant cells.

5. Prepare the planting container or pot

Fill a 4-6 inches deep container or pot with rooting mix. The best rooting mix for rooting be sterile, well aerated and free-draining but should retain enough moisture to avoid too frequent watering. Moisten the rooting mix slightly.

Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus

6. Plant the Buddhist Pine Cuttings

Put a small amount of a rooting hormone in a separate container to avoid contaminating the whole amount.

To enhance rooting, dip the base of the Buddhist Pine cuttings in the rooting hormone in the separate container.

With a pencil or anything similar make a hole wider than the diameter of the cutting in the moistened rooting mix.

Carefully to avoid rubbing off the rooting hormone, insert the Buddhist Pine cutting in the hole. Gently tap and firm the soil around the base of the cutting.

You can plant several Buddhist Pine cuttings in one pot but ensure that the leaves do not touch.

7. Cover the set up with polythene (plastic) bag

Cover the set up with clear polythene to increase humidity and warmth but allow space for air circulation to prevent the cuttings from rotting.

Place the set up in a well-lit and warm place; avoid direct sunlight as it can cook the plants. To hasten rooting, place the set up on a heating mat if the temperatures are too cold.

8. Care for the Buddhist Pine Cuttings

Maintain the soil moist throughout until the Buddhist Pine cuttings are rooted. Remove any dead cuttings to maintain the set up clean and avoid disease infestation.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Buddhist Pine plant; the cuttings should be ready for transplanting into individual containers in 4-6 weeks.

9. Transplant the new Buddhist Pine plant into individual pot

Thoroughly water the new plants to be transplanted. Fill pots about 4-6 inch diameter with well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter.

Moisten the soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Carefully lift the new plant with a ball of soil around the roots and place it in the previously made hole in the pot.

Ensure to maintain the same soil level for the new plant as it was in the rooting set up. Gently firm the soil around the base of the plant.

Water the soil thoroughly and place the new plant in a well-lit and shaded place.

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