How to Grow and Care for Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) Indoors

Podocarpus macrophyllus (Buddhist Pine) also called Yew Plum Pine, Japanese Yew or Fern Pine is a durable plant which does not mind a draughty situation. It is a slow grower and requires little attention.

The upright stems bear dark-green narrow and glossy leathery leaves. Regular pruning will keep the plant as a compact shrub.

The leaves are strap-shaped, 6-12 cm long and about 1 cm wide, with a central midrib.

Japanese Yew is a coniferous plant. The cones are borne on a short stem and have 2-4 scales, usually 1 or 2 fertile, each fertile scale bears a single apical seed 10-15mm.

Yew Plum Pine is highly regarded as a feng shui tree in Hong Kong. The tree can also be trained as a bonsai.

Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus

Botanical name: Podocarpus macrophyllus
Family: Podocaroaceae
Common names: Buddhist Pine, Yew Plum Pine, Fern Pine, Japanese Yew


Podocarpus macrophyllus is native to southern Japan and southern and eastern China.


In its natural habitat Yew Plum Pine can reach a height of 30-40 ft. Indoors it will reach a height of about 6 ft.


Buddhist Pine is toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA.

The fruits and the leaves contain a poisonous substance which causes severe drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains if ingested.

Where to Buy

If you are looking to acquire Buddhist Pine, they are available online on Etsy.

Podocarpus macrophyllus Indoor Care

Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) blossoms in bright light with some direct sunlight, cool ordinary room conditions and moderately moist soil that is rich in organic matter coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Podocarpus macrophyllus requires repotting only when it has become pot-bound. Regular pinching of the growing tips is needed to encourage a compact growth and control the height of the plant. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus


Water Buddhist Pine thoroughly and keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season for the optimal growth of the plant.

Decrease watering for the Yew Plum Pine during the cold season as growth at this time is minimal but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can result in root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Light Requirements

Buddhist Pine grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight; an east- or west-facing window where it can receive some direct sunlight is ideal.

Low light or inadequate light will result in elongated leaves which is an attempt by the Japanese Yew to reach the light source. It can also grow under grow lights where natural light is inadequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Potting Mix

The best soil for Buddhist Pine should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Podocarpus macrophyllus. Buy quality Potting Mix online from Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

Buddhist Pine prefers a cool temperature between 15-240C. The plant does not mind cold draughts as it is a cool climate plant.

Buddhist Pine has no need for high humidity. Average room is ideal for this plant.

However, where the air temperatures are very high which causes the air too be too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.


Feed Buddhist Pine with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period for a lush growth.

Do not feed Yew Plum Pine during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn and death of the plant.


Repot Buddhist Pine during the growing season only when it has overgrown its current pot. The plant is slow growing and repotting may not be very frequent.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one. Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the Japanese Yew.Take a look at these Self Watering Planters with Drainage Hole available on Amazon.


Pruning Buddhist Pine requires pinching of the growing tips to encourage a compact growth and control the height of the plant.


Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) can be propagated from seeds or from semi-hard wood stem cuttings taken during the growing period. Here is a detailed account on How to Propagate Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus).

Buddhist Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus

Podocarpus macrophyllus Problems

Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) has few problems which include elongated leaves, brown leaf tips, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.


Common pests in Buddhist Pine are mealy bugs and scale insects. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil to get rid of the pests.

Lower leaves long and elongated

Long and elongated lower leaves in Buddhist Pine are caused by too little light (inadequate light). This is an attempt by the plant to reach the light source.

Yew Plum Pine grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight. Move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunshine or instal a grow light where natural light is inadequate

Brown leaf tips

Brown leaf tips in Buddhist Pine are due to too wet soil (soggy soil). Maintain the soil moderately moist but not soggy during the growing season.

Lessen watering in the cold period to keep the soil slightly moist but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Make sure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

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