How to grow and care for Buddhist Pine Indoors

Houseplant, Buddhist Pine

Botanical name: Podocarpus macrophyllus
Family: Podocaroaceae

Buddhist Pine also called Yew Plum Pine or Fern Pine is a durable houseplant which does not mind a draughty situation. It is a slow grower and requires little attention. It is native to southern Japan and southern and eastern China. In its natural habitat it can reach a height of 30-40 ft. Indoors it will reach a height of about 6 ft. Its 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. 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. Buddhist Pine is highly regarded as a feng shui tree in Hong Kong. The tree can also be trained as a bonsai.

How to Grow Buddhist Pine

Light

Buddhist Pine prefers bright light with some direct sunlight; an east- or west-facing window where it can receive some direct sunlight. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Keep the soil fairly moist at all times during the growing season for optimal growth of Buddhist Pine. Reduce watering during the cold season as growth at this time is minimal. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Buddhist Pine prefers a cool temperature between 10-210C. The plant does not mind cold draughts.

Humidity

Buddhist Pine has no need for high humidity. Average room is ideal for this plant. However, mist the leaves regularly or raise humidity where the air temperatures are very high which cause the air too be too dry.

Feeding

Feed Buddhist Pine with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

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 rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot.

Pruning

Pruning Buddhist Pine requires pinching of the growing tips to encourage a compact and to control the height of the plant. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Buddhist Pine

Buddhist Pine can be propagated from stem cuttings during the growing period. Take 4-6 in. long stem cuttings bearing at least one set of leaves. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and insert the cuttings in moist soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil through out until new growth emerges. Allow proper establishment of the plant before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Buddhist Pine

  • Lower leaves long and elongated
  • The reason os this is too low light. Buddhist Pine prefers bright light with some direct sunlight. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Waterlogging is the cause. Maintain the soil slightly moist but not soggy. Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole(s). Learn more on how to water houseplants.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Buddhist Pine are Mealy Bugs and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Toxicity

Buddhist Pine is toxic to both humans and pets. The fruits and the leaves contain a poisonous substance which causes severe drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains if ingested.

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