During the Jurassic period 200 million years ago it wasn’t just Dinosaurs that roamed the planet. Jurassic plants were in abundance such as ferns, cycads and conifers.
The Wollemi Pine is one of the world’s oldest and rarest conifer trees and was considered extinct for 150 million years – it is closely associated with the Jurassic period and the Prehistoric Dinosaurs. The oldest Wollemi type fossil dates back 90 million years!
It was recently discovered in Sydney, Australia in 1994. Wollemi is in fact an aboriginal word meaning “look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out”. The Wollemi is named after the Wollemi National Park where it was found –It is so rare that less than 100 adult trees are known to exist in the wild. Its scientific name is Wollemi Nobilis honouring David Noble who discovered the plant.
The Wollemi are known as pines but they are actually closer to the species Araucaria (including the Monkey Puzzle Tree – Araucaria Araucana) than to the true pines (genus Pinus).
The Wollemi Pine, the ultimate survivor, is proving to be hardy and versatile in cultivation. It is not only attractive and striking in appearance, it is easy to grow and low maintenance.
It will adapt to a diverse range of climatic zones, thriving in full sun to semi-shaded outdoor positions.
It is a stunning feature tree for large gardens and parklands. It can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, so is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.
Taking care of the Wollemi Pine as:
The Wollemi Pine as an indoor/outdoor pot plant
As the Wollemi Pine can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, it is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.
The appropriate watering of both indoor and outdoor pot plants is essential for good health and survival. The best way to know when your pot plant requires watering is to regularly check the moisture content of the potting mix by feeling the top 5cm of the potting mix with your finger. This may be once every one or two weeks. If dry, completely saturate the potting mix.
If it is an indoor plant, place it in a shady position outside before saturating the potting mix and return the plant indoors after it has drained. It is important not to over water or have the plant sitting in a saucer of water. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the light level, the less water loss.
Remember to only water when dry. Even in hot, dry conditions, do not water daily, and only water when the potting mix is dry.
For an outdoor living area such as a balcony or courtyard, choose a sheltered location out of the full sun. Before placing the Wollemi Pine in the full sun, it is recommended to gradualy condition the plant to its new environment. If placed in the full sun, they will initially develop a slight yellowing of the foliage, as do other rainforest and Araucariaceae species. However, they do regain their regular deep green appearance within six months.
As an indoor plant your Wollemi Pine should be placed in a well lit position preferably near a window or doorway. As with all indoor plants, especially trees, the Wollemi Pine occasionally needs to be placed outdoors in a sheltered, shaded area. It is recommended this be done for one week out of every month.
The Wollemi Pine can be shaped using sterile secateurs at any time of the year to maintain its compact form. Pruning can be done on the upright stems and branches. New buds will generally develop from just below the cut.
A slow release low phosphorus fertilizer suitable for native trees in combination with a foliar fertiliser will promote optimum growth. Follow labelling instructions. Keeping the Wollemi Pine in a pot and fertilizing slightly, will slow its growth rate.
The Wollemi Pine’s root growth is strong, but not so vigorous that plants will require frequent re-potting, hence its suitability as a pot plant.
* Place the Wollemi in a slightly larger pot than the one supplied.
* Fill the bottom of a clean pot with good quality potting mix to ensure that the root ball is at the same level as previously.
* Place the root ball in the pot and fill with potting mix.
* Tap the pot to ensure the potting mix fills all the spaces and covers the top of the root ball.
* Immediately water the plant until saturated.
Follow the instructions on the potting mix label to determine whether you need to top dress with slow release granular fertilizer.
A specially formulated potting mix for the rare and ancient Wollemi Pine has been produced by Galuku, the world leader in premium coir. This unique formula results in a free-draining mix that promotes healthy roots and healthy growth with less watering required.