The araucarias are evergreen conifers that have a singular bearing, and a beauty that attracts a lot of attention. But of the different species that exist, one that I personally like the most is the araucaria auracana. When he is young, he has an almost pyramidal crown; and when it finishes maturing, from a distance it could be confused with the pines we have on the beaches of the Mediterranean region, as it has a trunk that begins to branch out several meters high, and the crown is somewhat irregular.
It is also very resistant to snowfall.. And although its growth rate is quite slow, this being one of the reasons why its sale price is usually high, it is very, very interesting to have one in the garden, as long as you have enough space for it to grow.
How is the araucaria auracana?
A. auracana It is an evergreen tree, or more specifically, a conifer, endemic to Argentine Patagonia and south-central Chile.. It is one of the species that we will find if we ever visit the Andes, although it is necessary to know in advance that it grows in very restricted areas. In addition, both in Argentina and Chile it is protected in various areas, its logging being prohibited. This is due, in part, to the fact that it is in danger of extinction; In addition, it is important for the Mapuches.
If we focus on the physical characteristics, we have to say that it is a plant that can reach 50 meters in height. Its trunk is straight, cylindrical and, over time, it becomes very, very wide, reaching 3 meters in diameter. The crown, as I said at the beginning, starts several meters from the ground, and can have a certain umbrella shape. The leaves are thick, leathery needles that grow in tight clusters. These, in addition, are protected by a thorn which sprouts at the tip of each one of them.
There are female specimens and male specimens. The female cones are round and measure approximately 6 centimeters; the masculine changes have an elongated shape.
Out of curiosity, tell you that other names by which it is known are the following: pewén or pehuén, Patagonian pine, arms pine, Araucanian pine or araucaria pine. Of course, you have to be careful, because although it may look a lot like it, it is not a pine (of the genus Pinus), but a Araucaria.
What do you need to live?
Basically, a wide terrain and a temperate climate. Likewise, and although it grows very slowly, it is highly recommended that it be planted in the ground as soon as possible, since this way it will be able to grow a little faster since it does not have that space limitation that it would have if it were kept in a pot. But we also have to know more things, which are what I am going to tell you about below:
Of course, has to be outdoors. If we leave it inside the house, most likely it will only last a year at most, since it needs to be in a sunny place, and feel the wind, the rain, the cold, etc.
Likewise, If we are going to plant it in the ground, we will do it at a minimum distance of ten meters from the place where we have pipes, paved floors, and swimming pools, as the roots could damage them.
It grows in clayey and well-drained soils.. In a pot, you can put a universal substrate that has a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 as this (Don't worry: it's the one that everyone usually has, but just in case I advise you to make sure before buying it).
The pot must also have some drainage holes (yes, it is better that it have several small ones than one large one, because the water drainage will be faster).
Irrigation will be done only if there are periods of drought; that is to say, if we have it planted in the plot and it usually rains with some regularity throughout the year, it will not be necessary to water our araucaria auracana. But things change if it rains little, and more if it is in a pot, since in these conditions the substrate dries up much faster than the garden soil.
It must be borne in mind that it does not resist drought, but it would not be good to water it frequently either. In case you have any doubts, check the humidity of the soil with a stick, introducing it to the bottom of the pot. And if it comes out clean and dry, then you should water.
If you make homemade compost you can spread it around the trunk from spring to late summer. If you don't have compost but you want to fertilize it, any organic fertilizer that is not acid will do well (as is, for example, chicken manure), like cow or horse dung, or seaweed compost like this (The latter, due to its price, I recommend it more for potted plants than for those in the garden).
La araucaria auracana multiplies only by seeds. These must be sown in autumn-winter outdoors, and keep them humid -not flooded-. Thus, they will germinate throughout the spring.
It is a conifer that supports frost up to -20ºC.
What do you think of the araucaria auracana?