Genus comprising fifteen species of conifers native to the southern hemisphere. Some species are rustic and can be grown outdoors (including for example the Araucaria araucana). Others are delicate and must be grown in greenhouses or in apartments (eg Araucaria excelsa). The species that are also cultivated in Italy are very beautiful aesthetically and have an excellent ornamental function. The exotic charm of these strangely shaped pines is undeniable and there are many varieties that are always available in nurseries.
Going more specifically to the botanical characteristics, the Araucarias are plants with needle-like leaves that can vary greatly in appearance depending on the species. Like the gymnosperms, also the araucarie they produce pine cones as fruit, the technical term is sturdy, hard fruits with seeds inside.
In nature, in their areas of origin, the araucarie they can reach truly remarkable heights and dimensions: some species in fact reach and exceed 70 meters in height.
The araucarias are however very ancient plants from the evolutionary point of view and it seems that they were already present in the Mesozoic era, that is the era of the dinosaurs. Over the centuries, however, they have evolved considerably and in particular in recent years, with the intervention of man on a genetic level, different species have been obtained with very interesting characteristics.
The cultivated araucarias are mainly the apartment ones. Flat araucaria can be placed in areas with little light. During the winter period they must be placed in the least heated area of the house, at a minimum temperature of 5 degrees. During the summer, instead, they grow better by placing them outside in a not too sunny position.
We recommend using decalcified water. During the spring-summer period, bathe thoroughly. Instead thin out the waterings during the winter period. In any case, avoid water stagnation (especially in winter). Use a specific liquid fertilizer for acidophilic plants every time you wet the plant. Stop the fertilizations during the winter period.
Spray the leaves during the summer period (especially if the plant is in the apartment).
It must be well drained and acidic. Acid loam can easily be found on the market. However it is hardly enough drained. It is therefore necessary to add draining material such as pumice stone, volcanic lapillus, gravel, expanded clay, agriperlite or the like.
You can also create a soil in your home (which generally guarantees better results) by using the following components that are easily available on the market:
1) a portion of washed sand;
2) a part of sphagnum peat;
3) a part of draining material (better agriperlite).
Repotting must be carried out in April.
Pests and diseases:
The araucaria is a plant that is often attacked by the cochineal c.d. floccose, highly visible parasite due to the large white flakes, usually placed near the trunk and on the younger leaves. We recommend the use of white oil combined with a specific pesticide.
Another disease that can quickly determine the death of the plant is the little family.