Possible to grow podocarpus 10' high in container?

729zoomJanuary 20, 2013

Is it possible to grow podocarpus at least 10 feet high in a container and, if so, what is the smallest size container I can get away with? I can't find any info on how wide or deep. (I am trying to block the view of an old shed but can't plant directly into the ground where I need to create the "wall.")

The hedge should be at least 10 feet tall and about 6-7 feet wide. Would 3 in a row do the trick?

Also, which podocarpus should I get? (gracilior? macrophyllus? henkelii?) Would like to get one that will grow fairly fast and create a dense screen. I plan to keep it trimmed once I get it to the size I need. And if someone thinks another plant would be better, I am all ears. I need tall, dense, and narrow. Grow to at least 10 feet within a year or two. And attractive would also be a bonus - gee sounds like I am looking for a date! :)

Thanks for any advice!

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I have gracilior in the ground with lots of water and it takes four years to reach ten feet tall. I don't believe the plant will do what you want it to in a container.

Golden Bamboo is very fast growing, it will grow in large pots (I grow it in whiskey barrels) and it would do the trick as long as you have cement under the pots so it cannot burrow down through the drain holes and pop up ten feet away.

Have you considered a trellis with Cape Honeysuckle (tecomaria capensis) or star jasmine? If it's your shed, you could also grow Boston Ivy on it.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:31PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

A trellis with a vine would be your fastest option. Or even faster, a decorative screen--you could sink the supports into containers and--instant results.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:54PM
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My mother kept a podocarpus in a pot indoors for years. She had to whack it back periodically when it started to brush the ceiling. One year its pot cracked and fell apart. It sat with an exposed root ball for several weeks until she got around to wrestling it into another pot. It was fine.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Thanks for all the information so far! I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

If you want a tree that will grow to 10' within a year or two, you'll have to buy trees that are 6-8' tall to begin with. If it's a wind-sheltered area, you might consider a colannade of 4 to 5 tall pots with vertical plants. 'Sky Rocket' Juniper and 'Sky Pencil' Chinese holly are commonly used for this. Both are reasonably drought-tolerant which is an important consideration for containers.

Bamboo is also a possibility, but golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) wouldn't be in my top 100 choices when it comes to species selection (it isn't all that attractive and will eventually break its container). Chusquea coronalis and Chusquea circinnata are both attractive bamboos with a graceful habit and fine-textured foliage that will give good drapery all the way down to the tops of the pots. Otatea glauca 'Mayan Silver' is a bit more upright, but it might be good as well, and is probably even more drought tolerant. With any bamboo, I would pour a single concrete trough in a plywood form to the desired width in order to make the container. Bamboos are good at catching the wind, and the Santa Ana's might topple and break your beautiful earthenware pots if the setup is naturally top-heavy and the container's footprint is too small.

For quick effect, nothing can match constructed hardscape. How about a living wall planted with succulents and drought-tolerant bromeliads?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:45PM
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For a while I saw podocarpus gracilors that were already 8 ft. and dense in 5 gallon pots for quite cheap at the box stores. I succumbed and bought one, kept it in a pot for a while, and it flourished, but I eventuslly got rid of it when someone gave me some large golden bamboos, which I then kept in 24" pots. I since got rid of the boo as well, and found myself wishing I had kept the previous podocarpus, it looked healthy and green all the time compared to the boo which went through its ratty phase.

I would grow it in the largest pots you can afford, or a minimum of 24" diameter.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:21AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

The Smithsonian had an old Podocarpus henkelii in a huge box (at least 1m^3 I'd guess) that was about 15' and had a trunk maybe 4" in diameter. Of course, in Washington, DC it was brought into a conservatory for winter. I first saw it more than a decade ago, it was the first time I'd seen one (at least that big) and I decided it was one of the most beautiful conifers I'd ever seen.

So, yes, it can be done. Just make sure you have a fork lift handy if you want to move it!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:16AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Podocarpus gracilior purchased as 15 gallon size and planted in 5' or 6' long by 3 foot tall galvanized steel stock tanks would serve easily.. other shrubs such as Pittosporum tenuifolium cultivate would also work well.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:52PM
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