Return to the New England Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Posted by bill_ri_z6b (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 9, 09 at 17:10

Anyone brave enough to have tried growing a Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria) or Bottlebrush (Callistemon)? The former is said to be hardy to zone 7, and one type of the latter ("Woodlander's Hardy") is also supposed to be OK for zone 7. Has anyone had experience, or seen these anywhere in our area?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I know of one araucaria growing in a NOT specificaly protected spot in z7a/6b (Long Island, NY). Not a monster, but not a midget either.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I believe runktrun has an Araucaria, on the Vineyard. I've been jealous of it since she posted about it, in her Plants that perplex thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plants that perplex thread


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

In 1990,when we visited the amazing Trompenberg Arboretum of dr. van hooey smith (of conifer book fame),in rotterdam, holland, he proudly showed us his monkey puzzle tree which he had sustained for 20? yrs. by planting it next to his chimney, and having a fire in his fireplace every night of every winter.So, there you go, bill!

best,
mindy


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Mindy, when I visited Kew Gardens last May, I saw a nice collection of them. There in London they are jut out in the gardens along the river, so no protection of any kind. They are quite impressive when full grown as these were. But of course the climate in London is pretty much a zone 8 equivalent. There were several things growing that surprised me. Windmill palms, Acacias, Fuchsias growing like shrubs, Dracaena, Fremontodendron. Well anyway the list goes on.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

bill,
Yes I am growing a Araucaria or Monkey Puzzle tree that I started from a seedling three or four years ago. It should be noted that I consider this to be a VERY slow grower in my garden. Polly Hill Arboretum has three Araucaria growing two were started from Thompson Morgan seed in 1968 the third was a seedling from Arnold Arboretum in 1980. If you are interested in pushing your zone I would suggest you take a look at the collection lists from arboretums and botanical gardens in zone seven. Off the top of my head those would include"Polly Hill Arboretum," "New York Botanical Garden" (double check zone), and "Brooklyn Botanical Garden"

The Monkey Puzzle tree amongst good company Christchurch Botanical Garden
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I loved the contorted branches
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Who doesnt love a monkey
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Bill some things to consider prior to planting a Monkey of your very own are this is a specimen tree that folks moan about and neighbor law suits are not unheard of in areas where they are commonly grown. The branches truly are as sharp as razors and shed as much as my yellow lab so clean up is a true misery. The cones on this conifer as pretty as they are can be heavy enough to dent the hood of your neighbors car or heaven forbid knock them unconscious. Katy


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Katy,
Have you seen any winter damage to your Aruacaria? What about the ones at Polly Hill? If I were to plant one, it would not be near any neighbor's property, and in any case, before it got to be anywhere near mature enough to produce cones, I'd be long gone! I do know that they are very sharp indeed! But you know it's no picnic to clean up under my American Holly tree either. Talk about needing heavy gloves!

As always, thanks for the info.

Bill


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Last winter/spring was the first time I have seen winter damage...not sure if it was the result of wind, two days of extreme cold in Jan.,or freeze - thaw in early spring. The damage is just as unattractive on the Aruacaria as any other conifer. I have a Cryptomeria japonica Vilmoriniana that gets hit yearly by early spring freeze/thaw so badly my daughter insists it is a green wart.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Katy,

Is that particular Cryptomeria less hardy than most? Why I ask is because there are several planted around here, especially along I-95 just north of downtown Providence and I have never seen any damage. Even that horrible winter of 2203-2004. Intersting.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Bill,
The only Cryptomeria I have room for in my yard are those that are typically used in rock gardens Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmoriniana' is what my daughter refers to as the green wart. Typically Cryptomeria japonica are sensitive to winter winds but in my case I believe it has more to due with late spring frost damage to new growth. Cryptomeria japonica Tansu (my favorite) is less susceptible to this, I did however give up on Cryptomeria japonica Compressa after it took a considerable beating and it was just too painful to look at. I wanted to post a photo but my camera battery charger is MIA.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

So Katy I am getting the idea that these dwarf forms just can't handle the winters the way the big ones can. Of course you could grow a standard size one and then use it's shade to start a new shade garden! Did that make you laugh?


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Bill,
If I weren't paying a fortune to someone this week to move around all of the things I never thought would get as big as the tag said I might be laughing but right now my purse is pinching me so hard it's taking everything I've got not to cry.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Katy,

I know what you mean. When I planted my holly it looked so good. But then it just seemed to get out of hand. It had overgrown the lawn area by maybe ten feet. So several years ago I removed the lower branches up to about seven feet high and reclaimed the area under it that was in the bed. That gave me a great place for the camellias. They love it there and both they and the holly like the acidic fertilizer. But now it's just too big, and I'm pondering a call to a tree service to cut it down to a reasonable size.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I live in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have two A. Araucanas in zone 6b and so far both of them have survived 2 winters of -16C with no damage. I am quite sure they will easily survive a -20C as well. Hope this encourages more people in zone 6 (definitely zone 7) to try Monkey Puzzle trees. They are trully amazing!


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I can't see a Monkey Puzzle tree doing well in New England. The only one that I've seen in the area is at Hyannis Golf Club and it was not a happy camper. Zone 6b to Zone 7 in New England is just not the same as those same zones in other parts of the country or world. I grew up in Zone 7a in Alabama and it's nothing like z7 in this area. The difference is that down there the lows for that zone are every now and then and they only last for a day or two. Up here, you have more frequent lows and they last for an extended period. Plus, New England has strong dessicating winds and the combo of wind and cold is just brutal to plants pushing their hardiness range.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Thanks for emphasizing your point about zones Tree-Oracle. I have been preaching about the difference between zone 7 in a place like Alabama and zone 7 in coastal southern New England for a very long time! It is indeed NOT the same. And you are correct about the important differences being wind and duration of cold. I have given this as an example: According to the USDA zone designations, a location could drop to +1 degree F every night in winter, with a biting wind, and that would rank as a zone 7 winter because the temperature never went below zero! Hog-wash! As a weather nut and a gardener I have been thinking of a new zone map that takes into account many factors, not just absolute minimum temperatures, including average temperatures, duration of low temperatures in various thresholds (number of days below 20, 10, 5, etc. and snow cover. I think a winter like this one (with no extremes) would allow a Monkey Puzzle to do OK in coastal southern New England. But a winter with more frequent blasts of cold and wind, not so much.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I agree that the USDA hardiness zones are far from perfect. Besides the things you mention above, they don't reflect the recovery of temps during the day. A zone 7 where the overnight low drops to, say, 5F but rises to maybe 38F the next day is a lot different than a zone 7 with the same low but where the next day only gets up to 13F or something similar! Also important is how deeply the soil freezes (which impedes moisture uptake and contributes to the drying by wind). Even the average days of sunshine need to be considered. Out west for example, 30 in the sun will shed some warmth on the leaves, while in the often gloomy east, the same temp will really feel like 30 and that's the actual temp the leaves will be at. Too bad the Sunset Magazine zones or something similar hasn't been worked out for the east and northeast yet, at least to my knowledge.

Bill


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

I've been growing a Monkey Puzzle tree outside since 2005. It grows very slow and does receive leaf damage in winter sometimes but it's still alive. Here's a recent photo note the Illicium on the left and Trachycarpus 'nainital' on the right. Low temp this winter in my yard was -2.9F.

This post was edited by TimMAz6 on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 21:52


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Wow, Tim. Are you sure you're in MA and not CA?


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Tim,
Do you protect the Trachy at all? It looks great! How long have you had it growing in the ground? I have a T. fortunei that just spent its first winter outdoors, and despite some wrapping during the cold spell in January, for about three weeks, it looks terrible.

Where did you get the 'nan'?

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Treeoracle.......that palm is protected in winter! LOL

Hi Bill.......yes that T. 'Nainital' is protected in winter. It was seed grown from year 2000. I planted it outside in spring of 2008. Keeping it dry from mid Nov through end of Feb is probably the most important part of the protection. Also provide a good mulch for the root area. I wrap the trunk with a string of the mini xmas lights too. I never had a problem yet. I've seen many different protection methods work. There's a guy in south Attleboro who has Trachys with 6 feet of trunk........he also sells them too......many different sizes too.

How big was yours? The bigger they are......the easier they will survive our winters. Small seedlings really don't have a shot unless you protect them really well.

This post was edited by TimMAz6 on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 8:32


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill

here's a photo showing the monkey puzzle tree and Trachy protection in the background.......which is filled with leaves.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Tim:
My Trachy was in a pot for a couple of years and I planted it out last spring. It has roughly two feet of trunk. But it's not a "nan" and that may make a difference.

What part of MA are you located in?

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill

your Trachy sounds large enough........is the center spear solid......can you pull in out? If the center spear is solid I would think your OK and it will be fine. Try to keep all the precipitation off the Trachy when temps go below 32F at night or you may get rot issues.

PS...I'm in Seekonk about a mile north of RT. 195.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

So far there is no spear pull.

There is no apparent damage to the Gardenia 'Frostproof' right now. But sometimes as the weather warms, winter damage shows up. Fingers crossed.

You're not far at all. I go to Sam's club out that way often. I posted some photos of my Camellias and other things on the other thread about delosperma.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill,

glad to hear you don't have spear pull........the Trachy may look bad in spring but hopefully will recover. If your close you should stop by my garden cause I have way too many plants in my garage....LOL. Interested in a needle palm, Eucalyptus neglecta (hardy to 0F).....no damage on my 1' tall seedlings with winter, hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata), Yucca hybrids, Tetrapanex, lots more........may toss them if I don't give them away!


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Well I would be very interested in those! Don't toss yet! I have an abundance of yucca filamentosa plants that self-seeded, but I have a feeling you don't want any of those! I do have a nice seedling of Hesperaloe parvifolia, or "Red Yucca" that I could part with. I have had luck rooting cuttings of the Camellia sasanqua 'Snow Flurry" so I could clip some of that for you. And cactus pads root easily, so there are three of those that I have.

Maybe next week I'll be going to Sam's Club and could stop by if that's OK.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill

Next week is fine.......the garden looks like crap after all the snows but I would really like to thin out my plants in my garage!

How do you get Camellias to root? Any tricks? I would like to try those. I tried to root my southern Magnolia EB many times with no success. Aucuba japonica is easy......if you need that I have some rooted cuttings outside.......I just stuck them into the ground and they rooted......gotta like Aucuba. I only tried rooting Illicium once without sucess.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Well I rooted some camellias with rooting powder in sand in summer, and actually the C. sasanqua "Snow Flurry" even rooted in water, but it took forever.

I will let you know for sure what day I'll be in Seekonk, but probably Thursday if that's OK with you.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

thurs sounds fine..........I changed my settings so I can receive emails from members.

Tim


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill,

you asked about hardy Callistemon.......I received some seed from the coldest areas of Tasmania and I planted one out last summer to get a feel how hardy they are. We'll.......they aren't very hardy. The leaves are totally fried and the trunk ruptured. I've read a report from a guy in Deleware who purchased Woodlander's hardy Callistemon and his fried for the first time this winter and his low was about 10F........I'm not very impressed.

PS, I have a few of these in my garage.....you can have one to kill for yourself. LOL


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Tim, thanks for the offer. I could grow it as a pot plant so that would be nice. I'll send you and email.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hey Bill and others.........look what we found growing in Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod). A great looking Monkey Puzzle tree in 'mint' condition.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Tim,

That's an amazing shot of an amazing tree! How is yours doing? BTW you never did come by to see my garden. Hope all is well there.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Wow, it's amazing to see a MP tree that looks that good in MA. Not sure I would have planted a massive tree full of razors that close to the house, though. The owners may seriously regret it. Looks good with the color of the house.


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

Hi Bill

My MP is doing OK.......very slow growing though. Here's a recent shot of it.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I still would like to visit your great garden.....work and family life had me buried with no free time. I'll be calling you for a garden tour for sure!


 o
RE: Monkey Puzzle or Bottlebrush?

OK Tim.
Hmmmmmm......Work...............I have a vague memory of when I had to do that. Take it easy!

Photobucket


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the New England Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here