One of the secrets to a successful garden is to use plenty of ordinary plants for the bulk of your planting, and then include some very special and unique plants that will give you interesting features, as well as making your garden personal and different. The ordinary plants will be easy to care for, leaving you more time for special things. When you can have something special that is also easy to care for, that’s a real bonus, and with the Maki Podocarpus you have exactly such a plant. Not only is it unique and beautiful, but its personal qualities make it ideal for all kinds of gardens, outdoors or inside.
Growing Maki Podocarpus Bushes
The Maki Podocarpus is an upright evergreen shrub similar in general appearance to a yew bush, but much more visually interesting. It grows into a column or pyramid of dense branches reaching right to the ground, reaching perhaps 8 feet tall in 10 years, but no more than 3 feet wide. Ultimately it may reach 15 to 20 feet tall and 6 feet wide, and older trees will become more tree-like. The leaves are long and narrow, with a leathery texture and a glossy upper surface. They are a rich, deep green color. They look a lot like the leaves of yew, but much longer, up to 3 inches long, giving the tree a certain ‘pine tree’ look, and a lot of character. Even young trees are striking, attractive and with a unique and distinctive appearance. Older trees may produce fruit that looks like small blue plums, with a thick stalk that turns red, making it look like two berries joined together, one blue and one red – an intriguing and again unique feature of this plant.
Uses in Your Home and/or Garden
Not only is the Maki Podocarpus visually unique and interesting, it is also very versatile in the garden, and in your home, because this is one of those plants that is just as happy indoors as it is outside. If you live in cold parts of the country, you can grow it as a houseplant all year round. It can spend the winter inside, and the summer outdoors, or spend its whole life outdoors if you live in zone 7 or warmer zones. It can do this because it is also very tolerant of many different light levels. From full sun to full shade it will be perfectly happy, you really don’t need to pay much attention to this common issue, when you choose the versatile Maki Podocarpus.
Use the Maki Podocarpus as a specimen plant in a courtyard or lawn. Plant is for interesting variety among the foundation plants around your home, or in a bed or ornamental evergreens. Use it for a vertical accent in garden beds of shrubs, or as a pair on either side of a doorway or gate. It is easily trimmed into an attractive hedge, something that is often done in its native lands of China and Japan. Also called Buddhist Pine, it is an appropriate addition to any Asian-style garden or courtyard, giving just the right calm atmosphere, with a unique twist.
This bush can be trimmed and pruned to keep it neat and smaller, trained into topiary shapes, or thinned out and pruned in a more Zen or bonsai styling, in the ground or in an attractive and appropriate pot or planter box, indoors or outside. As a houseplant it will grow well in low-light areas, and if you live in a colder zone and have an outdoor area, placing it in a shady place outdoors for the summer will make both you and your tree very happy.
Planting and Initial Care
In a perfect word, the Maki Podocarpus like rich, moist, slightly acidic soil, that is well-drained and not regularly wet. You can help create these conditions by digging some good compost or rotted manure into the soil when preparing the planting spot, and by mulching in spring with some more. Keep mulch away from the base of the plant, and off the foliage. In reality this bush will grow in most ordinary garden soils perfectly well. In alkaline soils you may need to give it some chelated iron in spring, just before the new growth begins, and perhaps again in fall. Do this if the new growth is yellowish, not bright green.
In containers use regular potting soil or soil for acid-loving plants – both will be fine. You won’t have to worry about any serious pests or diseases, and deer almost never touch this tough plant. It is highly resistant to salt-spray too, so it thrives at the shore. The berries (should any appear) and the foliage are poisonous, but it is mild, and this plant is not a serious poisoning threat to people. The ASPCA does list it as capable of causing sickness in dogs, cats and horses.
History and Origins of the Maki Podocarpus
The Maki Podcarpus is a special, dwarf version of the Buddhist Pine, also known as Southern pine or plum yew pine, or Podocarpus macrophyllus. Slightly related to, but different from, yew trees, this plant grows naturally in China and Japan, and it has been used for centuries for hedges and screening there, as well as in temple courtyards and home gardens. There seem to be at least five different variations in this tree, and the variety maki is the one most commonly grown in Europe and America. Some scientists just consider them to be variable forms of the same plant, but other varieties grow much taller and have longer needles, up to 5 inches long, which are also broader. Whatever the differences, the Maki variety is the best for garden and indoor use, so avoid plants just called Podocarpus, as these may grow much larger, and lack the attractive columnar shape of the real tree.
We have some beautiful specimens of this wonderful tree in stock, but it is always in high demand, so we know they will soon be gone. Order now and enjoy something unique that is also very easy to grow, and trouble free.