Araucaria heterophylla: Houseplant, Outside Tree, Both!

Araucaria heterophylla in GGP

Araucaria heterophylla in GGP

There is a specific tree in Golden Gate Park that wows me every time.  It is an Araucaria heterophylla  that has changed the way I feel about conifers in general (I thought they all looked the same).  The tree pictured above is found on Chain of Lakes Dr and MLK Dr near one of the off leash dog parks.  This pic Megan took yesterday has the feel of a vintage postcard

Check out this close up.  Needles make up crazy branches that flip all which way.

Araucaria heterophylla close up

Araucaria heterophylla close up

So how can you have this tree on the cheap?  You may be able to find a little tree in a local garden store or nursery on sale.  They are often sold as an inside Christmas tree, and the season is over.  We  found one at Sloat for 30% off within the last 2 weeks.

Our Sloat find.

Our Sloat find.

Araucaria heterophylla also known as a Norfolk Island Pine is a coniferous evergreen tree that can handle Bay Area full sun to shade, and takes ample to infrequent but thorough watering.  What about outside the Bay Area?  After an ah-ha moment, I realized a lot of friends/family had these in their homes as a houseplants.  My buddy, John D., has two in his office and they are already 5 feet tall.

For now, ours is waiting to get planted in the ground this weekend.  I am expecting 2-4 feet of growth by next December.  Not only do we have a cool little reminder of our favorite tree in Golden Gate Park, we will have a live xmas tree for next year.

Araucaria heterophylla waiting to get planted.

Araucaria heterophylla waiting to get planted.

– Matti Far Out Flora

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