The Podocarpus Hedge Plant (Podocarpus macrophyllus) Also called the African Fern Pine. A great looking upright evergreen plant that can be used as a patio tree. It can do well in larger containers for that formal topiary look. It is grown and used for privacy screens, topiary, and hedges.
The foliage is tuff with long needle-like leaves but can still be trimmed to almost any shape. It is a moderate watering plant but needs regular watering, especially in containers. Best to water every other day during the hot southwest summer months. The female plants will produce small, turquoise colored fruit after 10-15 years if male plants are close by.
Most local nurseries will have this plant available during the spring, summer and fall months.
It can work in a desert landscape if done correctly. It’s best that these plants have it’s own watering system as they require more water than desert plants.
How tall do Podocarpus get?
They can grow fast and will reach about 15 possibly 20 ft. tall if left untrimmed. It will also get about 8 ft. wide. It works great as a stand-a-lone columnar plant. See photo above.
Where to plant the Podocarpus
The plant looks good when you plant several in a row for a nice formal columnar screen. Place them in the background of formal lawns and landscapes. You can also plant in containers and place them in front of formal entrance doors. They can tolerate full sun but will do better with afternoon shade.
Problems with this Podocarpus
Fire blight is a problem for this plant spray with a copper type fungicide if you see the following. Blacktips on the foliage. It will also spread quickly, it’s best to act quickly and thoroughly. 2-4 applications will usually work. You can also prune off the bad looking portions of the plant make sure to disinfect your tools after using them.
Powdery mildew is another problem but it is rare in and around the southwest. Usually occurs in regions where there is lots of rain. However, if it does occur spray with a good shrub fungicide to remove. Powdery mildew looks like a white powder substance on the foliage and can easily come off by rubbing on your leaves. Learn more about fungus, insects, and diseases.
Learn more about the Podocarpus macrophyllus at Wikipedia.
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com