Searching online for how fast Podocarpus can grow may only lead to confusion. This is because you can find arguments on both sides about whether Podocarpus is a fast-growing or slow-growing plant. But what is the truth?
Finding the correct answer regarding the growth of Podocarpus can be confusing, with many different solutions online, but we are here with a simple, quick answer. Podocarpus grows between 6 inches (15 cm) and 2 feet (0.6 m) in height per year.
Now that you have your answer, keep reading to learn more about this interesting plant, such as how to make it grow faster, wider, or even slower.
Is Podocarpus a Fast Growing Plant?
Although Podocarpus can grow to large heights, they tend to grow pretty slow. For example, the Podocarpus Gracilior grows to a max height of 60 feet (18 m) but only grows about 6 inches (15 cm) per year.
Other ones may grow a little faster. The Podocarpus Macrophyllus tree can grow up to 40 feet (12 m) and manages about 12 inches (30.5 cm) of growth a year.
Looking up the growth rates of Podocarpus online can be complicated. This is because half of the people say they are fast growers and half say they are slow growers. However, the consensus is that Podocarpus are considered slow-growing plants among enthusiasts.
Average plants tend to grow upwards of 13 inches (33 cm) to 24 inches (61 cm) per year. Since Podocarpus grows slower than this, it is fair to say that it is a slow-growing plant.
How Do You Make Podocarpus Grow Faster?
The best way to make your Podocarpus grow faster is to put it in ideal conditions. This allows them to make the most out of their environment and gain enough energy and nutrients to continue growing without a problem.
The main factors that determine plant growth are light, soil, and water. By controlling these, you can control the growth of a Podocarpus.
While Podocarpus aren’t very picky and can grow in various conditions, the happier they are in their environment, the better they will do. This is true for any growth, whether it be width or height.
Podocarpus need full sunlight to grow the best they can. Direct sun helps them reach faster-growing speeds. Preferably, they would enjoy having at least six hours of full sun daily.
However, if temperatures in the area get pretty hot, they may thrive with a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day, especially when they are still young.
Podocarpus enjoy soils that are fertile and sandy. They also like a little bit of acidic soil, with a pH of 4.5 to 7.5. Though they enjoy having damp soil, they also want something that drains well, which is where the sand comes into play.
If the soil is too heavy or not acidic enough, there may not be enough nutrients for these plants to grow at their best.
Podocarpus enjoys quite a bit of water. They don’t like the ground to be soggy but enjoy moist soil so their roots can stay hydrated. Make sure your plant never feels dry, or it may cause sluggish growth.
How Tall Can Podocarpus Grow?
Podocarpus can grow pretty tall, depending on the species. Some may grow as tall as 20 feet (6 m), while others can grow as tall as 60 feet (18 m). They tend to grow straight up, not twisting and bending. However, this is only the case if grown from seeds.
If a graft or cutting is used to grow these plants, they are often more willowy and don’t want to grow straight.
How Wide Do Podocarpus Grow?
Podocarpus grows between 10 and 20 feet (3 to 6 m) in width. If you want more of a hedge and wider growth, it is best to trim it when it grows taller than what you want. This promotes wider growth.
Thanks to the fact that they can grow so wide, they can make excellent hedges if treated well.
Can Podocarpus be Kept Small?
Podocarpus can be kept small with proper trimming. It is important to pick a height that allows the needles to collect enough sunlight for healthy growth. This is why we specify trimming over cutting. You want to cut as little as possible while it is growing and not wait until it is too tall, which would require cutting off a larger amount.
Also, if you want something small with little work, dwarf Podcarpus are available which stay a little smaller naturally. These usually remain around 3 to 7 feet (0.9 to 2.1 m) tall.
How Do You Train a Podocarpus Into a Hedge?
Turning your Podocarpus into a hedge is easy if it is still young. As they grow taller, you want to trim them back to the height you want, a little every growing season. This will encourage them to stop growing high and instead grow out, creating a hedge.
However, it is important to note that Podocarpus are evergreen trees. Most evergreens don’t handle trimming well and are very unforgiving. So before you cut, ensure you are cutting where you want, and plan out the shape carefully.
Also, if you cut branches carelessly, the tree may avoid growing any new branches to replace the ones you cut. Evergreens are known for being difficult to prune, it isn’t recommended to prune Podocarpus unless you have experience.
To help Podocarpus grow into a hedge, ensure it grows in an area with a lot of sunlight. Trees tend to grow upward to compete for light. Podocarpus is more likely to grow horizontally if it doesn’t have to compete for sunlight.
Can You Make A Podocarpus Grow Slower?
Even though Podocarpus grow slowly already, it is possible to make them grow slower. All you have to do is put them in less than ideal growing habitats. You do want to be careful that it isn’t so unideal that the plant cannot grow, but just enough that its growth is slowed.
Since it likes a lot of direct sunlight, keeping it in a shadier area can cause slower growth. So will soil that doesn’t drain well, is heavy, and less acidic than it prefers. This is because it cannot get the nutrients it needs, and too much water sits on the roots.
Watering is probably the easiest part to control, however. By not watering your tree as often as you would normally, the Podocarpus will grow slower. Again, just make sure you aren’t underwatering it so much that it doesn’t survive.
Podocarpus is not a fast-growing plant. It tends to grow slowly, especially if it isn’t in ideal conditions. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having in your garden. It can grow tall, providing shade, or wide, making an ideal hedge as a fence around your yard. Podocarpus grows between 6 inches (15 cm) and 2 feet (0.6 m) in height per year.
Though it grows slowly, you may find waiting for it to reach its full potential is worth it when you see how this evergreen turns out. Though it could take 20 years, when it does reach its full potential, you will have a glorious 60-foot tree in your yard.