Care Information

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Taking Care of a Wollemi Pine

The Wollemi Pine, the ultimate survivor, is proving to be hardy and versatile in cultivation. It is not only attractive and striking in appearance, it is easy to grow and low maintenance.

It will adapt to a diverse range of climatic zones, thriving in full sun to semi-shaded outdoor positions.

It is a stunning feature tree for large gardens and parklands. It can be maintained in a pot almost indefinitely, so is well suited to patios, verandahs and courtyards. It can also be used as indoor decoration in well lit areas as it is able to tolerate air-conditioning.


Growing in a container (inside or outside)

Growing in a container (inside or outside)

Wollemi Pines are perfect for patios, verandas and balconies if able to be kept well-watered through the main growing months of spring and summer.

If required, plant growth can be controlled in a number of ways to suit any situation by:
a. Increasing, or restricting the container size
b. Altering the fertiliser levels
c. Pruning the apical shoots and fronds to suit

Container Choice

The container size can vary from something containing 10 litres up to 100 litres of compost, depending on the size of specimen that you eventually desire. We suggest not to 'over pot' the Wollemi Pine. Ideally the roots should be able to reach the sides of the new pot within a year of planting. Transferring the tree from its original smaller pot into a one between three and ten times its volume, will suffice for many years.


We recommend a reduced peat, or peat free compost. Most proprietary tree and shrub, or ericaceous composts will be suitable. Ensure there is a drainage hole in the base of the chosen container allowing excess water to drain. Place some grit, stones, or earthenware 'crocks' in the bottom of the pot. Knock the tree out of the original pot and put it into the new container, so that the original surface is just below the new compost. Apply enough water so that water is
seen to leach out of the bottom of the pot. Staking should not be necessary, but if you do want to control one of the lead stems', or are in a windy location, stability can be enhanced with a tree stake and tie.


Water the tree by saturating the plant as thegrowing media becomes dry in the top 5cm of the pot.This may be once, or twice a week in summer and less, if at all in winter. As a general rule, the lower the light level and temperature, the less water is required. Wollemi Pine do not like 'wet feet' and will not tolerate over watering. It will not survive if it is held for excessive periods in constantly wet compost. During the key growth period of spring and summer however, your tree is likely to be thirsty. Ensure to prevent the new foliage from drying, but avoid keeping the plant 'sitting' in water constantly throughout the year.


As mentioned previously, growth can be controlled easily. If you wish to have a larger plant, the addition of a low phosphate ‘controlled release’ fertiliser at 5g (one teaspoonful) per 3 litres of
compost applied to the top surface, twice a year in the summer will help active growth. Alternatively use a water-soluble fertiliser, such as an Ericaceous fertiliser, once a month during the growing season will provide similar nutrition. If the tree becomes too big for the pot, either replant into a bigger container, or prune the plant in early spring.


For an outdoor living area such as a balcony, courtyard or patio, choose a well-lit location;

Preferably not exposed to the full sun in mid-summer. If the tree is to stand outside over winter, choose a sheltered position and make sure that the compost does not become over-saturated by rain through winter. If placed directly from shade into the full sun, the plant may develop some initial tip-burn and yellowing of the foliage. This is not uncommon for rainforest and Araucariaceae species. It should, however, regain its normal deep green appearance
over a few months and thrive.

Does The Wollemi Pine make a good house plant?

Wollemi Pine will also make a good houseplant. You can enjoy watching your tree grow and observe the extraordinary features as it matures. If kept indoors, place the plant in a very well-lit position but out of the full sun in mid-summer. From May to September it will appreciate a ‘holiday’ outside for a few days a month. In many cases we have seen people bringing the plant inside in winter and taking it out during the summer months.


Growing the Wollemi Pine in the ground

Growing the Wollemi Pine in the ground


The best time to plant the Wollemi Pine is in late spring as the ground starts to warm and the winter frosts cease.


Choose a location, ideally sheltered from the coldest winds and hardest frosts. Full sun or partial shade is ideal. If the Wollemi Pine is to be grown as a large specimen, the spacing around the tree from other trees and shrubs should be at a minimum of 3m and preferably even more. If a grove or hedge effect is intended and you wish to control growth by pruning, then the planting can be as little as 2m apart.


Dig the hole at least twice the size of the original pot and mix some organic material such as leaf mould or green compost, a sprinkling of low phosphate general fertiliser around the sides of the hole, or with the back fill. In its natural habitat, the pH is exceptionally low but our experience is that the Wollemi Pine will grow happily in a pH range of 4.5 to 7, but a pH below 6 is preferable.

The Wollemi Pine does not like 'wet feet' so a well-drained soil is best. If the soil is heavy clay or overlying clay, it is advisable to use some well drained loam-based compost as back fill in the planting hole. Carefully knock the plant out of the pot and place so that the original compost is just below the surface of the new hole. Firm the soil around the tree and, if in windy position, stake and tie.


Water the tree in well and apply weekly water in dry periods throughout the first season to establish the plant. After the initial establishment, the tree will withstand quite dry conditions, but may need watering in extreme heat.


Is the Wollemi Pine susceptible to common garden pests?

Mammal damage can be a problem with any young trees planted in open ground. We do not feel that the Wollemi Pine is any more susceptible than other garden plants to attention from mammals. In some instances, the whole garden will need to be protected by fencing to prevent damage to garden plants. If this is impractical or not cost effective we suggest that you protect your Wollemi Pine from un-wanted attention by enclosing your tree with chicken wire. This should deter mammals such as Rabbits, Hares, Badgers and Deer. For more information contact your local Wollemi Pine stockist.


Tortrix Moth Caterpillar

Tortrix Moth Caterpillar

Tortrix Moth Caterpillar seems to have a particular penchant for Wollemi Pine. Consider using a Tortrix Moth Trap; these use a pheromone to catch the male moth.

Moths fly during the day, in early summer and again in early autumn. In a heated greenhouse or conservatory they may be active all year round. The trap should be suspended above the plants which are at risk and checked frequently.

As soon as one moth is caught, spray the plants with Bio Sprayday Greenfly Killer Plus or Liquid Derris Plus Spray (Always follow the recommendations on the packaging) and again every 2-3 weeks while moths continue to be caught. The easiest method of control is to pick off affected leaves and burn them.


Troubleshooting & Common FAQs

What is the best watering regime for the Wollemi Pine?
The most likely issue that affects the health of the Wollemi Pine is an incorrect watering regime. Ensure not to over water- just saturate the plant when the top 5cm of the growing media is dry. This maybe at least a couple of litres for a small pot and up to 15 litres for a large pot. Do not leave the plant sitting in a saucer of water if it is in a pot.

Watering may need to be done once or twice a week and will depend on the light levels, generally, the lower the light, the less water loss. Light is also important, especially if the plant is indoors. Ensure that it is in a well lit position but not in direct sun and take it outside to a shaded and sheltered location for 1 week in every month between May and September.

Why have the branches on my tree begun to droop?
When the Wollemi Pine is stressed by over watering/under watering or grown in low light areas, it is susceptible to a fungal disease known as Fusicoccum. This can result in foliage branch wilt and dieback, and death if left untreated.

It is very important that at the first sign of branch wilt the light and watering condition are checked. It is very likely that the plant is in a position that is not sufficiently lit and the growing media is waterlogged. The plant should be moved to a position of higher light but protected from direct sunlight. The plant can be raised off the ground (e.g. with bricks), to allow airflow and free drainage from the bottom of the pot. Ensure that the pot is saturated only when the top 5cm of the growing media is dry. If the mix is very wet, ensure the plant is kept out of natural rainfall.

Why have the leaf tips of my Wollemi Pine gone brown?
There are three possible reasons for the tips of the leaves of the Wollemi Pine to go brown.

Always ensure slow release fertilizer is evenly placed around the tree and not in contact with the stem.

Could the Wollemi become invasive?
Ecologists studying the Wollemi Pine have claimed that the Wollemi Pine is highly unlikely to become a 'weed'. The biological attributes of weed species are inconsistent with conifers in the Araucariaceae family. There is a slight possibility that Wollemi Pine seeds could germinate as a result of seed fall in highly favourable conditions, though, any major infestation is unlikely.

Is the Wollemi Pine susceptible to common garden pests?
Like most ornamental plants, the Wollemi Pine is susceptible to common garden pests. These include caterpillars and sap sucking insects, such as aphids, scale and mealy bug. Symptoms of such pests may include pale, yellowing and/or wilted growing tips, honeydew and sooty mould and often, presence of ants. Treat by removing any pests by hand and spraying with the appropriate chemicals, Do not use leaf shines or white oils as foliage burn can result.

Is the Wollemi Pine susceptible to disease?
The Wollemi Pine has been found to be relatively resistant to most diseases. However, a fungal pathogen Phytophthora cinnamonmi is one disease that affects many plants, including the Wollemi Pine. A few Wollemi Pines in the wild were infected with Phytophthora cinnamonmi as a result of it being carried in on the footwear of unauthorized visitors. These trees have been treated and there is no longer any immediate risk of the disease spreading. There has been no evidence of Phytophora cinnamonmi in commercial production.

Another fungal pathogen that can be associated with stem, branch and tree dieback or decline in Wollemi Pine is Fusicoccum species. At advanced stages of the disease, the fungus is visible as brown patches with tiny black raised spots (like a pin-head) on the leaves. This fungus is more active during the warmer, wetter months, and is generally only seen on plants under stress, such as insufficient light, drought, over-watering or poor drainage.

In general, if fungal pathogens are detected, it is suggested that a mixture of broad spectrum fungicides are used including Dithane 945.

Wollemi Pine | About the Wollemi Pine | Fast Facts |  Care Information