Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance of a Monkey Puzzle Tree


The Monkey Puzzle tree, also called araucaria or Araucaria araucana, is a unique and eye-catching plant that can bring a touch of exotic beauty to any garden. Native to the southern regions of Chile and Argentina, this tree never fails to draw attention with its thick, spiky leaves and symmetrical growth pattern. Although caring for a Monkey Puzzle tree may seem like solving a complex puzzle, with the right tips and knowledge, you can ensure that your tree thrives.

One important factor to consider when caring for a Monkey Puzzle tree is the watering needs. These trees are not particularly fond of excessive moisture, so it’s best to avoid over-watering. On the other hand, during dry periods, make sure to give your plant plenty of water to keep its moisture levels balanced. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Monkey Puzzle trees are toxic to cats and dogs, so be cautious if you have any furry friends around.

Another tip for growing a Monkey Puzzle tree is to provide it with the right conditions for germination. These trees produce large, hard-shelled seeds called “puzzles,” which have a very low germination rate. To increase the chances of successful germination, it’s recommended to soak the seeds in warm water for 48 hours before sowing. Afterward, plant the seeds in well-draining soil and keep them at a slightly cooler temperature, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).

When choosing a place to plant your Monkey Puzzle tree, make sure to select an area with plenty of sunlight and protection from strong winds. These trees are indigenous to mountainous areas, so they thrive in full sun but may struggle in hot and humid climates. Additionally, keep in mind that Monkey Puzzle trees can grow quite large, reaching up to 50 feet (15 meters) in height, so plan accordingly and leave enough space for its growth.

In conclusion, caring for a Monkey Puzzle tree can be a rewarding experience if you provide it with the proper care and conditions it needs to thrive. Remember to water the tree sparingly, protect it from extreme weather conditions, and choose a suitable planting location. By following these tips, you can enjoy the beauty of your Monkey Puzzle tree for years to come.

Thank you for reading this article on how to care for a Monkey Puzzle tree. We hope you found the information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!

Monkey Puzzle Tree

The Monkey Puzzle Tree, also known as Araucaria araucana or the Chile pine, is a fascinating tree that can thrive in many different climates. It is native to the central and southern regions of Chile and Argentina, where it can be found growing in the cool, moist forests of the Andes Mountains. Despite its name, this tree is not actually related to monkeys, but its branches and leaves are so tightly packed together that it can be difficult to climb.

Monkey Puzzle Trees have an interesting profile, with their triangular shaped leaves and thick, gnarled branches. When young, the leaves are small and pointy, but as the tree grows larger, the leaves become larger and more like scales. The bark of the monkey puzzle tree is a dark brown color and is rough to the touch, while the wood is hard and dense.

In the garden, Monkey Puzzle Trees can be a great addition, providing a unique focal point with their unusual appearance. They are hardy and can survive in a variety of climates, but they do best in cooler zones. If you are considering planting a Monkey Puzzle Tree in your garden, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure its success.

  • Choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight, as the tree needs full sun to grow properly.
  • Make sure the soil is well-draining, as Monkey Puzzle Trees do not like wet or soggy soil.
  • Water regularly, especially during hot, dry periods. However, be careful not to overwater, as the tree is susceptible to root rot.
  • Prune the tree regularly to maintain its shape and remove any damaged or diseased branches.
  • Be aware that the tree’s seeds are toxic to humans and animals, so be sure to keep them away from children and pets.

Monkey Puzzle Trees can live for hundreds of years and eventually reach heights of up to 100 feet. They are a slow-growing tree, so it can take many years for them to reach their full size. If you are replanting a young tree, it is important to give it plenty of space to grow.

In conclusion, caring for a Monkey Puzzle Tree is not difficult, but it does require some attention to ensure its proper growth. By providing the right conditions and following a few simple tips, you can enjoy this unique and intriguing tree in your garden for many years to come.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

Gardeners who care for a monkey puzzle tree, known as Araucaria araucana or Araucaria bidwillii, need to factor in a few key aspects of care. This article will provide an itemized list of essential factors to consider when caring for this unique tree species, commonly called the monkey puzzle tree.

Firstly, it is important to understand that monkey puzzle trees are indigenous to the cooler climates, specifically from the woods of South America. They prefer to grow outdoors and thrive in well-drained soils. Gardeners should keep them in a place that receives plenty of sunlight, as they require at least five hours of direct sunlight each day.

Monkey puzzle trees have thick, young stems that grow straight, resembling the intricate pieces of a puzzle. They have excellent pest resistance and are relatively low-maintenance plants. However, it is crucial not to overwater them. These trees prefer drier conditions, so be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

When it comes to repotting a monkey puzzle tree seedling, it is best to do so in the spring. However, it’s important not to disturb the roots too much, as they can be sensitive. Provide the new pot with well-draining soil and place the tree in a sunny spot in your garden.

Monkey puzzle trees can grow quite large, so make sure you have enough space for them in your garden. Be cautious of their branches, as they can have sharp, needle-like leaves that may be toxic. Keep them away from areas where children or pets frequently visit.

In summary, caring for a monkey puzzle tree requires attention to a few key factors. They prefer to grow outdoors in cooler climates, in well-drained soils with plenty of sunlight. Avoid overwatering the tree and repot seedlings carefully. Be mindful of the tree’s size and presence of toxic leaves, and enjoy this unique and fascinating addition to your garden.

Thank you for reading this article on Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile. We hope you found it informative and helpful in caring for your monkey puzzle tree.


In this section, we will discuss some tips for caring for a Monkey Puzzle Tree, also known as Araucaria bidwillii. These unique trees are named for their intricate, puzzle-like leaves that resemble the wings of a monkey. They are native to the woodland areas of South America and can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10.

When choosing a location to plant your Monkey Puzzle Tree, it is best to find a spot that receives plenty of sunlight but is also protected from strong winds. The tree can tolerate a variety of soil types but prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It is also important to keep in mind that the Monkey Puzzle Tree is toxic to pets, so be careful if you have furry friends roaming around your garden.

Once you have found the perfect spot, you can bring your Monkey Puzzle Tree to its new home. These trees are often sold as seedlings or young plants, and they take several years to fully mature. Plant the tree at the same depth it was kept in the container, ensuring that the root system is covered with soil. Water the tree thoroughly after planting and continue to water regularly, especially during dry periods, to provide enough moisture for the tree to thrive.

Monkey Puzzle Trees are known for their ability to withstand cold weather, but they can still suffer damage if exposed to prolonged freezing temperatures. In areas where the temperature regularly drops below freezing, it is best to provide some protection for the tree during the winter months. Mulching around the base of the tree can help insulate the roots and prevent them from being damaged by the cold. You can also wrap the tree in burlap or use a frost blanket to shield it from extreme temperatures.

When it comes to pruning, Monkey Puzzle Trees do not require much maintenance. Simply remove any dead or damaged branches, or any branches that seem to be growing in a way that is affecting the overall shape of the tree. Be careful not to prune too much, as these trees have a naturally attractive form that should be preserved.

The Monkey Puzzle Tree can produce cones that contain seeds, which can be used to grow new trees. Collect the cones when they are fully mature and allow them to dry out for several weeks. Once the cones have dried out, you can extract the seeds and plant them in a mixture of peat moss and sand. Keep the soil moist and place the container in a warm location. It may take several months for the seeds to germinate, so be patient and keep an eye on them.

Having a Monkey Puzzle Tree in your garden can be a great addition. These trees have a unique and eye-catching appearance, and they can provide a focal point or a complementary backdrop to other plants. Just remember to choose the right location, provide enough water and protection from freezing temperatures, and be cautious of the tree’s toxic nature. With the proper care, your Monkey Puzzle Tree will thrive and become an intriguing part of your garden for many years to come.

How To Care For A Monkey Puzzle Tree

The monkey puzzle tree, also known as araucaria, is a unique and fascinating plant. Native to South America, these trees can grow to be quite large and have striking triangular-shaped leaves. Caring for a monkey puzzle tree requires some specific considerations and techniques to ensure its health and longevity.

When selecting a location for your monkey puzzle tree, it’s important to choose a spot that receives full sun. These trees thrive in areas with cooler climates, so if you live in a region with hot summers, it’s best to plant them in a partially shaded area.

The monkey puzzle tree is quite versatile when it comes to soil types. It can tolerate a wide range of soils, from sandy to clayey, as long as it is well-draining. However, they tend to prefer slightly acidic soil. If your soil is alkaline, you can amend it with peat moss or compost to create a more suitable environment for your tree.

When it comes to watering, the monkey puzzle tree is a relatively drought-tolerant plant. Once established, it can survive with little to no additional watering. However, during the first few weeks after planting or repotting, it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist to help the tree adjust to its new environment.

Fertilizing your monkey puzzle tree is not a requirement, but it can help promote healthier growth. You can use a balanced fertilizer once or twice a year, following the package instructions for application rates. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive growth and weaken the tree.

Pruning is rarely necessary for monkey puzzle trees. These trees naturally have a beautiful conical shape, and their branches grow horizontally, creating an attractive profile. If you do need to prune, it’s best to do so in the spring or early summer to minimize the risk of fungal infections.

One thing to keep in mind is that the seeds of the monkey puzzle tree are toxic if ingested. So if you have small children or pets around, it’s important to take precautions. Keep the seeds out of reach and teach everyone in your household about the potential risks.

Overall, the monkey puzzle tree is a great addition to any garden or outdoor space. Its unique appearance and interesting history make it a conversation starter, and its ability to thrive in various conditions is a testament to its adaptability. Following these care tips will help ensure that your monkey puzzle tree remains healthy and vibrant for years to come.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.