We purchased a Monkey Puzzle tree in Washington state last June. It is approximately 2.5' tall. We planted it in a large pot (about 1.5' in diameter...
Indoor Monkey Puzzle Tree #494032
Asked November 09, 2018, 7:55 PM EST
We purchased a Monkey Puzzle tree in Washington state last June. It is approximately 2.5' tall. We planted it in a large pot (about 1.5' in diameter) and kept it outside over the summer, knowing that it won't grow outside here in Sturgis, SD, we brought it inside about a month ago. It was fine until we brought it in. Now, the branches are drooping approximately 6" in from the tips and the branches closer to the trunk seem to be getting thinner, while the outer branches (that are drooping) are still "plump" for lack of a better word. Can you give me some direction as to how I could help our tree?
Lawrence CountySouth Dakota
Thank you for your question. You are right to bring it inside over the winter, since it is a tropical plant. I think your plant’s problems arise from the reduction in light indoors. This plant needs direct sunlight, which indoor environments don’t provide. Window coatings and screens block out the ranges of the light spectrum (infrared and ultraviolet) necessary for photosynthesis. Even placing next to sunny windows is often inadequate. Consider buying a grow light so it gets 10-12 hours of bright light every day. Good luck!
Thank you so much for your response. We have purchased a grow light and have set it up. Do plants have a "day and night"? In other words, do we need to have the light on during the day and off at night? Can we have it on too long? Do you have an idea of how quickly we should see a response ?(branches to quit drooping?) Once again, thank you.
So, the answer is to put yourself in the plant’s native environment. With a little discrepancy, tropical plants have roughly 12 hours ‘on’ and 12 hours ‘off’ at the equator (tropical regions). So that can be your timer’s guide, too. Adequate light, making certain it has water and water drainage, and weekly weakly fertilization should bring back the still alive branches in no time. Lower branches brown and fall off in nature, so don’t fret. Patience and attention to details is key!
BTW, check the drainage hole(s) regularly for root outgrowth. If you see them coming out, transplant into a size larger pot (also draining). Roots that surround the perimeter of the container are unable to uptake water, and lack hydration.
Any water soluable, balanced (like 10-10-10) fertilizer, per label directions, should work. Just be sure to flush out the mineral salts, that you’ll observe on the top of the soil, every 3 months or so. Run tap or rainwater through it until it drains through the drainhole.
I'm sorry to keep bothering you. I purchased a soil meter because I was unsure if we were watering too much or not enough. Based on a 1 - 4 meter it measured 1.5 after watering. I read that it likes moist, well drained soil - are we keeping it too dry?
That does sound too dry. Are you able to put the entire container in a sink and run water through it? You will not only saturate the soil, but you will wash away mineral salts that build up. No bother at all! This is what I love to do! Healthy plants = healthy people!
Unfortunately, he seems to be getting worse. The "leaves" are turning hard and are turning brown. Before the ends of the branches were supple and soft (as soft as the tree gets), now they feel brittle. The moisture meter reads 2.5 and we have not wasted since we soaked it. The grow light is on 12-14 hours/day. I've uploaded a photo for comparison.
I think your plant’s health may too far gone to save it. Once a plant is in decline, magical cures rarely exist. My suspicion is that you had a soil fungus that invaded thevplant’s vascular system and is methodically destroying it. Some plants can’t be saved, even though the diagnosis is otherwise timely.
This work is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.