Wollemi Pine

Wollemi Pine
I just sent an email to Gardens R Us about our little Wollemi Pine tree. He’s looking very droopy lately, and I’m worried.

Hello, We bought a Wollemi Pine from the Kingsford store back in September. I was very excited to help in the conservation of these wonderful plants! The instructions we got indicated that the tree would be happy in a pot and out of direct sun, so we put him in a large pot near our front door. Here’s what it looked like then.

The location is sheltered and it gets only indirect sun. We read that overwatering can be a problem, so we’ve tried to limit watering to times when the pot soil feels dry. (No more than once every week or two.)

We had an initial period of lots of growth, but now our little tree is looking very droopy. Here’s what he looks like as of today.

You can see all the new growth along his branches, but they’re *very* droopy. Some of the lower branches are slightly brown and dry looking.

I’ve been searching the Internet but all the advice I read is conflicting. Should we move the pot into the sun? Is it the hot humid weather we’ve been having? Are we over or underwatering? Could the potting soil we used (just normal potting soil with some compost) be inhospitable to the species? Could the pot itself be leeching something into the soil that is hurting the tree? (It’s just a normal pot that we picked up secondhand.) Or is this actually just normal growth, and the branches are drooping because of the additional length?

I’d really appreciate any advice you can give us!

Have any of you ever seen this before? Have I actually managed to kill a tree species that survived untouched for hundreds of millions of years?

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  1. We made a DVD for Wollemi Pine Intl. several years ago. I pulled it out of the archives this afternoon, but sadly it didn’t give me any obvious answers. One thing it did say was to make sure it’s in a well-lit position but not direct sun, like you have yours. But then the next point it mentions is to move it to a shaded position for 1 week every month.

    On the other hand, when it talks about droopy branches, it mentions three causes: too little light, too wet or too dry. (Gee, guess that means the shade for a week isn’t a good idea.)

    Brown tips on the leaves may mean it’s not getting sufficient water, incorrect pH of the potting mix (slightly acidic is better), too much or too little fertilizer. And they mention making sure that slow-release fertilizer not be in contact with the stem but evenly placed around the tree.

    I realize that this doesn’t help much at all. Too wet? Too dry? Too light? Too dark? All of the above? If you want me to email you the video files, I’m sure I can get them off some storage drive around here.

  2. Ha! That’s exactly the kind of contradictory information I was finding, Danielle. Thank you for that though. I’ll wait to hear back from the nursery before I ask you to go hunting for the files. 🙂

  3. I think it looks normal Kris – not all pine have straight firm branches, the droopines may just be a stage in its development. The lower brown parts may be normal also. We have a W. Pine at the local primary school still in it’s pot and it is over a metre high. It is pretty scrappy in places but it doesn’t have that traditional ‘pine’ shape of the european pine. It does get a bit colder up here though. Check out this floppy pine. http://www.traditionaloven.com/articles/88/i-have-australian-native-wollemi-pine

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