Monkey Puzzle Tree For Sale

Being an avid gardener is an amazingly powerful thing. As the world’s climate shifts and more and more species teeter on the edge of extinction, we often find ourselves able to help keep a plant from disappearing by continuing to plant it in our gardens.

Araucaria Araucana, commonly known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree, is one of those trees teetering on that seesaw. This is a tree that is known as a living fossil because the species has been on the planet since the time of the dinosaurs.

While countless other species have faced extinction since then, this tree has done an amazing job at surviving – until humans influenced their environment. Now we must do our best to keep this wondrous specimen from going the way of its Jurassic period contemporaries.

The Monkey Puzzle tree is a coniferous gymnosperm with a wildly unusual look that is the origin of its equally odd name. A member of the English parliament, Sir William Molesworth, was having a luncheon with some friends at his country home, and while showing his garden, his friend, the famous lawyer, Charles Austin, said of the tree, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” Having no common name at that point, the name stuck.

Looking at the tree you can see why our primate cousins would be confused. The foliage is not like the typically needle-shaped type. Instead, they are leathery, broad and dagger-like.

These organic daggers do not drop off the tree either, they linger for ten to fifteen years which often means you will see these large broad leaves on quite substantial branches or on the trunk itself. The tree is left with a thick leathery coating on the bark that is resistant to fire and acts as a deterrent against larger animals damaging the trunk.

  • Botanical Name Araucaria Araucana
  • Common Name Monkey Puzzle Tree
  • Plant Type Tree
  • Mature Size 50.00 to 80.00 ft. tall, 20.00 to 30.00 ft. wide
  • Sun Exposure Full Sun
  • Soil Type Semi-rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils
  • Soil pH Adaptable
  • Bloom Time Non-flowering
  • Flower Color Non-flowering
  • Hardiness Zone 7-10

Monkey Puzzle Tree Care

If you don’t have the right climate to support year-round outdoor planting, this tree grows well in a container that can be brought inside to overwinter. In the northernmost zones and areas where summers are very hot, it is recommended to choose your site carefully.

The Monkey Puzzle tree is very adaptable, but does best in milder summers and winters. Placing it in a sheltered area in these types of climate is suggested. Once you find a good location you are ready to plant.

As with every tree or shrub, you are going to want to plant the tree shallow, in a hole that is wider than it is deep. The standard is two times wider than the container or rootball is deep.

It is always good to have a helping hand to make sure your tree is completely straight as you fill the soil back into the hole. Then, place two to three inches of mulch around your tree without it touching the trunk. You may want to stake your tree to ensure strong winds do not displace it.

After you plant your Monkey Puzzle tree soak the tree thoroughly and water it weekly with long soaks that drench the entire root system. Less frequent deep watering is better than more often shallow watering.

Light: Monkey puzzle trees want full sun and do not tolerate shady areas. If growing in a container, make sure the window gets plenty of direct light.

Soil: One real positive about growing the Monkey Puzzle tree is that it will tolerate a wide range of soils providing they are deep and the drainage is good. In a container, adding some perlite to the potting mix may aid the drainage.

Water: If the tree has established itself and you have watered it well for the first year or two as instructed above, then watering your Monkey Puzzle is low maintenance. The tree prefers medium moist soil and that can usually be maintained by the precipitation that occurs naturally. If a dry spell does occur, water as needed. For a plant in a container besides keeping the soil moist, a regular misting will be needed.

Temperature and Humidity: The ranges for the Monkey Puzzle tree are USDA 7-10, but it does not do well in the warmer temperatures and does not tolerate dry weather. It is cold hardy to -4o F.

If your garden is dry or can reach colder temperatures, consider going the container route.

Fertilizer: The Monkey Puzzle Tree does not need supplemental feeding.