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Plant Care Guide >> Indoor Plants >> Podocarpus macrophyllus
Podocarpus is a very tolerant plant, easy to care for, and survives a wide range of care. It is a versatile plant which can thrive in tubs or as a topiary. The plant can be used to make a bonsai as well. This is a plant which grows very big when planted in the ground but remains a shrub or a small tree when grown in a tub or pot.
Common name: Buddhist pine, Chinese yew, Shrubbery Yew Podocarpus
Botanical Name: Podocarpus macrophyllus
Family: Podocarpaceae

The plant has upright, dense evergreen has pointed, leathery, dark green leaves arranged on stiff, symmetrical branches. The crown forms a somewhat pyramidal to oval outline. Compact branching habit and very dark green foliage make this a dense tree in full sun, more open but surprisingly dense in shade.


Flowers are inconspicuous and have little ornamental value.


The plant can be grown in shade as well as in the sun. Too little light will result in large, elongated needles. It does best in bright light filtered through a translucent blind or curtain.


The plant requires moist soil. However, good drainage is required for the plant. Browning of the leaf tips (grey needles) occurs due to over watering.

Pest and Problems:

Podocarpus is susceptible to root rot on soils with poor drainage. It is prone to attack by scale, mealybugs, and sooty mold.

Growth habit:

Podocarpus plants have a tendency to grow straight up, with no side branching. It is able to reach 15ft-20ft in height, 6-8ft in width, if planted in the ground. It is slow growing indoors and fast growing when planted in the sun.


Podocarpus likes slightly acid soil, so a dose of Miracid several times a year is helpful. These plants need additional iron and magnesium; iron is partially supplied by the Miracid. In addition, apply a dose of chelated iron twice yearly. To prevent magnesium deficiency, use 2-3 applications of Epsom Salts.


Pruning is necessary to get the side branches to grow. Pinch back new growth as necessary, and remove oversized needles. If a plant with bushier appearance is required, cut back all side branches by half. New growth will readily develop.


It is best grown from soft wood cuttings. It can also be grown from seeds but the seeds are difficult to get.

Special Care:

Some form of light staking is advisable for the main stems of a potted plant.

Landscaping Use:

Podocarpus can be grown to screen off and area, or as a hedge. It can also be used as an accent plant.

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