Light: Filtered Sun
Soil: needs very good drainage .. mixed a lot of conditioner and perma-til into the soil Prefers a deep well-drained soil. Dislikes hot dry soils. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Planting/Care: planted high (not fully buried) to try to insure good drainage. Dislikes atmospheric pollution. Very tolerant of maritime exposure and salt laden wind.
Propagation: Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, or it can be stored cool and moist then sown February in a greenhouse. Although the plants are quite cold-tolerant, the root systems of seedling plants can be damaged in spells of very cold weather so give some extra protection at this time if necessary. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 15°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The plants have a rather sparse root system and are best placed in their final positions as soon as possible. Give them some protection for their first winter. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, May to July in a cold frame. Only epicormic side-shoots should be used, normal side-shoots do not develop properly. An epicormic shoot is one that develops from a dormant bud on the main trunk of the tree.
Notes: Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Unlike most conifers, this tree can be coppiced ... more
Do NOT bury the seed. Stick the pointed end of the seed 1/2 to 3/4 of the way into moist, but not wet, seed starting mix. (i.e. used a 50/50 mix of perilite and Jiffy-mix.) Keep warm.
The seed loses viability very quickly so if you cannot sow the seeds immediately, put them into a zip-lock bag and put the bag into the refrigerator.
The monkey puzzle is a very slow growing tree that can take 5 - 10 years before it even gets above grass height and then grows around 35 cm a year. New growth takes place from late June to September.
Just pot them up and grow on. Pot immediately into 9 cm pots of gritty compost with added pearlite either lay seed on surface & lightly cover root radical, or can be inserted sprouted part (root radical) fully into compost leaving 1/3 of the seed above compost.
Comments from around the internet:
"I live in Illinois. Have had mine for over 3 years on my sun porch. It gets direct overhead light from our skylights. It is growing great! We have it a large clay pot (about 12") that sits in a decorative one that's larger on the bottom but smaller on top. We found that the roots are coming through the pot and have reached the bottom of the decorative pot which collects the water runoff. Our tree seems to love it."
"... you need loamy soil, that is well drained--- they say these trees will not tolerate poorly drained soil."
"I keep mine under fluorescent lights during the winter. I water when the pot is fairly dry. Mine have not grown at all this winter so I guess the trees do go dormant. It is probably best to keep the tree from growing unless you can provide VERY bright light (full sun) in the winter. This tree is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10 (0°F to 30°F) so some cold shouldn't hurt it. If you have a cool spot to put it for the winter that might be best."
"Rich in starch, the seed is soft like a cashew nut and has a slight flavour of pine nuts. This is a delicious seed and it makes very pleasant eating. It is a food that can easily be eaten in quantity and can be used as a staple food in the diet. Fairly large, the seeds are about the size of an almond....This tree has an excellent potential to become a commercial crop in the western parts of Britain, it is high yielding, has large tasty seeds and is easily harvested. Plants grow best in S.W. England and along the west coast of Britain where they produce seed regularly and abundantly. Female cones take 2 - 3 years to mature and break up at the end of the year. They contain up to 200 large seeds. Plants self-sow in Cornwall. We have records of trees regularly producing good crops of seeds in various sites in Cornwall, Devon and the west coast of Scotland. We also have one report of an excellent crop in 1997 from trees at Alvaston Castle near Derby and of a tree in Bedfordshire producing a heavy crop... Its main disadvantages are its slow rate of growth and the time it takes before the first crop is produced - this can be up to 40 years from seed though we have often seen plants less than 20 years old produce cones. The plant is dioecious so at least one male plant needs to be grown for every 5 - 6 females - unfortunately there is no way of telling the sex of the tree until it flowers."