Podocarpus costalis is a small evergreen conifer native in the Philippines and Taiwan. In nature, they grow on coastal plains and bluffs from sea level to 1000 feet (300 m) high. Juvenile leaves are linear 3.5 inches (9 cm) long by 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) wide. Adult leaves are linear 1.6-2.75 inches (4-7 cm) long by 0.2-0.4 inches 5-10 mm) wide and are rounded at the apex. Bark is dark chocolate brown. The one in the photo is a juvenile form. All Podocarpus species are interesting trees, and many are used in the timber industry. P. costalis is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss in its native setting. In cultivation, it is collected mainly for the horticulture interest. Since it is a small tree, it makes a wonderful Bonsai subject. It is a very easy tree to grow and is hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-10.
Blooming Time: Male cones are yellow and catkinlike. Female cones consist of 2-4 scales, with only 1-2 bearing ovules; each is 1 seeded. Seeds are drupelike on a fleshy red or purple aril-like receptacle known as an epimatium.
Culture: Podocarpus costalis grows best in full sun to light shade, with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. They have a moderate growth rate and will need to be re-potted every couple of years.
Propagation: Podocarpus costalis is best propagated by seed. Fresh seed placed in baggies with moist peat were places in the refrigerator at 45-48°F (7-9°C). As seeds start to germinate the seedlings are picked out and planted.
Podocarpus costalis was featured as Plant of the Week August 27-September 2, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.