Germinating Araucaria

Includes Araucaria araucana, Araucaria angustifolia.

The seeds of Araucaria araucana must be fresh to germinate, but when they are fresh, they germinate readily. In literature different methods for germinating the seeds are mentionned, but the safest way to achieve a 85 - 90 % germination is the following:

Soak the seeds for about two days in water, then carry out a short cold stratification (put the seeds into a refrigerator for about 10 - 15 days in humid sand), and then plant them at 20 C or more. The seeds begin germination after 10 days, and by day 30 almost all of the seeds will have germinated. Because the seeds are quite big, the initial growth (10 -12 cm.) is very quick - it takes less than 90 days from the time you soak the sees till you obtain the young plants of this size.

For some batches of seeds the cold stratification may not be necessary if the seeds were exposed to rain before harvesting (happens quite often in their natural habitat) and underwent thus the natural cold stratification. That is the reason why in literature sometimes a different method is proposed to expose the seeds to higher temperatures immediately. That is not safe and we do not recommend it!

We have successfully germinated seeds which were stored for up to 1 year and a half (5 % germination rate), but we recommend that as a rule, only fresh seeds are used and are not stored for more than 3 months after harvest (in Chile, the harvesting time is around April - May).

The subsequent growth of Araucaria araucana is notoriously slow, it will take about 3 years to get to 50 - 60 cm., and up to 15 - 20 years to 4 - 6 m. Araucarias tolerate well rather cold climates down to -20 C, but may have problems with hot and dry climates (over +25 C). Some protection from strong sunlight may be indicated.

The substrate should be well drained, porous, ideally volcanic.

We used the same germination procedure for Araucaria angustifolia, and it worked very well. It is not clear whether this species requires cold stratification.