Podocarpus macrophyllus (Japanese Maki)
In Japan it’s known as Maki and is one of their best loved trees. It grows slower in Britain (the summer’s are generally cooler than in Japan) and will only grow to about 15ft after many years. It’s beauty and it’s hardiness make it suitable for a container if required. It’s also a very variable plant – mostly in the size and shape of its leaves. Macro Phyllus means Large Leaf but the leaves can vary from 2 inches long to only half an inch long. It clips well (to keep its shape and to keep it dense) and tends to remain greener if grown in light shade although it’ll tolerate full sun quite happily.
In Japan, the shorter leafed varieties are often used for creating Niwaki. We use the faster growing (in this country) Podocarpus salignus from Chile and Argentina. A similar tree but with much finer foliage.
Propagated by us from cuttings from the biggest tree I’ve ever seen in Britain – about 20ft. It was in the University of London Botanic Garden by Royal Holloway College in Egham. Alas, the garden is no more.
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level Green