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Pseudopanax ferox (Ferocious Lancewood)

It’s worth reading our write up on Pseudopanax crassifolius as there are many similarities between these two trees. This one is considerably rarer in its native New Zealand but goes through the same extraordinary metamorphosis from stick with strange brown narrow saws hanging off it through to 14ft tall lollipop surmounted by a mass of shorter slightly greener leaves. To give it the full New Zealand treatment, grow in groves.

Wander round some of the more prosperous residential areas of south east London (Dulwich, Lewisham, Brockley and Vauxhall come to mind) and occasionally encounter a front garden crammed with these plants. An arresting sight and a reliable indicator that Kiwis live within.

To summarise : it’s a smaller, even weirder version of Pseudopanax crassifolius.

In common with all Pseudopanax, it will survive happily in a pot for longer than most. This is probably associated with the fact that many of these can be found as epiphytes in their native New Zealand – or ‘Perching Plants’ as they call them there. These are plants growing in large trees merely surviving from whatever food and moisture they can gather from the mother plant.

Propagated by us from seed.

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 traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.