How to Make Podocarpus Grow Faster and Thicker?
One of the best ways to add more privacy to your household and hide your yard from unwanted looks is to grow a hedge and create a wall of greenery around your house.
Among the best choices for creating this barrier is podocarpus.
This plant that can grow as a tree or a shrub will not only help create a private environment but also add aesthetic appeal to your living space.
On top of all this, podocarpus is an evergreen plant, rather hardy and fairly resistant to drought and pest infestations.
This means that it will provide a low-cost and low-maintenance hedge around your house.
However, if you’re impatient and want to see your podocarpus grow quickly into a thick green wall, you will have to put in some effort.
To help out, I’ll explain how to make podocarpus grow faster and, also, how to make podocarpus grow thicker.
So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
How to Make Podocarpus Grow Faster?
In general, podocarpus is a relatively fast-growing plant, even on its own. Depending on the variant, it may grow 10 to 40 inches per year.
As a rule, a tree podocarpus will grow faster than one growing in the form of a shrub. The maximum height also varies.
The podocarpus variants commonly used to form a hedge will grow to about 7-10 feet and be 3-4 feet wide.
However, there are examples of podocarpus growing up to 30-40 feet.
However, if you want to encourage your podocarpus to grow even faster, there are a couple of ways to do it.
The key is to provide your plants with perfect conditions in which they can thrive.
This includes providing them with enough sunlight and helping them get all the nutrients and water they need.
Below are a few basic tips that can help you learn how to make podocarpus grow faster.
Podocarpus loves bright and direct sunlight and will grow at an optimal rate when provided with these types of conditions.
Although it will also grow in a more shady environment, the growth will be slower, while the leaves will have darker and deeper colors.
Plus, growing away from the sunlight, will make the plants grow more thinly and the hedge won’t be as dense.
Therefore, it’s best that you plant the podocarpus in an area where it can get a lot of sunlight during the day and be exposed to full sun.
However, be aware that too much exposure to the sun can be damaging to your podocarpus, especially in hot climate areas.
Too much sun and heat can scorch the leaves and discolor them, making them turn brown.
Look to place the podocarpus where it can get plenty of sun, but not more than around six hours per day.
Soil and Watering
As mentioned above, podocarpus is fairly drought-tolerant, so it needs only moderately moist soil in order to thrive.
This is especially true for the more dense types of soil.
While it will tolerate and grow in various soil types, podocarpus won’t handle soggy and heavy soils.
The best option is relatively sandy soil as it will drain the moisture rather quickly which suits the podocarpus.
When it comes to watering, it should be modest but regular, so the soil stays moist, but not too wet.
You should water podocarpus at least once a week, especially during the period when the plant is still young and not yet established.
Once the podocarpus fully develops, you can ease up on the watering and do it less often.
An ideal watering schedule for an established podocarpus is once every 9 days. This will help the plant’s healthy development and provide optimal growth speed.
Another way to speed up the growth of your podocarpus is the proper use of fertilizer.
For best results, you should use a well-balanced fertilizer and fertilize the podocarpus up to three times during the growing season.
Note that the last time you use fertilizer during a season should be at least two months before the start of winter.
Doing this less often will not cause any particular harm to your plant, but it will make it grow slower.
If you’re not sure which type of fertilizer to use most experts recommend 6-6-6 fertilizer.
Make sure that it’s in granular form, designed for use with shrubs and bushes, and of a slow-release kind, as podocarpus is not the fastest feeder.
Fertilizer should be applied to the soil surrounding the base of the plant.
How to Make Podocarpus Grow Thicker?
Of course, your hedge won’t be of much use as a barrier meant for protecting your privacy if you can see through it.
That’s why it’s important to help your podocarpus grow thicker, so it can fully hide you from unwanted looks.
Plus, the thick and rich podocarpus hedge is much more visually appealing and will make your entire yard or garden look better.
Fortunately, this is not too hard to accomplish and some of the actions you will undertake to help the podocarpus grow faster will also help it grow thicker.
In addition, you’ll also have to put your hedge trimmer or scissors to work and do some timing and pruning.
This will allow your hedge to shine in all of its glory, as a well-groomed and shaped podocarpus is truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Regular Trimming and Pruning
The key to a full and thick podocarpus hedge is regular and diligent trimming and pruning of its branches.
Note that the trimming will make the podocarpus look bushier, while pruning will help you shape your plant.
Trimming should be done no more frequently than every couple of weeks.
This way, your plant will have enough time to recover between two trimming sessions and flourish to provide a thick and full shape.
To ensure that the podocarpus will grow thicker, make even cuts on all sides while trimming.
However, if you want to accomplish the popular pyramid shape, make the top foliage narrower than the bottom of the plant.
Plus, trimming more often than the recommended schedule would increase the risk of fungal infections which can damage your podocarpus and stunt its growth.
Pruning will have the best effect on the thickness and health of the podocarpus when done twice a year.
This will help remove dead leaves and branches and encourage new leaf growth.
You should prune in the fall, so the leaves and branches will experience a growth spurt in the spring.
The second yearly pruning should be done in summer to weed out the secondary growth spurt.
Make sure to prune only the tips of the branches, so there are always at least 2-4 inches of leaves from the stem.
Properly watering your podocarpus will not only make it grow faster but also help it create thick and full foliage.
As explained above, you should regularly water the podocarpus, but be careful not to make the soil waterlogged.
This should be done so the topsoil is not dry, but relatively damp, so the plant roots can get to the water and absorb everything they need from it.
Also, remember that podocarpus that’s still developing will need more water than the plant that’s already established and, therefore, more drought-resistant.
In addition, always look to water the podocarpus from the base, instead spraying water from above.
This will prevent the leaves from getting wet and create a perfect environment for the development of mildew.
Preventing Pest Infestations and Diseases
For podocarpus foliage to appear thick it has to be healthy.
This means that you have to take some measures to prevent pest infestations and the most common diseases that are known to attack this plant.
Two of the most common pests that can invade your podocarpus are aphids and scale. Aphids are small insects that attack the new leaf growth of the plant and feed on sap.
As a result, the leaves wilt and change their color to yellowish.
The aphid infestation generates honeydew accumulation and sooty mold, leading to stunted growth.
Scale insects also feed on sap and leave the plant more vulnerable and susceptible to various diseases.
Obviously, both of these pests affect the foliage and make the entire podocarpus look less thick.
To prevent this, use a solution of rubbing alcohol or a spray of insecticidal soap as soon as you notice them on your plant.
Podocarpus is certainly one of the best options when looking to create a dense hedge around your yard or garden.
This plant is great for homeowners who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to caring for their hedges but still want a nice-looking barrier to protect their privacy and add some vibrancy to their living space.
Still, some light work and caring will be needed, but nothing that will be too hard to time-consuming.
The most important things are regular trimming, proper watering, and sufficient exposure to sunlight.
So, learning how to make podocarpus grow thicker and faster is rather easy and will go a long way in keeping it beautiful and healthy.