Araucaria araucana

monkey puzzle tree

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This distinctive South American conifer has widely spaced branches that extend horizontally from the trunk and then arch upwards towards the tips. The unique, evergreen leaves – triangular in shape and with sharp-pointed tips – are arranged radially around each branch. This tree will definitely make a statement in the garden!

Quick Facts

Plant Type: pyramidal conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 80 ft. 0 in. (24.38 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 10

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: occasional water or drought tolerant once established

Wildlife Associations: birds

Resistant to: aphids, rabbits, deer, slug, snail

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: chartreuse, gold, lavender, pink, silver, white, yellow

Great Color Partners: bronze, burgundy, purple, red

Culture Notes
Monkey puzzle trees grow best in full sun and tolerate a wide range of soils, including clay and sandy types as long as the drainage is very good. In the Pacific Northwest they are drought tolerant once established, although occasional watering during dry periods will encourage the tree to grow a bit faster than it might otherwise.
Geek Notes
This South American conifer is native to a relatively small area on the volcanic slopes of the Andes Mountains in south central Chile and southwestern Argentina. The habitat is woodlands and they generally grow at an elevation ranging from about 4,900 (1500m) to 5,900 feet (1800m) with some populations growing below that at about 3,000 feet (900m) and a few individuals can be found at under 2,000 feet (600m). It is the national tree of Chile.