Native to Japan and Southern China and commonly referred to as Japanese Yew, Podocarpus is a tough, adaptable tree that is a very popular plant for screens and hedges. Podocarpus have a dense growth habit. Its needle-like leaves are dark green above, paler beneath and reach five inches in length and about one forth of an inch in width. Fertilized female cones produce attractive, edible, berry-like, purplish fruits that ripen over the summer.
Podocarpus is an evergreen, cold-hardy, drought-tolerant plant. Showing best growth and form in full sun, Podocarpus will also grow in shade but will grow more slowly and have a looser appearance. It will tolerate a variety of well-drained, acidic soils; however, it does not perform well on wet soils and may become yellow.
Podocarpus reacts well to pruning, making it easy to manipulate the plant’s shape; it can be pruned into a hedge or grown into a large showy tree. Although it has a moderate to slow growth rate, it can become very large if left alone to grow.
This tough tree is adaptable to urban conditions and works well in areas of poor soils and restricted rooting space. Podocarpus also makes a good costal plant because of its tolerance to salt spray and heat. It will make an attractive specimen, street or parking lot tree. It also works great anywhere a tall, narrow specimen is needed.
Japan and Southern China
Yew Pine, Japanese Yew, Buddhist Pine
Hardy Range: 8B – 11
Mature Height: 30 – 40’
Mature Spread: 20 – 25’
Growth Rate: slow to moderate
Growth Habit: clumping
Part of the same plant family as pines, spruces and cycads, Podocarpus have needle-like, flat, dark green leaves between 2 to 5 inches long. Both male and female varieties produce small cones, and female varieties will bear small, fruits that may attract wildlife.
Soil: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Salt: moderate to high
Exposure: full sun, partial sun or partial shade, shade tolerant