Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' / Icee Blue™ cape yellowwood

Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' is the cultivar name for Icee Blue™ Cape yellowood. The originators at Monrovia nursery, inc. claim that it's the first Podocarpus tree with distinctive blue foliage. New growth is lime-gray-blue maturing to a cool gray-blue-green on this excellent specimen, that is appropriate for use as a lawn or screen tree. One of the most beautiful and decorative pyramidal conifers for the Southern U.S.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 10 to 12 feet (3 - 4 m) tall and 4.5 feet (1.5 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 10 to 12 inches (25 - 30 cm). It is often and easily sheared to create hedges and topiaries.

This cultivar originated as a seedling selected in 2004 at Monrovia Nurseries of Azuza, California, USA.

Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' Icee Blue©
Photo by Monrovia Nursery, inc.
Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Janice LeCocq
Janice M LeCocq

Comments

Web Editor

For those that can grow it (it's really a zone 9-10 plant, and the tips freeze here in my zone 9b), this is a superb choice to use next to maroon or dark green.

Philip

Hi I just purchased a new house and this plant is in front of my house as part of my landscape. I am very hesitant to let it grow there cause it is very close to my wall. I hate to take it put because its beautiful but my question is does it grow very tall and would the roots damage my foundation? Can you trim it not to grow tall? Like 10 feet? Anyone have an idea?

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Philip, podocarps are easy to shear to keep them in bounds. Roots are fibrous and spreading and not likely to damage a foundation in its first 100 years.

Lakegal

It did not survive my zone 9a in Ft Bend Co, TX and I tried twice, the winters were average mild, nothing unusually cold.

Maxwell Cohn

your problem could very well have been too hot and too dry ... this is a plant for semi-tropical climates.

Web Editor

I'm in 9b, so a bit warmer than you, but in a Mediterranean climate in CA. Mine burn in frost here - the tips turn mauvey-pink and break off. It's not too unsightly but I fear that if we have a very cold winter they will get hit. Their winter hardiness is 25-30 degrees.

Luma

I’m also in zone 9b and wanted to know if your tree survived and how tall and wide you were able to grow it and how long did it take. Thanks

Donna Silberman

We have recently moved to Summerlin (Las Vegas) Nevada and chose to plant several Icee Blue podocarp for our landscape. They are against a terrace wall to create a screen...the problem is the summer direct sun has burned the leaves. If I move the plants to a shady area (my only choice) can they live with very little direct sunlight. Thanks!

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Donna, if you consider that 1 hour of sun in Las Vegas equates to all day sun in many places, I don't think you'll have a problem.

Susan

I want to plant 5' (3.5 gal) 'Icee Blue' as a hedge. How far apart should I plant them?

Jesica Rodriguez

Hello I live in Houston and just planted my first blue tree, is there extra special care treatment I should promote so my tree grows tall and healthy?

Kellie

Hello, I purchased a 3.58 gallon Icee Blue and would like to keep it as a container specimen. What soil do you recommend and how much should I go up on the pot size? I’m Zone 9a Roseville, CA.

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Kellie ... a good mix for conifers is:

50% finely ground bark + 35% pumice + 15% compost ... Without seeing the plant, it's not possible to know if it needs to be up-potted yet.

Jaime

We planted about 20 of these in our front lawn in an effort to create a privacy barrier. Some of the trees are turning purple and yellow. The roots have a lot of water beneath. We live in Lemoore, CA. Could the hot summer be burning the leaves or is it over watering? I’d hate to lose any of them.

Ronald Schlak

Jaime, you didn't say when they were planted, or how often you water. Plants need drying out time between watering. No conifer likes its feet in water. Some may already be on the way out.

Christine

Hi I am in zone 8b here in South Carolina. I have Podocarpus Icee Blue planted this past spring. What should I do to protect it this winter. Right now we have straw at base.

Jeff

I have a landscape bed that is extremely narrow... it is 2 feet between a wooden deck and wooden fence. I am trying to plant something hardy that will grow eventually 10-12 feet high and only 2-3 feet wide. I would be okay with it growing about a foot into the wooden deck over time. I live in the Bay Area and am about 1/2 mile from the coast so I don't really get frosts or a freeze. Would Podocarpus 'Icee Blue' be a good choice for me? Thanks

Maxwell Cohn

doubtful, Jeff. Icee Blue will be at least twice your maximum width within 10 years.

Sara Malone

Jeff - it's really hard to find a woody plant that stays that narrow. Even those that are classified as the most narrow will likely grow way over your deck. However, you might look for Cupressus sempervirens 'Tiny Tower'. That's probably the narrowest conifer. Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' is another narrow one. You could also consider growing a vine up a trellis there - Ficus pumila would work well although you'd have to shear it occasionally.

Jeff

Thank you Sara for these suggestions I will have to research them. Do you know anything about Juniperus scopulorum 'Blue Arrow'? According to many websites it will get 10-12 feet high and 2 feet wide. I could maybe use this for my purpose. The bed is 12-15’ long so I figured 5 of these spaced about 2.5’ on center could work for me.
Thanks,
Jeff

Web Editor

Hi no I don't, but it's worth a try if you can find it. Part will depend on what color you prefer - the two that I suggested are dark blue-green, the juniper is quite blue. All are lovely.

Daniel Spear

I can see Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swain’s Gold’ into that mix for color and texture contrast.

Caroline Morrow

I live in Long Beach, CA. We had quite a bit of rain for several days, and now nothing. Very common. A gardener advised me to not water my Icee Blues, and to allow them to dry out before watering, explaining that if the deeper roots don't dry out, they will develop problems. What is your opinion? They're doing very well, and I plan to feed them in February or March. Thanks...

Sara Malone

That makes sense. Most conifers (and many trees) need good drainage. Up here in NoCA we were deluged for most of December. I haven't watered the garden at all. When days are short, temperatures cool and plants are dormant, the amount of water required is greatly reduced. The best way to determine if the plant needs water is to dig down a bit and see how moist the soil is. A lot will depend on what type of soil you have. The sandier, the faster draining it is and the sooner you may have to water. Generally, with my clay soil, I don't have to water at all during the rainy season. I have three 'Monmal' that I planted about 10 years ago. They re about 12' tall and quite gorgeous! Good luck!

Oh and one last thing - I have never fertilized a tree. Ever. Part of that is likely due to the fact that my adobe soil is nutrient-rich. Unless you know that your soil is lacking in certain nutrients, it's generally not advisable to feed, as you often get overly-enthusiastic growth that can be weaker structurally.

Robert

I'd like to put a couple of the "Icee Blue" in extra tall/narrow oak barrels -- in dappled Bay Area shade. (3-4 hours direct sun at max -- but good enough for tall abutilons and "Royal Robe" solanums). While I can get the smaller (10gal) sized, my hunch is larger (15) will perform best. --Think these might work okay?