Torreya: tips for planting and grooming outdoors

Table of contents:

Torreya: tips for planting and grooming outdoors
Torreya: tips for planting and grooming outdoors

The characteristic differences of the torrey plant, how to plant and care in a personal plot, breeding methods, possible difficulties when leaving in the garden, interesting notes, types.

Torreya (Torreya) botanists referred to plants belonging to the family Yew (Taxaceae), characterized by evergreen needles. According to The Plant List from 2013, the genus includes six widows, of which three naturally grow in the East Asian lands, and the rest can be found on the North American continent.

Family name Yew
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Tree-like
Breeds Seeds, shoots or cuttings
Open ground transplant terms In the spring
Landing rules In group planting, seedlings are placed at a distance of 0, 6-2, 5 m, for large species - 3-4 m
Priming Calcareous and loamy, well-drained
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level Semi-shaded place, sheltered from the wind
Humidity level Regular watering, in dry times
Special care rules Shelter of young plants for the winter and protection from the bright spring sun, fertilization
Height options 5–20 m
Flowering period April May
Type of inflorescences or flowers Male and female cones
Flower color Brown
Fruit type Seeds
The timing of fruit ripening For the second year in October
Decorative period Year-round
Application in landscape design Group planting or as tapeworm, hedge formation
USDA zone 4 and up

The genus has its scientific name thanks to American botanist John Torii (1796–1873), who was also involved in chemistry, medicine and plant research in the United States. Also, this scientist was the first who professionally engaged in botany in the New World. The description was given to the plant by the Scottish botanist George Arnott Arnott (1799-1868), in a work entitled Annals of Natural History 1: 130-132, published in 1838. Arnott decided to immortalize the name of a famous colleague, highlighting his contribution to the study of the flora of the United States.

All torreys are evergreen representatives of the flora and have a tree-like vegetation, but their size can be small or medium. The height that these plants reach varies within 5–20 m, but some specimens can reach up to 25 meters. The foliage (which is the needles) has a linear outline. The length of the needle is 2–8 cm and the width is only 3–4 mm. The needles are tough to the touch, with a pointed tip. The color of the coniferous mass is dark green, but on the back this shade is lighter. Also on the back of the needles there is a pair of stomatal grooves, which can be distinguished by a whitish color. A resin canal is present on the back of the vascular bundle.

Most torreys are monoecious, that is, only female or male cones are formed on one specimen, but dioecious species are also found when cones of different sexes grow on a tree. Male cones usually grow on the back of a branch in rows. Their length reaches 5–8 mm. Female cones are located in clusters of 1-4 pairs, or they can be located singly. They originate in the sinuses, have an ellipsoidal or short-columnar shape.

After pollination occurs (and this falls on April-May), seeds begin to form in the female torrei cones. They ripen for quite a long time, about 18–20 months from pollination, that is, in October next year. The length of the seed is 2–4 cm. It is covered with a dusky membrane.There are such species, for example, nut torrey, the seeds of which can be used for food.


All parts of the plant (needles or seeds), if rubbed, emit a rather pungent and unpleasant odor.

Since the plant is dicotyledonous, it has a pair of cotyledons. The care of the torrey is quite simple, but in our gardens this representative of the flora is still not very often seen. Consider the agricultural technology of cultivation and reproduction, as well as other interesting facts related to it.

How to plant and care for a torrey outdoors?

Torrey at the site
  1. Landing place this coniferous plant must be protected from direct sunlight. Torrei are characterized by shade tolerance, but require protection from gusts of wind and drafts. You should not plant in lowlands, where moisture from precipitation or melting snow can accumulate, otherwise it will lead to the development of fungal diseases. This ephedra does not tolerate dry air, therefore it is recommended to periodically sprinkle the crown.
  2. Soil for torrey it's easy to choose. This is because all cultivated species can grow well on loams and limestone soil, which do not differ in a large amount of minerals. But this is possible only if the plant is provided with abundant watering with slightly warmed water during the drought period and when the crown is sprayed every day. It is not uncommon for gardeners to mix their own soil mixture so that the plant shows the best growth. This composition contains sod soil, peat chips and coarse river sand in a ratio of 3: 2: 2.
  3. Landing torrei. The best time for this will be spring, when the soil thaws and warms up a little, so it will be easier for the seedlings to take root. It was revealed that even in adulthood, transplantation with such an ephedra is tolerated quite successfully. When planting in groups between seedlings, it is recommended to leave about 60–250 cm. If large-sized specimens are planned to be grown, then the distance for them is approximately 3–4 m. the depth of which will be equal to half a meter. You can lay a layer of drainage material at the bottom of the pit or trench, which will protect the root system from waterlogging. When installing a torreya seedling in a pit, make sure that its root collar is at the same level as before. After that, all the voids in the recess are filled with soil mixture, which is carefully squeezed out, and watering is carried out. Before that, you can form a side in the near-stem circle so that the water rolls down to the plant's trunk, and does not spread over the soil surface.
  4. Watering when growing torrei should be moderate. Especially it will be necessary to monitor the condition of the soil in the near-trunk circle during dry and hot periods. If the soil is too dry, then this will immediately affect the decorativeness of the ephedra. On hot summer days, the soil under the torrey is moistened 1-2 times a month, so that each specimen has 11-12 liters of water. Sprinkling of the crown is performed once every 14 days. If the plant is still young, then in the early years it is recommended to regularly loosen the substrate in the near-stem circle, to a depth of no more than 10-15 m.
  5. Fertilizers when growing torrey on a personal plot, you will need to make it once in the spring and summer. For this, complex mineral preparations are used that are suitable for conifers, for example, Aquarin or Agricola, Bona Forte and Florovit have proven themselves well in this. When transplanting torreya to a new place in the garden, drugs are also used to promote adaptation and early rooting. They can be Epin and Kornevin. Once a month, the plant crown is sprayed with Ferravit.
  6. Wintering. Shelter will need to be organized for young specimens of torrei. To do this, they are sprinkled with a peat layer, 5-7 cm thick.From the too bright spring sun, it is recommended to throw spruce branches over the "young" so that the needles do not suffer.
  7. Pruning when growing, torrey is carried out as necessary, for sanitary purposes and to give the crown an attractive shape. So with the arrival of spring, you need to cut off branches that have broken during the winter period, damaged by diseases or frost. You should also get rid of shoots growing in the middle of the crown. Cutting, like pruning, the plant is well tolerated.
  8. The use of torreya in landscape design. If there is a desire to create an atmosphere of a mountainous area on the site, then this plant will come in handy. But at the same time, it is recommended to plant nearby the same representatives of the flora (not only conifers), similar to the forests of North America or Asia, for example, hanging pseudotsuga (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or Menzies pseudo-life, sequoia (Sequoia), beeches (Fagus) and plane trees (Platanus) … This coniferous tree will perfectly serve as a decoration of a personal plot as a tapeworm in the middle of a gakhon or when organizing group plantings. It is also possible to form beautiful hedges with conifers.

Read also how to plant and care when growing yew outdoors.

Torrey breeding methods

Torrey in the ground

To grow such a coniferous plant on the site, you can sow seeds, root cuttings or shoots.

Reproduction of torreya using seeds

This method is the most difficult and time consuming. This is because the seeds are in the buds and need to be removed and washed. Then it will be necessary to carry out scarification - damage to the hard shell of the seed. To do this, they are wiped with sandpaper, but the main thing here is not to damage the embryo.

But since the embryos of torreya seeds are not immediately ready for germination, it is required to “awaken” them. This process stretches from six months to 7 months and consists of two stages:

  • Stage I includes an exposure for 2-3 months of torrey seed material at a heat of 25 degrees.
  • Stage II is the stratification (exposure at a temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius) of seeds for 4 months.

Then the prepared seeds are sown, while ensuring thorough care. For sowing, a peat-sand mixture is used. For germination, soil moisture should be maintained moderate, without drops, the same applies to temperature indicators. When torrei steams appear, they need to provide good lighting with protection from direct sunlight.

And when the seedlings appear, then grow them indoors for another couple of years, until the seedlings are ready for planting in open ground, but this is not the end. The planting of torreya seedlings is carried out in a school (a bed for growing in the garden) and when at least 3-5 years have passed, it will be possible to plant young plants in a permanent place of growth.

Reproduction of torreya by cuttings

This method gives results more quickly. Semi-lignified blanks should be cut from the plant in spring, cut from the lateral shoots, the length of which will not exceed 15–20 cm. The sections must be treated with a growth stimulator (for example, Kornevin or heteroauxinic acid) and all cuttings should be planted in containers filled with a peat-sand mixture. A plastic bottle is placed on top to get conditions close to greenhouse ones. Rooting temperature should be about 20-23 degrees. When rooting, it is recommended to water regularly (so that the soil always remains in a slightly moist state) and ventilate every day, removing the shelter for 10-15 minutes. When the cuttings take root, they can be transplanted with the arrival of spring to a prepared place in the garden.

Reproduction of torreya by shoots

Over time, young shoots appear next to the mother plant, which have a full-fledged root system. During the spring-summer period, such a process can be separated and transplanted according to the rules of primary planting in the selected area.This method is the simplest, since the processes recover well after the operation and start growing.

Some gardeners are grafting torreya cuttings to the berry yew, which serves as a stock.

Possible difficulties when caring for torrey in the garden

Torrei branch

You can please gardeners with the fact that this plant is practically not affected by diseases or pests. However, with frequent violations of the rules of care, the following troubles may occur:

  • improper planting in the open sun leads to shedding of the needles;
  • torrrey is constantly under the influence of a draft, then the coniferous mass will turn yellow and crumble;
  • watering is too abundant and leads to acidification of the soil, which stimulates decay of the root system or damage by fungal diseases.

If it is noticed that the needles have begun to turn yellow and fly around, it is urgently necessary to find out what the problem is and take measures to eliminate it. If the watering is excessive and the soil is humid, then you should limit them and wait until the torreya recovers. In case of infection with fungal diseases, treatment with fungicidal preparations, such as Fundazol or Bordeaux liquid, is recommended.

If the plant has become a victim of harmful insects that can infect coniferous plantings (for example, spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs, sawflies or pine bugs), then you need to immediately treat the plantings of torrei with insecticidal agents, such as Aktara or Actellic. In this case, it is recommended to repeat the treatment after 7-10 days in order to remove harmful insects that have just hatched and egg clutches.

Read also about the fight against possible diseases and pests of the fat woman

Interesting notes about torrey

Torrey is growing

If we talk about the use of the plant, then most of all it concerns the species of torreya nutritive (Torreya nucifera). But not only its fruits are used for food, wood is also famous for its pleasant yellowish-golden color scheme, beautiful texture and also sound qualities. It is these characteristics that influenced the use of this material in the manufacture of boards, which are so necessary for playing go and shogi. During the game, when the player places stones on the torrei board, a characteristic sound is heard in the form of a click. It is important to note that living wood is not suitable for this, you need to wait until the tree itself dies. It is this quality that increases the cost of such boards. To find a replacement for such a valuable material, it is often replaced with spruce wood, which leads to a significant reduction in cost.

If we talk about the territory of Japan, then there Torrey is protected by law. This is because the plant has become quite rare due to significant logging in the past. This is because, due to the beautiful color of the wood, the plant was used to make furniture and boxes, in handicraft work.

The seeds are not only edible, but they serve as raw materials for obtaining oil by pressing. The taste of the seeds is somewhat similar to hazel or pine nuts. Torreya bears fruit once every two years, but at the same time, up to 25–35 kg of seeds can be obtained from one tree. In order to use the seeds for food, they are peeled from the hard shell and fried in a pan, where a fraction of oil is poured with a pinch of salt. Such a product is characterized by calorie content and excellent taste.

Types of torreya

In the photo Torrey nut-bearing

Torreya nucifera

The most common species, whose native range includes the southern Japanese regions, can grow on Jeju Island in South Korea. In Japanese, the plant is called "kaya". It has a woody vegetation, but a very slow growth rate. The height can be measured in the range of 15–25 m, while the trunk diameter will be approximately 0.9–1.5 m. The bark is grayish brown or light brownish red, smooth at a young age, but gradually cracked and peeling in thin stripes. The axis of leaf twigs (needles) is green and lobster at the 1st year of life, green or reddish-brown, shiny at the 2nd or 3rd year.

In needles of torreya nut-bearing, the arrangement is 2-row. The outlines of the needles are linear, the needles are straight or slightly curved, their size can vary within 2-3 cm x 2, 2-3 mm. The needles are rigid, pale green on the back, there are also two stomatal stripes, pale yellow, narrow, the apex is very long, pointed. Since the plant is monoecious, only male or female cones are formed on each specimen. Male cones are characterized by a round shape, their diameter does not go beyond 5-6 mm. Their arrangement goes in two rows along the underside of the branch.

Female cones of torreya nutritive are collected in groups of 3-8 units. Seeds that ripen after pollination in female cones are dark green at a young age, purple-brown when ripe. The shape of the seeds is ellipsoid-ovoid or ovoid. Their size is 2, 5-3, 2x1, 3-1, 7 cm. Pollination falls in April-May, ripening occurs in October, that is, 18-20 months after pollination.

Although other species in the middle lane are rare and are mainly cultivated in botanical gardens or arboretums, I would like to note those that may be of interest to gardeners:

In the photo, Californian Torrey

Californian torreya (Torreya californica)

often found under the name Torreya nutmeg. In nature, it prefers to grow on the mountain slopes of the Sierra Nevada, at an absolute altitude of 1800 m. Occasionally it is possible to meet this plant in river valleys. A view was brought to the territory of Europe (introduced) in the twentieth century. It grows on the South Coast (in the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, Artek), sometimes it is found on the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea.

The Californian torrey has a tree-like vegetation. The height to which the stems stretch does not go beyond 10–15 m (some specimens reach 35 m). The diameter of the trunk is 1–1, 2 m. Sometimes the plant takes the form of a bush. The crown takes on a pyramidal shape at first, but over time it becomes rounded. It is formed by growing outstretched branches, with slightly drooping tops. Shoot bark is grayish brown.

The needles are arranged almost in two rows. Their length can be measured 3–6 cm, with a width of only 3–3, 5 mm. The needles have a gradually sharpening tip, its tip is prickly. The needles of the Californian torrey are hard to the touch; there are thin stomatal grooves on the underside. Seeds in female cones measure 2-4 cm in length. Their color is pale green with crimson spots. The shape of the seeds is ovoid-rounded. Wood, seeds and conifers have a pungent odor.

In the photo, Torrey is large

Large torreya (Torreya grandis)

represents a tree up to 25 m in height with a trunk up to 0.5 (-2) m. The bark is light yellowish gray, dark gray or grayish brown with irregular vertical cracks. Leaf branches are oblong-obovate, their size is 4-7x2, 5-4 cm. The axis is green in the 1st year, then yellowish-green, light brownish-yellow or pale brown. The needles are located at an angle of (50-) 60-90 degrees to the axis of the branch; petiole 0.5–1 mm. The color of the needles is bright green and glossy, the shape is linear-lanceolate, usually straight. The size of the needles is (0, 7-) 1, 1–2, 5 (-4, 5) cm x 2–3, 5 mm. In this case, the needles are without noticeable grooves, the middle is indistinct. Stomatal stripes (0.2–) 0.3–0.4 mm wide, marginal stripes 0.5–0.7 mm wide. The base of the needles is blunt or broadly rounded, more or less symmetrical, the tip is symmetrically narrowed.

The female cones of the large cone torreya are columnar, about 8 mm long; bracts markedly pointed. The color is pale purple-brown and white, the apex is bluntly rounded or rounded. The seeds are ellipsoid-ovate, elongated-ellipsoidal, oval or oval-conical. The size of the seeds is 2–4, 5 x 1, 2–2, 5 cm. Pollination occurs in April, the seeds ripen in September – November of the second year.

Under natural conditions, torreya large grows in mountainous areas, open valleys, often near streams, on yellow, red and dark soils. Growth height 200-1400 m above sea level.Mainly found in China in Anhui, N. Fujian, N. Guizhou, V. Hunan, S. Jiangsu, N. Jiangxi, Zhejiang. Wood is used in the construction of buildings, bridges and furniture. The seed, known as xiangfei, is edible and also provides edible oil; an essential oil called torrey oil.

In the photo, Torrey is a yew-leaved

Torreya taxifolia

has a natural distribution in the state of Florida (USA) in its north-western regions, where there are cliffs of mountains from limestone rocks. The plant was brought to Europe in 1838, but at the same time it is rather rare in gardens. For example, the Botanical Garden of the city of Batumi owns one specimen that does not bear seeds.

It has a tree-like shape and a pyramidal crown. The height is in the range of 12–15 m, the trunk diameter reaches 0.6 m. The bark is irregularly fractured and covered with scales. Its color is brown with an orange undertone. The needles resemble yew needles in their shape and have a dark green color scheme. But unlike the yew, the size of the needles of the yew-leaved torreya is larger, their length can reach 3-4 cm. The shape of the seeds is broadly ellipsoid or obovate, the surface is painted in a dark crimson tone. If you rub pine needles or seeds in your fingers, then a pungent smell spreads.

Related article: Recommendations for planting and caring for thuja in open ground

Torrey video:

Photos of torrey:

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