A Podocarpus plant, also called a Buddhist Pine or Japanese Yew, is a very dense, upright, slow growing evergreen that originally came from China and Japan. It has long slender dark green leathery leaves. A Podocarpus plant grows straight up with very little side branching unless it is actively pruned. This plant is relatively simple to care for and adapts well to various conditions. It is easily trained to be a bonsai or a topiary. These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants. When planted outside in the ground a Podocarpus plant grows quite large, but when used indoors or on the porch as a potted plant, it remains a small tree or shrub.
First stake the main vertical stem of your Podocarpus; next prune back the new growth on the vertical stem. Cutting off the new growth encourages side branches. Your Podocarpus will become sturdier and bushier in no time.
The main reason a Podocarpus gets brown tips is from over-watering. Cold drafts and very dry air can also cause brown tips.
The Black Dust is called sooty mold. sooty molds are a form of fungi that grow on the sugary honeydew secreted by Aphids, scales, the whitefly, and other insects that suck the sap from plants. sooty mold is an unsightly black powder that can quickly coat the leaves of a plant in just a few weeks. The fungus itself doesn’t really harm the plant; it just ruins the plant’s appearance. What you need to do is get rid of the insects that are secreting the honeydew that is attracting the sooty mold.