These large, gentle green trees do well with bright, indirect light and high humidity. An unusual houseplant, Norfolk Island Pine is not a true pine, but has an upright, evergreen form. These plants typically come 3 or so in a 10″ diameter container. The soft, symmetrical needles curve slightly downwards, and grow from the container lid to the top of the plant. Norfolk Island Pines do not take well to being transplanted, and are typically grown as several plants in the same container. The green foliage goes well in sitting rooms or other locations with foot traffic because of their soft texture. Norfolk Island Pines are an excellent, low maintenance houseplant.
Growing Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 8′ – 10′
Mature Width: 30″-36″
Classification: Green Foliage
Sunlight: Fluorescent to bright indirect
Habit: Upright, tree-like
Flower Color: Does not flower
Foliage: Green, needle-like
Soil Condition: Likes to dry out some between watering
Water Require: If unsure, do not water
Uses: Attractive plant to be featured or in the background of any room in the house, does well with minimal care
Does Not Ship To: AK, AZ, CA, HI, OR, WA
Norfolk Island Pines do well in bright, indirect light with high humidity. They can handle some direct light, but prefer shadier spots. Norfolk Island Pine likes high humidity, and would like to be located near a humidifier or pebble tray that would locally increase humidity. Norfolk Island Pines like to dry out a little between watering. The plant will start to turn brown if it’s not receiving enough humidity or it has been over or under watered.
Light Requirement of Norfolk Island Pine:
We suggest planting your newly purchased Norfolk Island Pine into a container 2″-4″ wider in diameter, and 3″-5″ deeper than the container it is in currently. Use a well draining potting mix, and be sure to disturb the roots when transplanting. We recommend adding a slow release fertilizer to the new potting mix. The most common cause of plant death after transplanting is planting the new plant to deep. That is why we do not recommend planting in a container any deeper than the soil line of the plant in the pot. A good rule is that you should still be able to see the soil the plant was grown in after back-filling the container. Keep in mind that this new potting mix will retain more moisture than the previous container, so watering in the beginning should be less frequent.
Watering Norfolk Island Pine:
The Norfolk Island Pine should be watered relatively infrequently, as the plants like to dry out some between watering. The easiest way to tell if a plant needs to be watered is by the weight of the container. If the container is very heavy and the foliage is upright, chances are good the plant doesn’t need water, whereas a light container and limp foliage means the plant needs some water. Sometimes, water pours out of the container without being retained by the soil. Soaking the dry soil in a small dish or saucer can be a useful way to solve this problem. It is important not to water the foliage of these plants, or to over-water them as this will lead to leaf damage or plant death. If you’re unsure, it is always better to let the plant go dry instead of drenching it with water. Moisture meters are another easy way to tell if plants need to be watered, and usually come with a guide to indicate what number or level of moisture different plants require.
Fertilizing Norfolk Island Pine:
Indoor houseplant fertilizers fall into two groups: water soluble, liquid quick release, and granular, slow release fertilizers. Jack’s Classic Indoor plant food works well as a powder, quick release fertilizer that is mixed with water to quickly provide nutrients to a plant that has been in a container for an extended time. On the other hand, Biotone Starter or Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor is an option as a granular, slow release fertilizer that can be applied while potting and planting. Any type of fertilizer offers nutrients that help plants with the transition to a new environment.
Best Growing Soil for Norfolk Island Pine:
The best soil for houseplants is a well balanced mix of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite that dries some between watering but takes a long time to compact. Typically, any reputable potting mix will work well and includes those ingredients. Adding a granular, slow release fertilizer while planting is a good way to help the plant thrive in the transplanting transition.
History and introduction of Norfolk Island Pine:
Native to Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia, Norfolk Island Pine grows up to 200 feet on basalt cliffs. Originally discovered on Captain Cooks second voyage in the 1770s, it was cultivated started in 1793. It is now commonly found in subtropical, coastal regions. It has upward facing branches, and all of the branches come from a strong central trunk. The plant is most easily propagated by either viable seeds or by terminal cuttings. The trees are more symmetrical when started from terminal cuttings opposed to seeds.
Araucaria heterophylla is the Latin name for Norfolk Island Pine. Araucaria comes from the Auracarian Indians in Chile, where araucaria can be found. Heterophylla means variously leaved.