Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island pine

Norfolk Island pine is a tropical evergreen tree that is adaptable to indoor conditions and is a favorite of many indoor plant enthusiasts, though not one considered for beginners. Small trees grown indoors are uniform in appearance and have branches that are parallel to the ground. The Norfolk Island pine is a long-lasting houseplant that grows three to six inches annually.

Norfolk Island pines grow well in indirect sunlight. During the warm months of the year, you can move them outdoors and place them in partial sunlight. However, after being outdoors, placement in low-lighted areas of your home may result in whole branches suddenly falling from your plant. To avoid this problem, allow your pine to become accustomed to low-light conditions outdoors four to five weeks prior to bringing it back inside. Night-time temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and day-time temperatures of 68 to 72 degrees are best for Norfolk Island pines, but they can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 degrees and as high as 85 degrees.

Norfolk Island pines do not require as much water as other common houseplants. In fact, they do not tolerate saturated soil. When the top inch of soil is dry, apply enough water to allow some to drain out of the bottom of the container, then discard the excess water. The greatest challenge in caring for a Norfolk Island pine is providing consistent humidity of 50%, particularly in our dry Colorado climate. These plants often dry out quickly due to Colorado’s low humidity, so this should be a consideration prior to purchase.

Norfolk Island pines don't require frequent fertilization. You can use any complete, soluble fertilizer, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Fertilize older plants every three to four months, and repotted or newly purchased plants every four to six months. Norfolk Island pines need only be repotted every three to four years using a commercially available potting mixture.

Tell us what you think!

Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!

Updated Tuesday, October 13, 2015