Norfolk pine – a tropical tree

Tue. Dec. 1, 2020

Click on the link below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Norfolk pine – a tropical tree

This is a very different Christmas for me. While perhaps not quite as festive, I found the perfect tree for my home. It’s the Norfolk Pine.

This MIGHT be my tree for 2020!

I know many of you have seen this houseplant but maybe don’t know where it actually comes from and the fact that it’s not a pine at all! Native to Norfolk Island, a small island between New Zealand and New Caledonia,can grow in it’s natural habitat to nearly 200 ft.!

Norfolk Island Pine – natural habitat

Here, in our northern climes, the Norfolk Pine has been used as a houseplant for decades. Most typically they’re given or purchased as a holiday plant and often tossed after the holidays.

But there’s reason not to let them go! With a little TLC, they can grow happily in your home for years to come. I had one that was a gift to my brother years ago. When he passed away, I took it home and it grew to 5 ft tall. Sadly I wasn’t able to keep it after moving but now I’ve got another!

My 2020 tree! Ornaments of my mom’s over 45 years ago, handmade angel and my mom in the middle!

Growing Norfolk Pine as a houseplant:

  • The soil should be well draining since their natural habitat is sandy, rocky shores.
  • Give them as much light as possible. I have mine in a west facing window, it’s the best I have for now.
  • Don’t give them any fertilizer in winter, these plants are in a “rest period”.
  • Always check the soil by hand before watering your plant. Let the soil dry slightly about an inch deep, and then water thoroughly, until water runs out the container’s drainage holes.
  • Give the pot a quarter turn every time you water to encourage even growth and symmetry.
  • If your home’s humidity runs below 50 percent, (which it does for us in the winter, your plant will appreciate a boost.
  • Mist it regularly using a spray bottle, or place a pebble-filled saucer beneath it. Add water to the saucer, but keep the water level below the top of the pebbles, so the bottom of the pot stays dry. A home humidifier works well, too.

More on the Norfolk Pine in it’s natural habitat.