How to Grow: Norfolk Island Pine


Sun Requirements
Norfolk Island pines (Araucalia heterophylla) grow best in bright light indoors, but out of direct sunlight. Rotate plants every week so they don’t start leaning towards the light in your room.

Bloom Period and Plant Shape
Norfolk Island pines are grown for their evergreen branches and their classic, pyramidal, pine tree shape. Even though they aren’t technically pines, they lend a nice evergreen appearance to the home.

Mature Height x Spread
In their origins, on a small island close to New Zealand, they can be large trees  growing more than 100 feet tall. Indoors they can be kept under 10 feet tall by growing them in smaller pots.

Planting Tips
Plant Norfolk Island pines in pots filled with moistened potting soil that’s high in organic matter such as compost and bark mulch. Norfolk island pines like a well-drained soil and high organic matter.

Growing Tips
Norfolk Island pines are often grown indoors as alternatives to holiday trees. Because of the pine-like structure and evergreen quality they actually make nice trees for decorating with lights and ornaments. Year round Norfolk island pines are great houseplants. Water when the soil is dry to the touch, but don’t let the roots sit in soggy soil. Let the soil dry out between waterings. In winter in cold areas, increase the humidity around the Norfolk Island pine by placing a pebble tray filled with water under the plant and by misting. Brown needles are usually a sign of too low humidity.

Fertilize in spring as the new light green growth emerges, and every 6 weeks thereafter, with a houseplant fertilizer.

Prune trees only to remove dead branches or cut back side branches that are growing too wide. Pruning the top of the tree to reduce its size will result in a deformed tree.

Repot the tree as needed when the roots start growing out of the pot’s drainage holes.

Design Tips:
Grow Norfolk Island pines in a large dining or living room with high ceilings and room to grow. They can be a centerpiece in the room with their attractive green needles.

The only type of Norfolk island Pine available to grow as a houseplant is the traditional species version.