Scientific Name: Araucaria heterophylla
Synonyms: Norfolk Island Pine
Although it goes by the name "Norfolk Island Pine," the tree actually belongs to the more ancient lineage of cone-bearing trees in the family Araucariaceae, such as the Monkey Puzzle Tree, and is not at all a pine. The Norfolk Island Pine, or Araucaria heterophylla, is a tropical plant, despite the fact that most cone-bearing trees like pines are better suited for cold climates. A peculiar indoor plant that is becoming more and more popular, not the least of which is the fact that it can serve as a living, reusable Christmas tree, Norfolk Island is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of New Zealand. This is where the Norfolk Island Pine first appeared and is a Native. In terms of botany, Norfolk Island is crucial because it is one of the few places on Earth where several fossil species are still around. There are over fifty plant species native to the island that are endemic, meaning they can be found nowhere else in nature. In other words, not only is this a fascinating indoor plant, but it also has a fascinating past.
The shapely textures and quiet "old world" vibes of your evergreen Norfolk Pine will be a welcome addition to any room, especially as they grow and become a delightful floor-standing specimen covered in festive adornments. As a tropical species, they do best in warm, humid environments with lots of light, heat, and protection from draughts. They have a low maintenance, low-stress lifestyle, making them perfect for first-time plant owners.
Norfolk Island Pine Common Symptoms:
- Yellowing foliage: The most common cause of yellowing leaves on your Norfolk Island Pine comes down to a nutrient deficiency. Feed your Norfolk Island Pine on a regular basis, approximately every second watering, with a well-balanced plant food such as Biotrissol. Checkout our guide to fertilization here.
- Wilted foliage and slow growth: This is a sign that root rot has settled in due to overwatering. As a tropical plant, Norfolk Island Pines like their soil evenly moist. However, excessively soggy soil can lead to overwatering. So be sure you allow your plant to reach a near state of dryness and that your planter is draining sufficiently. For more details on identifying Over vs Underwatering, read this.
- Limp and stretched branches: This is a sign that your Norfolk Island pine is not receiving enough light. They prefer a few hours of direct sunlight to thrive. Move your houseplant to a spot with more light to make it look better and keep it from reaching for the light. Also, be sure to rotate your plant regularly to encourage even growth.
- Crisp dry patches and needle drop: This is generally caused by a fungal infection. Make sure your plant gets plenty of air, and don't water the branches and leaves. If accidental watering does occur, encourage quick drying. Trim off any damaged leaves and discard them.
- Pests: Norfolk Island Pines don't usually get pests, but if you don't take care of your plant and keep it in good shape, it may get stressed. Stress will lead to pest infestations, causing excessive leaf discolouration and leaf drop. Mealybugs are the most common indoor plant pest that will attack your Norfolk Island Pine. If you don't treat them, they can weaken your plant quickly. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.
Norfolk Island Pine Care Instructions
- Origin: Norfolk Islands
- Height: 2.4 m indoors and up to 60 m outdoors in its native environment.
- Light: bright, filtered light for the majority of the day with 3–4 hours of direct sunlight.
- Water: Keep soil very evenly moist; avoid overly dry or overly soggy potting soil.
- Humidity: preferably 50% or higher. To raise the humidity for your plant , place it on a pebble tray or choose a location that is naturally higher in humidity, such as a very bright bathroom or kitchen.
- Temperature: Norfolk Island pines like warm environments between 17°C and 27 °C.
- Soil: They prefer an acid mix, thus a peat-based soil is ideal. But for the best results, they can live in potting soil that drains well and keeps some moisture.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize every two weeks from Spring to Autumn with a half dilution of a balanced liquid fertilizer.
- Repotting: As slow growers, they prefer to be repotted every 2–4 years. It is best to re-pot your Norfolk Island pine in the spring when new growth appears. Choose a planter that is no more than 5 cm bigger than the last one. These pines like to have their roots a little bit crowded.
- Propagation: These pines are propagated via seed.
If in stock, shop Norfolk Island Pine here.