Your Guide To: Norfolk Island Pine

Everything you need to know to care for this surprisingly tropical plant.

It doesn’t have to be the holidays to bring a tree into your home. With TLC, this handsome pine grows tall and strong, adding drama to your space. And if it’s not happy, it’ll let you know by dropping its needles.

How To Keep A Norfolk Island Pine Happy

Oddly enough, the Norfolk Island pine is not a true pine at all. It’s surprisingly a tropical species, native to a South Pacific island between New Zealand and New Caledonia. In the wild, it may grow up to 200 feet, though you can expect yours to top out at less than 6 feet.

How Much Lighting Does a Norfolk Island Pine Need?

Given its island heritage, your Norfolk Island pine needs a bright, sunny location. It will tolerate both direct and indirect rays, ideally from a western or southern exposure. If you need to move your Norfolk Island pine, take care to do it gradually; any abrupt shift in lighting can cause it to drop needles, which won’t regrow.

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How Do I know When To Water My Norfolk Island Pine?

Norfolk Island pine need steady hydration and humidity. Keep the soil consistently moist—do a regular touch-test of the soil to see if the top inch of soil is getting dry, and water if it is.

Using a watering can, pour in slow circles to wet the soil thoroughly and ensure water trickles down to every root. After you’re done, empty any extra water from the saucer (which is included with your pot).

How Do I Use Plant Food for My Norfolk Island Pine?

To keep your Norfolk Island pine in tiptop shape, you’ll want to feed it during its period of active growth. In spring and summer, use the recommended amount of plant food spikes (included with your delivery) each month. In fall and winter, you can feed it every other month.

What Is a Norfolk Island Pine's Ideal Environment?

A Norfolk Island pine needs a bit of TLC to thrive. It wants plenty of humidity, which you can supply with regular misting or by adding a small humidifier near the plant. While Norfolk Island pines don’t mind a cooler interior, they can’t tolerate temperatures below 55°F; never put yours outside in winter, and keep it away from any drafty spots inside.

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Help your Norfolk Island pine thrive with these essential supplies.

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Help your Norfolk Island pine thrive with these essential supplies.

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How Do I Prune and Maintain My Norfolk Island Pine?

You may see some branches at the bottom of your Norfolk Island pine browning and losing needles—this is normal. Simply snip them off at the trunk with a sharp pair of pruning shears. The base is where you want to be when trimming your Norfolk Island pine, they don’t branch like other plants and shouldn’t be pruned at the top.

Every week or two, turn your plant so it gets light evenly on all sides. A trivet simplifies this task, and ensures your surfaces won’t get scratched.

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How to Address Common Norfolk Island Pine Issues

Your Norfolk Island pine is an expressive fellow: If something’s wrong, you’ll see needles drop. Dry soil, dry air, a sudden temperature or light change—they can all stress the Norfolk.

Droopy branches indicate your plant needs more light. Over the course of a couple of weeks, gradually move it to a brighter location, or add fluorescent or grow lights to your space.

What to Do If You Still Have Questions

If your Norfolk Island pine has lost some of its jolly spirit, just let us know and we’ll help you figure out what’s going on. Chat live with a Greendigs representative on our website or send an email to [email protected].

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