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Norfolk Island Pine plant care guide

Want to turn your Christmas Norfolk Island Pine into a year round indoor plant? Here’s my complete Norfolk Island Pine plant care guide!

Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria Heterophylla trees are a super popular plant to buy at Christmas time. They look like mini Christmas trees and are often sold with little ornaments on the branches or Christmas colored pots and wrapping.

But, interestingly enough, these are actually tropical plants and not true pines!

Caring for a Norfolk Pine is more like caring for tropical plants than traditional living Christmas trees, which is why so many people end up killing them – they just don’t realize the plant’s needs?

norfolk island pine care guide

Norfolk Pine care guide

Norfolk Island Pine light requirements

These tropical plants like bright, indirect light. Keep them out of full sun, or they will get scorched!

Look for bright light such as in a south facing window. Don’t put them in a dark corner!

Can Norfolk pines take full sun?

No – don’t put these trees in bright, direct light. They will get burnt and crispy.

Norfolk Island Pine water requirements

Norfolk Island pine trees should be watered when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Water completely, until water drains out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, then discard any pooling water such as in a dish.

norfolk island pine in a wood planter

How often should a Norfolk Pine be watered?

I typically water my Norfolk pines once a week. But, more important than frequency is to water them when the soil is dry. Different light and temperatures will cause them to dry out at different rates!

Should I mist my Norfolk Island Pine?

These plants don’t need to be misted, but as tropical plants they do like a bit of extra humidity. Go ahead and mist them once a week, especially when air is dry in the winter!

norfolk island pine plant in a pot

Norfolk Island Pine temperature requirements

This is one of the biggest things that I see kill these plants! People want to put them outdoors for the holiday season.

Remember – these are tropical plants! They do not like temperatures below 65 degrees and will die if they go below 35 degrees at all.

Norfolk Island Pine potting + soil requirements

Norfolk pine trees like a potting soil that is porous and acidic. You can add peat moss to normal potting mix to make it more porous and more acidic.

How to fertilize a norfolk island pine

You can grow your plant without fertiziation, but fertilizing your norfolk island pine will help it to grow faster and more lush!

You can apply a liquid fertilizer in the growing season – spring and summer. This can help to strengthen their root systems and keep them more upright (they tend to get top heavy).

norfolk island pine in a wood planter

Norfolk Island Pine FAQs

Are Norfolk pines easy to care for?

Yes these plants are easy to care for – if you remember that they are tropical plants and treat them as such – lots of light and water!

How big will a Norfolk pine tree get?

These trees can grow more than 100 feet tall outdoors in their ideal environment – the California coast. Indoors, they typically grow to 3 to 8 feet tall.

Are Norfolk Island Pines fast growing?

No, these are very slow growing plants.

Can you keep a Norfolk Island Pine indoors?

Yes – Norfolk Island Pine trees do well inside most homes. Be sure to give them plenty of humidity and bright light!

norfolk island pine plant in a pot

Are Norfolk pine trees toxic?

These plants are mildly toxic to pets and humans. They aren’t likely to be deadly unless you ingest a TON, but it’s better to keep them up and away from curious mouths.

Can you put a Norfolk Pine outside?

Yes, these plants love to be outside and will grow much larger outdoors. Just bring them indoors once the overnight temperatures drop below 65 degrees.

Why is my Norfolk Pine turning brown?

It is normal for lower, older branches of the norfolk island pine to turn brown. Cut them off – they won’t turn green again.

If newer growth is turning brown, it usually means it needs water. Water more often and start misting it or increasing the humidity!

Read my complete guide on why is my norfolk pine drying out + turning brown?

crispy dried out norfolk pine

Why is my Norfolk pine dropping needles?

Dropping needles usually means too much water (over watering) or not enough sunlight!

How do you know when a Norfolk Pine needs water?

Insert your finger 2 knuckles deep into the plant’s soil. If it feels dry, water it!

Do Norfolk pines like coffee grounds?

Norfolk Island Pine trees like slightly acidic soil. So, adding coffee grounds to the soil – or watering with a bit of coffee – is a great way to achieve that acidity level!

How long do Norfolk pines live?

These plants can live 150 years outdoors! Treat them right indoors and you can pass them on to your grandchildren!

How do you bring a Norfolk Pine back to life?

The first step to bringing your Norfolk Pine back to life is identify the problem with it. Common problems are under watering, lack of humidity, getting too cold, or sunburn. Fix the problem!

Cut off any dead branches and treat it good – it should rebound!

Do Norfolk pines like to be root bound?

These plants have shallow root systems and can get top heavy. If they are getting root bound – they need a WAY bigger pot. Bigger heavy pots will help to weigh their trunks down and keep them more stable, too.

Can I cut back a Norfolk Pine?

Be careful topping off a Norfolk pine – sometimes they won’t grow any taller from the cut point, so you could be permanently stunting the growth!

Do Norfolk pines have deep roots?

No, these plants have shallow root systems. Combine this with them getting top heavy and they can be prone to fall over!

What kind of fertilizer does a Norfolk Pine need?

Apply a liquid fertilizer during spring and summer growth season!

Any more questions about Norfolk Island Pine care?

Thanks for reading!

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