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Why is my norfolk pine drying out + turning brown?

Why is my norfolk pine drying out and dying!? Here are the most common problems and some solution ideas!

Norfolk Island Pine plants are a popular plant to buy as a living Christmas tree. But, they are actually tropical plants that can be kept year round.

These plants have high needs – specifically needing lots of bright indirect light, frequent watering, and high humidity. They are native to an island in the South Pacific and need similar conditions.

Be sure to check out my norfolk island pine plant care guide!

Why is my norfolk pine drying out + turning brown

Why is my norfolk pine drying out + turning brown?

The main cause for a norfolk pine to dry out and turn brown is that it is not getting enough moisture. This could mean two things.


First of all, the plant may need to be watered more deeply or frequently. I like to place my plant in a sink (or outdoors) and water until water comes out of the drainage holes. Dump any water in a drip tray if there is any.

crispy dried out norfolk pine


Norfolk Island Pine trees need a high level of humidity to thrive. If they are getting brow tips or dry brittle leaves, it could be due to lack of humidity consider:

  • misting the plant regularly
  • placing it on a pebble tray with water
  • running a humidifier
  • grouping it with other plants to create a more humid jungle environment

Why is my Norfolk pine white and crispy?

If a big section of your Norfolk pine is suddenly bleached looking – white and crispy – that is most likely sunburn. Move it out of direct sun and into a more shaded spot.

crispy dried out norfolk pine

Can you save a dry Norfolk pine?

If your plant is completely dried out and brown, it is probably dead. However, if there is any green left on it, it is worth trying to revive it!

How do you revive a Norfolk pine?

  1. Use scissors to cut off any brown branches. They will NOT turn green again and you want to focus growth on branches that stand a chance.
  2. Figure out what was wrong with your plant – most likely it has to do with watering or humidity.
  3. Adjust your watering schedule, or misting to attempt to make the plant happier moving forward.

Happy Norfolk Island pines like:

  • Bright indirect light
  • Water when the top inch of soil feels dry
  • Mist regularly
  • Temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees without cold drafts

Any more questions about your brown Norfolk Island pine?

Thanks for reading!

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