Norfolk Island Pine Plant: A Guide to Growing, and Care

5 Min Read

Norfolk Island Pine plants are widely utilized as that cute little houseplant Christmas trees that you can buy around the holidays, but the holidays come and go, leaving you with a seasonally dated, live plant.

Australian pine, an easy-care houseplant, is a cheerful Christmas plant you can enjoy all year! Australian pine is a houseplant that is commonly found around the holidays. These plants make great houseplants.

Small, young Norfolk Island pines look great on mantles, tabletops, and tables. As this long-lived houseplant matures, it may be used as a floor plant, filling bright nooks, flanking furniture, or standing alone as a stunning focal piece.

Norfolk Island Pine 

Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is a cousin of the monkey puzzle tree that is widely cultivated as a landscape tree in subtropical climates in North America (USDA zones 10 to 11) and grown indoors abroad.

It features a very straight stem and symmetrical branches covered with short, inward-curving needles. In other parts of world, the slow-growing Norfolk Island pine is planted as a live Christmas tree, adorned with ribbons or ornaments.

Australian pine grows slowly and can reach a height of 160-210 ft. with straight vertical trunks and symmetrical branches. On young trees, the leaves are soft and awl-shaped, 1-1.5 cm long and around 1 mm thick at the base.

Norfolk Pine is the few conifers that can adapt to indoor and tolerate low light levels. The tree is generally discarded after the Christmas season, but it simply be kept as a permanent foliage plant indoors when the weather warms up in the spring.

Plant Overview

  • Common Name: Norfolk pine, Norfolk Island pine, Australian pine
  • Botanical Name: Araucaria heterophylla
  • Family: Araucariaceae
  • Plant Type: Needled evergreen conifer
  • Mature Size: Up to 200 ft. tall in the wild; 3 to 8 ft. tall indoors
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun; can tolerate shade
  • Soil Type: Sandy, peaty soil; peat-based potting mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5-5.5 (acidic)
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Stem Color: Brown/Copper
  • Fruit Color: Brown/Copper, Green
  • Hardiness Zones: 10-11 USDA
  • Native Area: Norfolk Island in the Pacific
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic to cats and dogs

How To Grow Norfolk Island Pine

With its widely spread branches and symmetrical, triangular form, Norfolk Island pine becomes a popular cultivated species. The form of the tree may grow symmetrical as it matures. It grows nicely in deep sand if given consistent water when young.

Australian pine is widely planted as an ornamental tree due to its exotic, elegant look and rather broad climatic tolerance. This, along with its resistance to salt and wind, makes it ideal for coastal areas.

Indoors, the plant needs a bright, cold environment to grow. Indoor trees should not be exposed to direct sunlight, and the temperature should not exceed 64 °F. In the winter, the plant requires a bright room with temperatures around 41 and 50 °F.


Australian pines houseplants as becomes mature, the lowest branches will turn brown and die. This is a normal process, and the lowest dead branches may be removed using a pair of garden snips or pruners.

Remove any lower branches that have perished, which is a common problem with indoor plants. It is not typically advised to prune the tree’s top, but if a potted tree becomes too huge for its container, chop off the central leader.

This causes the tree to branch out from that point, and while the plant will lose its classic evergreen look, such cutting normally has little effect on the tree’s health. Remove dead and diseased branches from outside trees, but no extra routine pruning is needed.

Potting and Repotting

A Norfolk pine in a pot only has to be repotted if it is root-bound or when the roots begin to emerge from the drainage hole. Because young Norfolk Island pines do not grow quickly, they can to repot tree other year instead of each year. The plant will begin to grow quicker as it grown.

Repot Australian pine in the spring, and if plant has grown to a larger size, use a pot made of any material that has plenty of heavy items, such as potting sand, to offer enough weight to maintain the plant upright. It thrives in a peaty, sandy, slightly acidic potting mix.

Norfolk Island Pine Care

Norfolk pines may thrive both indoors and outdoors. They prefer specific growing conditions; they are adaptable and may grow in various situations. Plant this tree in a full sun area in fairly wet, porous, and sandy soil.

When growing an indoor plant, use a porous, sandy, and slightly acidic potting mix. A standard potting mix’s acidity and porosity can be improved by adding peat moss and sand. Keep the soil wet but not soggy, and give more light to the plant.

The Australian pine is a gymnosperm, which means that it has both male and female reproductive parts in a single plant. Norfolk Island pines are grown from seeds imported from the Pacific area.

Soil and Fertilizer

These are acidic plants. A peat-based potting mixture is ideal for indoor plants since it gradually acidifies as the peat decays. When planted in the garden, this tree loves sandy but rich soil that has been treated with peat.

Feed Norfolk pine using a mild liquid fertilizer in the growth season, but avoid feeding at times of low light. Norfolk Island pines are known for their weak root systems. To develop their roots, provide regular fertilizer and don’t be afraid to stake tree if it requires it.

Light and Water

Norfolk pines enjoy full sun whenever feasible, but they may also endure long periods of shade. As a result, keep a potted plant home in the winter and then move it to a bright place outside in summer. It’s a good idea to flip it often so that every side gets equal light.

Australian pines are drought and salt resistant, so they’re forgiving when it comes to water. It is best to allow the soil to dry slightly between watering. If it’s an indoor plant, this means watering it once every one to two weeks.

Temperature and Humidity

Australian pine enjoy warmer, wetter climates between 65 and 70 degree F. They can survive lower and warmer temperatures for a short time, but they will die if temperatures fall below 35 degree F.

Mists the plant with a spray bottle or set it over a saucer of water to assist maintain humidity for indoor plants. This plant tolerates dry indoor air better than other subtropical plants.

Pests and Diseases

Pests that affect Norfolk Island Pines include aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites, and whiteflies. If possible, identify the infestation early and treat it with the least toxic option.

Overwatering can also induce a fungal disease, such as anthracnose, which can turn whole areas of the tree yellow, brown, and ultimately kill the plant. This tree is pest-free in general, however it is sensitive to scale, sooty mold, and leaf spot.

Hope you enjoyed reading the Planting guide of Norfolk Island Pines. If you think we missed something or have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments section below.

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