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How Much Water Does A Norfolk Island Pine Need?

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No matter where you live, Norfolk Island Pines always reappear in home and garden stores around the holidays. But if you purchase one for your home or landscaping, the key to making it last well past the holiday season is watering it. But how much water does a Norfolk Island Pine need? We've done the research to bring you the answer.

In general, Norfolk Island Pines don't need a lot of water. In pots, you can water them once every 1 to 2 weeks as long as the top 2 inches of soil are dry. If they're planted in the ground, you should only water them during periods of drought.

Watering a Norfolk Island Pine shouldn't be a puzzle. As long as you know the proper way to water it and how frequently to water it, you can ensure that it will live a long time. In this article, we'll provide everything you need to know about watering a Norfolk Island Pine and any other care tips that you might need to know. Continue reading to learn more!

Norfolk Island pine tree photographed up close, How Much Water Does A Norfolk Island Pine Need?

Norfolk Island Pine: Background Information 

Before we get into watering a Norfolk Island Pine, it's important to point out a little bit of background information. That way, you can make sure that you're providing optimum conditions for your Norfolk Island Pine.

For starters, Norfolk Island Pines are a species of tropical tree. They're named after Norfolk Island, an island in the Pacific Ocean near New Zealand on which these trees are native. They may also be simply called Norfolk Pines.

Being tropical plants means that in addition to water, they need a warm climate to even survive. If you don't live in a warm climate, it doesn't mean you can't have one. However, it does determine where you can plant it.

You can only plant a Norfolk Island Pine outdoors if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above. These are climates in which the lowest average winter temperatures don't get below 30-35 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in Zone 9 or lower, your Norfolk Island Pine has to stay planted in its container.

That doesn't mean that you can't put the container outside during the warmer months. But when the temperature drops below 30 degrees, you will have to bring the tree back inside so that it doesn't die due to the cold.

Knowing where and how to plant your Norfolk Island Pine can help you determine how much and when to water it. A Norfolk Pine in a container will need more frequent watering than one that is planted in the ground. This is because Norfolk Island Pines that are planted in the ground will receive their water from rainfall.

See More: Can You Plant A Norfolk Island Pine Outside?

How Do You Water A Norfolk Pine?

A small plantation of Norfolk Island Pine trees

If your Norfolk Pine is planted in the ground, you'll only need to water it during periods of drought. Water from rainfall should be enough to sustain your tree without having to water it regularly.

But if your tree is planted in a container, that's when it's important to know how to water it properly. A tree planted in a container, especially when kept indoors, relies on you to provide it with the amount of water and sunlight it needs.

With that being said, tropical climates in which Norfolk Pines thrive tend to be very humid. The trees do need some humidity in addition to water, so you'll need to be able to provide that humidity for them indoors.

But don't worry, you don't need to buy a fancy humidifier. Follow the steps below to water your Norfolk Island Pine.

Providing Humidity

The first thing you'll need to do is provide a humidity source for your tree. All you'll need to do is add some pebbles and water to the bottom in a plant saucer or drainage tray. Use a saucer or drainage tray that is 1 inch deep but large enough to accommodate the base of the pot and still have room left over on the sides.

Place a single layer of pebbles in the bottom. The smaller the pebbles, the better, because you want the pot to sit on top of them without wobbling. 

Then, fill the dish with water so that the pebbles are half-submerged. You don't want to fill it too full because it will cause the roots to remain wet. This could result in root rot which could kill the tree.

As the water in the tray evaporates, it will add some humidity into the air for the plant. Replenish the water in the tray once it has all evaporated.

Click here to see these plant saucers on Amazon.

Click here to see these pebbles on Amazon.

Watering The Tree

When it comes to Norfolk Pines, you'll need to make sure you provide water all year long. Being tropical trees, they never go dormant, especially when kept indoors.

Water the plant until the water starts to run out of the drainage holes in the bottom. If the water completely covers the pebbles at the bottom, you'll need to tip the tray to pour some back out.

Misting The Tree

In addition to watering your Norfolk Pine, you'll also need to mist it regularly. This will help provide some extra humidity for the tree.

Use a spray bottle or a plant mister to spray both the tops and undersides of the leaves thoroughly. Spray the trunk of the tree as well until the water starts to drip off it.

How Do You Know When A Norfolk Pine Needs Water?

A detailed photo of a Norfolk Island pine tree leaves

One problem that many plant owners have is they don't know how to tell when their plant needs water. An easy way to tell if your Norfolk Pine needs water is to feel the top 2 inches of soil. If the soil feels dry, it's time to water it. 

Another indicator that your Norfolk Pine needs water or is lacking in humidity is if the foliage starts to turn yellow or brown. If that happens, then it's a sign that your tree is well overdue for a watering.

If the leaves do start to turn brown, you can still save your Norfolk Pine if you catch it quickly. You'll just need to provide it with water and humidity in addition to sticking to a regular watering schedule.

How Often Should You Water A Norfolk Pine?

Watering a Norfolk Pine is as simple as watering it when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry. However, this may be more frequent during certain times of the year. A general rule is to water once every 1 to 2 weeks.

For example, the soil may dry out sooner during the summer when air temperatures are warmer, even if the tree is kept indoors. Even though the tree won't go dormant during the winter, it still needs water. However, it probably won't need to be watered as frequently during winter.

Misting your Norfolk Pine and adding water to the pebbles will need to be done more frequently. These affect the humidity your tree receives. As previously mentioned, add new water to the pebbles once all the water in the tray has evaporated. 

When it comes to misting your Norfolk Island Pine, it will need to be done at least once a week during the winter, and 2 to 3 times per week during the summer. If the water in the saucer evaporates quickly, you can just mist your tree every time you replace the water.

If you live in a climate where you can plant your Norfolk Pine outside, you will rarely need to water it. Rainfall and groundwater should be enough to keep your plant hydrated.

The only time you'll need to water a Norfolk Pine that's planted in the ground is during periods of drought. If it hasn't rained in a couple of weeks or the leaves start to turn brown, it's a good sign that you'll need to water it yourself.

Norfolk Pine Turning Yellow or Brown: Other Signs 

A tall Norfolk Island pine tree photographed in a garden

What if the foliage on your Norfolk Pine is turning yellow or brown, but the soil is not dry? You know that it doesn't need watering, but what else could it be? 

The first factor is temperature. If the leaves are turning brown, your Norfolk Pine could have gotten too cold if it's kept outside. Be sure to bring it inside so that the cold doesn't kill the tree.

Another problem could be the amount of sunlight the tree is getting. Norfolk Pines like bright, indirect sunlight. If the leaves are turning brown or yellow, it could be getting too much or too little sun. You'll need to move it to a new location.

See More: Why Is My Norfolk Island Pine Dying? [And What To Do About It]

In Closing

Norfolk Island Pines need a combination of water and humidity. Water when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, usually once every 1 to 2 weeks. Mist your tree more frequently to provide humidity. Thanks for reading!