Norfolk Island Pine Tree Care Guide

Small norfolk pine tree on grassy field with blue sky background, Norfolk Island Pine Tree Care GuideThe Norfolk Island Pine is a bit of a misnomer. This tree is not a pine tree at all but originates from an island in the South Pacific near Australia. Though it has looks similar to some pine trees, it is actually a tropical plant and dates back to prehistoric times. So let's learn some more about these versatile plants, shall we?

What Is A Norfolk Island Pine?

As we mentioned, the Norfolk Island Pine originated from the island of the same name off the coast of Australia. Though not a real pine, it's from the family Araucariaceae, which dates back to prehistoric times. Its scientific name is Araucaria heterophylla. They are often sold during the holidays as decor for tables and porches that can be used in place of, or in addition to, larger holiday trees.

Despite it sometimes being seen as a disposable plant, the Norfolk Island Pine can grow into quite a lovely tree if planted outside of a container.

Where and How To Grow A Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pines are most often seen as container plants popular as substitute Christmas trees for the holidays. However, in frost-free environments, like its native Australia, Hawaii, and parts of California, the Norfolk Island Pine can grow outdoors up to 1oo feet tall and live to be 150 years old. (USDA Zones 10-11) It needs plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil and will grow about two feet per year on average.

Its container life is not as long; however, if you make sure not to keep the soil too moist and give the plant plenty of direct sunlight, you should have many years together. In its spring-fall growing season, use a slow-release fertilizer on top of the soil about every six weeks to keep your Norfolk Island Pine happy. A commercial potting soil designed for succulents is what will work well for this plant. Be sure to replenish this soil every two or three years.

Planting A Norfolk Island Pine

If you're planting in a container, you want to use a potting soil used for succulents. Transplant your seedling and place the plant in a bright sunny spot. Water well and let dry between waterings.

For outdoors, make sure you're in the right zone (USDA 10-11). This plant only grows as a tree in parts of California and Hawaii. In those places, it may need to be staked as it grows because it has a shallow root structure.

Norfolk Island Pine Gallery

1. A Tropical Plant That Looks Like A Pine Tree

The Norfolk Island Pine is a plant native to the South Pacific. You can see in this large specimen that is reminiscent of both a pine tree and a banana tree.

2. The Norfolk Island Pine Is An Easy Care Potted Tree

This plant is very popular as a living Christmas tree, but it doesn't have to be a one-season plant. Put it in the direct sunlight and watch your oxygen-producing friend thrive.

3. It Has Branches That Look Like Pine Needles

It's easy to see why this plant has been named a pine. The branches feature a series of small spikes that resemble pine needles. As a house plant, it may need occasional pruning, but it won't drop its needles like a pine tree.

Young norfolk pine tree covered with thick vegetation

4. Makes A Super Cute Alternate To A Larger Christmas Tree

If you're short on space, or would rather have a living tree, the Norfolk Island Pine is an adorable substitute for a traditional holiday tree. Dress it up with decorations and pile the presents beneath it.

5. If You're Lucky Enough To Live In The Right Zone, Plant It Outdoors

This tree, when planted in warm environments, can grow up to be a stunning specimen in the garden. At its full height, the Norfolk Island Pine can grow as tall as one hundred feet.

Norfolk island pine tree forest photographed beneath

6. Put Your Norfolk Island Pine By A Sunny Window

This popular house plant likes plenty of sunshine. If you deny it of the light it loves, you'll find the needles starting to brown. But good news, this amenable house plant will still grow with the use of a grow light if you're not lucky enough to have loads of windows.

7. Use A Norfolk Island Pine For Bonsai

Take a Norfolk Island Pine and use it for Bonsai. You can create the outdoor silhouette of this exquisite tree in miniature and learn the ancient art of Bonsai.

8. Move Your Container Outdoors When The Weather Warms Up

Once your area is free of potential frost, you can move your indoor Norfolk Island Pine outdoors for some fresh air and direct sunlight. It will enjoy the vacation and look great on your deck or patio.

9. Hang A Baby Norfolk Island Pine In Some Macrame

If your plant is small enough, you can take it and use it as a hanging plant. Great for living spaces that are short on floor space but have room for hanging plants.

10. Use A Norfolk Island Pine In A Grouping Of Other Potted Plants

For now, this dainty Norfolk Island Pine in the center is one of the small plants. But if you want it to grow, must give it a larger pot and change out its soil every couple of years. Or, keep it small by pruning and confining it to a smaller planter.

11. Brighten Up Your Winter Days With An Indoor Plant

There's something about plants in the house that manifests calm. A Norfolk Island Pine is a perfect choice because it's easy to care for and lovely to look at.

12. Let Your Norfolk Island Pine Get Tall

These impressive trees get 100 feet tall in their natural habitat. So why not let them reach for the ceiling in your apartment?

13. What's Better Than A Norfolk Island Pine? Several Of Them!

If you love house plants and love your Norfolk Island Pine, buy it a couple of friends. Then, when it's snowing outside, you can pretend your chilling on a South Pacific Island.

14. Take One To Your Office Cubicle For Some Holiday Cheer

Even if your office is strict on decorations, who can say no to a happy little houseplant. Add a few shiny metallic ornaments and a colorful mat, and you've got something to brighten every workday.

15. Take A Trip To See Them On The California Coast

You love your house plant but can't believe it could ever be an actual tree. What better reason for a trip than to go check out the Norfolk Island Pine growing along the coastline in all its glory.

Where To Shop Online For The Norfolk Island Pine & Accessories

We've put together a little collection of items that you may need for your Norfolk Island Pine, along with some specimens of the plant itself.

You can purchase Norfolk Island Pine seeds ready to transplant and grow in the containers of your choice (photo is for reference, this link is for seeds).

Click here to see this on Amazon.

For the Bonsai lovers, here's a Norfolk Island Pine bonsai. It's going to be five years old and between 11 and 12" tall. The soil is treated as a stone landscape in a cool ceramic pot.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Potting soil mix for succulents is what's going to work best for your Norfolk Island Pine.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

If you don't have a bright sunny window for your Norfolk Island Pine, then consider a grow light to give it a happy environment. This LED gooseneck lamp has a lot of flexibility for positioning and has sunlight full spectrum light.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

These pretty ceramic pots increase in size, buy the set and as your Norfolk Island Pine grows, move it up to the next bigger one.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

Thanks so much for stopping by to get your information on the Norfolk Island Pine. We hope now you can tell your friends that it's not actually a pine, that is from the South Pacific, and can grow to 100' tall in the right circumstances. If you've enjoyed this post, please check out these other plant guides here on below.

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One comment

  1. Hi there I just bought my 1st Norfolk island Pine tree. It came in a pot with several trees. 5 to be exact do I need to separate them or can I still have them continue to grow in a bigger pot together?
    Its 3ft tall and paid 6.00 for it! Pretty excited and looking forward to your response.

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