A charming tropical evergreen suitable for growing as an indoor potted plant, the Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) looks similar to, but grows much smaller than, conifers native to more temperate zones. It will happily grow indoors for years without the need for repotting. Norfolk Island pine is subject to few pests and diseases, most of which can be prevented by good cultural practices.
A fungal disease, anthracnose causes needles to dry up and slowly die. The branches begin to turn brown and the dead needles drop. Among the dead needle tissue are visible black fungal bodies. Use care when watering your Norfolk Island pine. Do not wet the foliage; this will help prevent the disease from taking hold.
Norfolk Island pines growing in a location with low light intensity will droop their branches excessively, while the trunk continues to grow straight. In addition, new growth is sparse and develops poorly. Move plants to a brighter location or place under artificial growing lights.
Norfolk Island pines that seem to be growing more slowly than usual are often suffering from root rot if they also show signs of wilting. When removed from the pot, the roots are small, brownish-black, soft and rotting. To prevent root rot, use sterilized potting soil. Do not allow the soil to dry out between waterings and do not saturate it; maintain soil at an even level of moisture to the extent possible.