How to Plant a Norfolk Pine Tree


Norfolk pines, or Norfolk Island pines, are tropical pine trees that are native to the Pacific Ocean island of Norfolk, situated between Australia and New Zealand. The tree, also sometimes called a star pine, has thick, stubby needles and can grow to a height of 200 feet or more. In the United States, it is known most as a popular indoor plant that takes well to pots and thrives in indirect sunlight. Its symmetrical shape makes it an ideal indoor Christmas tree.

Step 1

Fill a pot that's at least three times as big as the Norfolk pine's root ball with a layer of topsoil on the bottom, high enough for the root ball to sit on, so that the bottom of the trunk is about 3 inches below the edge of the pot.

Step 2

Fill in the rest of the pot with topsoil and tamp it down.

Step 3

Water thoroughly, just enough so that some water drains out of the bottom. Discard this excess water.

Step 4

Place the plant in a well-lit location, while avoiding direct sunlight. A good spot is within 4 feet of a large window. According to the Colorado State University's Plant Talk website, indoor Norfolk pines prefer nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperatures of 68 to 72 degrees.

Tips and Warnings

  • Norfolk pines won't tolerate saturated soil, so be sure there is adequate drainage--and don't overwater. If a Norfolk pine is brought back indoors after spending a summer outside and it was not kept in shade for the four or five weeks prior to returning indoors, it could go into shock and drop whole branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Norfolk pine tree
  • Topsoil
  • Pot
  • Soluble fertilizer


  • Plant Talk Colorado: Norfolk Island Pine
  • The Gymnosperm Database: Araucaria heterophylla
Keywords: Norfolk pines, Norfolk Island pines, planting pine trees

About this Author

Thomas K. Arnold is the publisher and editorial director of Home Media Magazine and a regular contributor on entertainment to "USA Today", "The Hollywood Reporter," "San Diego Magazine" and other publications. An alumnus of San Diego State University, Arnold has appeared on such TV shows as "CNN", "E! Entertainment" and "G4's Attack of the Show" to discuss home entertainment and technology issues.