How to Care for a Norfolk Island Pine Tree


The Norfolk Island Pine tree (Araucaria heterophylla) is a native of the island of Norfolk in the Pacific. It's often called the living Christmas tree, since it is best grown as an indoor plant. This slow-growing conifer only reaches a maximum height of about 5 feet. Caring for a Norfolk Island pine tree is fairly simple as long as it is kept in a bright location and is watered regularly.

Step 1

Choose a location with bright light but not direct sunlight (especially during the summer). An east- or west-facing spot is ideal. Make sure to keep the tree away from hot, dry areas, such as radiators or heat registers.

Step 2

Water regularly by testing the soil first. If it feels moderately dry, water the tree until the water reaches down to the saucer below the pot. Wait a few minutes and then discard any excess water remaining in the saucer. Do not over-water.

Step 3

Mist occasionally with a spray bottle of water to keep the humidity high or to provide cooling if the room is too warm. Norfolk Island pines prefer indoor temperatures no higher than 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4

Turn your Norfolk Island pine tree a little bit each week toward the light to keep it symmetrical. To help you remember, try to coincide this with watering.

Step 5

Fertilize every couple of weeks with a regular, diluted plant fertilizer from spring to fall. Re-potting is only necessary if the roots outgrow their pot. Norfolk pines have only one tap root and this needs to be in a deep pot in order for it to grow properly and successfully.

Things You'll Need

  • Potted Norfolk Island pine
  • Water
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Fertilizer


  • The Houseplant Expert; Dr. D.G. Hessayon, 1996.
  • Tips & Lore: Norfolk Island Pine
Keywords: norfolk island pine tree care, caring for a norfolk island pine tree, living christmas tree

About this Author

Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content. Acone writes articles for eHow and She has been freelance writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and professional writing from Elizabethtown College.