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How to Care for an Indoor Norfolk Pine Tree

By Corey M. Mackenzie ; Updated September 21, 2017

Norfolk pines, also called Norfolk Island pine, add a beautiful green touch to a home’s décor. With the beauty of a miniature Christmas tree--you can even decorate them if you wish--paired with the portability of a houseplant, these little trees are suitable for almost any home and lifestyle. If you water and feed it properly, your Norfolk pine should live many years.

Place your Norfolk pine in a warm (average room temperature is fine) but humid area of your home, in indirect or moderate sunlight. A bathroom or kitchen may be ideal. This can be several feet from a window, on a plant stand or on the floor. Most plants, including Norfolk pines, won’t do as well butted up against a window pane. Heat from the glass (and direct rays from the sun) in the summer, and cold in the winter can damage the branches. Always keep the plant at least a foot away from windows.

Water your pine when the soil is dry. If soil is still moist an inch down, wait a day or so. When you do water, give it a deep enough drink that water seeps out through the bottom drainage holes (water it on a large plant saucer or plate to avoid damaging your floors or furniture). When the water stops flowing out the holes, dump the water out of the saucer/plate so the plant’s roots aren’t sitting in a puddle.

Repot your Norfolk pine when it becomes top-heavy or when it appears it will soon become root bound in the pot. To repot, choose a container at least one size larger than its current pot. Tap the sides of the current pot to loosen the root ball and gently scoop out the plant from the old pot (you might want to do this outside). Pour 3 to 4 inches of potting soil (or more if the pot is very deep) in the bottom of the new pot. Set the Norfolk pine, root ball and all n the new pot. There is no need to get rid of the old soil, although you should loosen the roots a bit with your hands. Pour potting soil around the new pot’s sides to fill in the empty spaces around the pine and then add a little soil over the top of the root ball. Water it thoroughly.

Fertilize your Norfolk pine occasionally with a houseplant fertilizer. You can use a liquid, granules or stakes. According to the Plant Talk Colorado, you should do so about every four months. As with most houseplants, however, you don’t need to feed it in winter when it is dormant.

Prune brown, dead lower branches when you see them. Use sharp pruning shears to make a clean cut.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Watering can
  • Potting soil
  • Plant pot
  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

Tip

  • According to Hortchat.com, a Norfolk pine does best in areas of 50 percent humidity. If you live in a dry climate, you can help your pine by keeping it in a well-lit bathroom. It will enjoy the humidity of the shower. Or place it next to a humidifier, an indoor fountain or by supplementing the ambient humidity in some other manner, such as misting it with a spray bottle can also help.