Q&A: Norfolk Island Pines

A gardener seeks advice on the best way to take care of a Norfolk Island pine.
Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine

You've probably seen Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla ) decorated with small ornaments or red bows for Christmas, but they also make great year-round houseplants. Keep yours in medium to bright light and water often enough to keep the soil moist, but never soggy. If your pine starts to look weak and spindly, it probably needs more light; brown, dry tips on its branches mean it needs more moisture.

Q: I just bought a Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla), and it doesn't have instructions on how to care for it. I can't find it on a web site. Please tell me how to best care for this Christmas tree.
— Clovis, Calif.

A: It sounds as though you plan to use it indoors as a Christmas tree. Norfolk Island pines are often grown as houseplants, but in your gardening region they can also be planted outdoors. Indoors, provide bright light and average to cool temperatures. Water regularly from spring through autumn, but sparingly during the winter months. Mist leaves occasionally; this is especially important during the winter months when indoor air can dry out quickly.

Norfolk Island pines are slow-growing and relatively easy to care for. If you plan to plant the tree outdoors, wait until the weather warms in the spring before taking it out. Otherwise it will be overly stressed in trying to make the transition from your nice warm house to the cold outdoor temperatures. Outdoors, provide full sunshine and regular water during the months of active growth. You can keep your tree in a container, or plant it directly in the ground in average, well-draining soil.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Q&A: Taming Maple Tree Roots

Tips on how to prevent a tree's roots from spreading.

Q&A: Do Nails Hurt Trees?

Find out whether hammering a nail into a tree is harmful.

Q&A: Planting a Live Christmas Tree

Tips for maintaining a live Christmas tree indoors.

Q&A: Potted Orange Tree Sheds Fruit

Find out why the fruit may be falling off early.

Q&A: Spider Plant Browning

Here's a tip on how to take care of your spider plant.

Q&A: Perennials for Continuous Color

How to create an ongoing show of beautiful blooming perennials.

Q&A: Northern Light for Indoor Trees

Here's a tip on indoor trees.

Q&A: Christmas Cactus Bud Drop

Here's a tip on preserving the colorful blooms of Christmas cacti.

Q&A: Mating Hollies

Follow this advice to determine if your holly is male or female.

Q&A: Overwintering Thyme

Learn how to help thyme survive the winter months.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

House Hunters

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Beach Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

Mexico Life

10pm | 9c

Mexico Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Beach Hunters

12am | 11c

Beach Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

Mexico Life

1am | 12c

Mexico Life

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.