How to Grow and Care for Norfolk Pines?
About Norfolk Pines
The Norfolk pine, also known as the Norfolk Island pine, is a coniferous tree with a pyramidal shape. It is native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is often used as an ornamental plant and houseplant.
The Norfolk Island pine was brought to the United States from Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean in 1846 by Charles Wright during Commodore Matthew Perry’s expedition to Japan. The original specimen came from seeds collected on the voyage of Captain Cook in 1774 and was transplanted at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 1856. It has been widely planted for its attractive foliage and tolerance for low light conditions.
Norfolk Island pines are very sensitive to temperature, so you need to place them away from drafts and heating vents. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees F (15-24 degrees C). The trees will not tolerate freezing temperatures or cold drafts, so they make poor outdoor landscape plants in most regions of the United States. Norfolk Island pines are popular indoor plants because they do well with average household humidity levels, even though they prefer moderate humidity levels.
Cultivation of Norfolk Pines
The Norfolk Island pine grows slowly but steadily into a majestic tree, up to 200 feet high. This tree is not grown for the edible pine nuts that some pine trees produce. Instead, it is grown for its beauty and as a houseplant in warm climates.
If you have a Norfolk pine, you will want to take good care of it so it can thrive and grow. You should follow the following steps to grow your Norfolk pine successfully:
First of all, you must make sure to water your Norfolk pine regularly. Water it every time the soil is dry. When you water it, make sure that you water it thoroughly. The soil should be moist all the way through, but there should be no standing water at the bottom of the pot.
Secondly, if you live in an area where there is sun most of the year or if you put your Norfolk Pine outside on a sunny day, make sure to place your tree in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight may burn its leaves and turn them yellow or brown.
Thirdly, make sure that you fertilize your plant twice a year with a fertilizer that is specifically made for houseplants and that contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These are essential nutrients for the healthy growth of your plant.
Care of Norfolk Pines
The Norfolk Island Pine has been grown as an indoor plant for a long time, and it is often used as a Christmas tree. It is not hard to grow, but there are a few things you should know about caring for one.
- Light: The Norfolk needs bright light all year round. Place it in front of a south-facing window if possible, or use artificial light. If it doesn’t get enough light, the lower branches will eventually die off and the top of the tree will become bare.
- Water: Water thoroughly when the soil dries out; do not allow the soil to remain dry for extended periods of time. A wilted tree can be saved by giving it water, but if it dries out too much the needles will turn brown and fall off and may not grow back. During the winter months when growth slows down, water less frequently; once every four weeks or so should be sufficient. A good way to tell whether or not your tree needs water is to feel the soil with your finger–if it feels dry at least an inch deep then it needs water. The amount of water needed varies depending on your home’s temperature and humidity level, so you will have to adjust accordingly.
- Fertilizer: Feed your Norfolk Island pine tree fertilizer one time during spring and summer, before new growth starts on the tree. Use a slow-release fertilizer that lasts three months or longer, such as an Osmocote brand fertilizer. Follow package directions for application rates and frequency of fertilization.
Pest & Disease Control
Norfolk pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is characterized by its limited growth, lack of branches and cones. Norfolk pine is popular for home landscaping: it has beautiful foliage, likes low humidity, and temperatures between 25-35 degrees C. Here are some tips on how to care for Norfolk pine, what to do with it if you already have it at home, and how to protect it from diseases and pests if necessary.
Fungal infections: Fungi species such as the Pestalotia and Diplodia can cause foliage spotting and dieback, while the Phyllosticta fungus can cause leaf spots. In general, these fungi tend to thrive in warm, damp conditions. Trim away any infected twigs or branches, and water plants at their roots only. Avoid getting the foliage wet during irrigation.
Needle blight: The fungal disease called Rhizosphaera needle blight causes the needles on lower branches to turn purplish-brown and then fall off. This fungus survives in fallen needles, so remove them from the soil surface around plants. Infected needles may be pruned away if desired; this won’t cure the disease but can help reduce its spread.
Many insects can attack Norfolk pines, including scales, aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. As with fungal diseases, preventative care that improves air circulation and keeps plants well-watered helps keep bugs at bay. Check the trees regularly for signs of insect infestations and treat minor problems early before they turn into major issues.