Nothing says the holidays are here like fresh greenery. Garland, Christmas trees, and wreaths are all great ways to deck the halls, but their cheer is temporary. This holiday season consider adding a Norfolk Island Pine to your décor arsenal!
This beautiful evergreen originates from Norfolk Island in the South Pacific between Australia and New Zealand and in its native environment can soar to over 200 feet tall!
Norfolk Island Pines prefer medium to bright light and giving the plant a ¼ turn rotation once a week can keep them from leaning. Water when the top inch or so of the soil in the pot feels dry. Use enough water to allow a little excess to escape through the bottom drainage holes. Discard remaining drained water after about 15 minutes. Over-watering results in sporadic bright yellow needle clusters that come off very easily, and don’t come back. Fertilization is recommended while the plant is growing. They prefer a period of rest over the winter months (don’t we all!).
Home gardeners may find it troublesome to provide enough humidity for this plant to thrive. Norfolk Island Pines enjoy an environment rich in moisture and are at their peak with 50 percent humidity. In the winter months when the heating systems and fireplaces are cranking it’s typical for a home to drop to 15 percent humidity. Consider running a humidifier, your plants will thank you. Not to mention the benefits that the moist air provides for your skin and nostrils!
Don’t panic if your plant slowly over time loses a few needles on the lowest branches. This is the plants normal aging process and unfortunately we have not yet found a cure for aging or located the fountain of youth! If many needles are browning, or if the problem appears more widely distributed among the branches, look to problems of either too much or too little water, hot or cold drafts, or too little relative humidity.
If your plant is exceptionally droopy it’s probably due to low light, for a sunnier disposition give it a little more light. Mites & mealy bug are this plants most common pests, look for signs of this and treat as necessary.
Go out and get yourself a Norfolk Island Pine! You can dress it up for the holidays with a bow, some tinsel, some lights maybe, whatever floats your holiday boat. When all the presents are unwrapped and the cookies are just crumbs this plant will be around to enjoy for many holidays to come!