The Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is often grown as a houseplant and as a living Christmas tree. It is not actually a pine tree but a relative of the monkey puzzle tree. Originally from Norfolk Island in the southern Pacific Ocean, this tree can reach 200 feet in the wild but in containers, its height is restricted by the pot size.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Potting compost
- Hormone rooting powder
Lay Norfolk pine tree seeds flat on moist potting compost. Do not cover the seeds but mist regularly to keep the surface of the compost wet until the seeds germinate. Germination of fresh seed takes between 10 and 15 days.
Water your Norfolk pine seedlings often enough to keep the compost evenly moist. Discard any seedlings that are completely white in colour.
Transplant your Norfolk pine seedlings into individual pots once they become top heavy and start to lean over. Plant in a substrate mixture consisting of three parts peat to one part sand.
Re-pot your Norfolk pine every two or three years. A Norfolk pine in a 6-inch pot will grow to 2 feet in height while in an 8-inch pot it will grow to 3 feet.
Take a 6- or 8-inch cutting from the main growing top of your Norfolk pine. Dip the cut surface in commercial hormone rooting powder and plant in moist potting compost.
Keep your potted cuttings in a humid spot with a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius until the cuttings have rooted.
Take further cuttings from lateral shoots that develop to replace the main growing tip of your Norfolk pine. Cuttings taken from lateral shoots can develop into irregularly shaped trees.
Tips and warnings
- Rotate your potted Norfolk pine regularly to prevent uneven growth.
- Removing the growing tip from a Norfolk pine tree stops it from growing any further. Take a tip cutting only if your plant has become leggy or grown too tall.
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- Floridata: Araucaria Heterophylla
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Norfolk Island Pine Production Guide
- University of Arkansas Extension: Norfolk Island Pine
- Penn State University Cooperative Extension: Norfolk Island Pine
- Flower Shop Network: Norfolk Island Pine
- Southern States: Caring for Norfolk Island Pines