Family: Araucariaceae

Scientific Name: Araucaria heterophylla

Common Name: Norfolk Island Pine, Australian Pine

DescriptionA plant that has been grown indoors since the Victoria era. Tolerates a variety of growing conditions. Nice to decorate at Christmas time. It is not a pine tree!!!
Plant TypeIndoor Foliage
Hardiness Zone11
SunlightTolerates lower light conditions but does best in bright light to full.
MoisturePrefers to be kept evenly moist with higher humidity but tolerates average house. The main cause of needle drop is allowing the plant to get too dry, to many times.
Growing Mediaaverage house
Temperatureaverage house, minimum of 50-55 degrees
FlowersFemale cones are produced on plants 15 years or older and male on 40 years or older. Heavy seed producton every 4-5 years.
Leavesshort green needle-like
StemsThe branches produce short green needle-like foliage. They radiate from the central stem at a wide angle creating a layered (pagoda-like) look.
DimensionsCan reach over 200' in native areas but seldom over 6-10' in the house. Grows very symetrical as a young plant.
MaintenanceMany times the plant loses the bottom branches. I have topped plants and they slowly formed side branches filling in some of the bare area. Multiple tips also will form.
PropagationThe most common way to reproduce Norfolk Island Pine is using fresh seeds. Seeds lose their viability quickly. Cuttings are difficult and the only area that produces true plants is the tip. Side branch cuttings give you prostrate plants.
Native SiteEdemic to lowland areas of Norfolk Islands (900 miles northeast of Sidney Australia)
Misc FactsThey exhibit a strong apical dominance and don't readily form side branches, unless they are topped. They have a tendency or should I say a bad habit of dropping their bottom branches. We have cut Norfolk's in half and to my surprise they will form side branches. Often sold as decorated Christmas trees.
Author's NotesMany people don't know that these plants can be cut back very hard. We did this many times to donated plants that were lopsided or leggy. The only draw back is recovery is very slow. If I were to do this with one of my house plants I would cut back hard in early May and grow it outside when weather warms up. Be patient....... When in Hawaii I saw many Norfolk Island Pine over 30-40 feet tall.
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