I was on a vacation in Florida recently and enjoyed, once again, seeing my favorite tree in an environment where it could really stand out: the Norfolk Island Pine. Where we live in the north, the Norfolk Island Pine is a wonderful potted plant that is particularly popular at Christmas (decorated with glitter and miniature ornaments), but cannot survive as a true tree outdoors. It is native to Norfolk Island, located between New Zealand and Australia.
The tree grows 200 feet tall in its natural habitat, but rarely exceeds 6-8 feet tall as a houseplant. While this conifer is a true evergreen, it is not a pine. Indoor care requires that the soil be kept evenly moist. If the soil dries out or if the humidity level is too low, the bottom branches will turn brown and fall off. [This is, sadly, the fate of the Norfolk Island Pine that I had as a houseplant for many years. Unfortunately, 2015 was the year of it’s demise.] Keep the plant on a tray of pebbles with water to maintain the necessary level of humidity.
Unfortunately, no matter how beautiful and healthy the plant may be, it will never match the majesty of those dark green fronds rising straight up through the field of palm trees in Florida and parts of the Caribbean — which means that I’ll just have to keep going on vacations!