The Q&A Archives: Norfolk Island Pine Turning Brown

Question: Instead of the usual Christmas tree this year I bought a 3-foot Norfolk Island pine. I now have it in a bright, cool room and water it about once a week with tepid water. Most of the foliage is a deep, bright green and it has lots of new growth on it. However, I have noticed lately some brownish needles on the ends of some of the branches. What is causing the browning and what can I do to prevent it from spreading?

Answer: This is typical for this plant, especially in the winter. Usually the needles brown and drop from the bottom up. The air inside our homes is usually very dry in the winter time. You can help the plant along by placing it on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase the humidity around the plant -- just make sure the plant isn't sitting in water. Also, keep it out of drafts from doorways or heating/cooling vents. Norfolk Island pine likes bright light to semi shade, but little or no direct sun.

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