Answer: What you've learned is true. Norfolk Island pines are stiff and upright when grown outdoors but tend to be more relaxed when grown indoors. A plant started in a greenhouse will adapt to growing outdoors in your gardening region. I'd start with a young plant (5-gallon or less) and plant it outdoors in early spring. It will have all summer and fall to harden up. When it begins growing the following spring, the trunk and branches will put on girth, which will make them more rigid. As it matures it will take on the same appearance as those you've seen in the neighborhood.
Best wishes with your landscape!
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