The Q&A Archives: Norfolk Pine

Question: There are never care tags included. Live in Arizona desert. what is the type of potting mix to use and watering and lighting requirements? Why do stores or the nurseries spay glitter on needles. Does't that clog them from breathing?

Answer: I share your frustration! Most plants do not come with detailed care tags. The glitter you see on the plant is sprayed on with water and can be easily hosed off your plant. I think the glitter application is the brainchild of some marketing genius who thought a sparkly Christmas tree looking plant would sell well during the holidays.

The Norfolk Island pine is a long-lasting houseplant that grows three to six inches annually. They grow well in indirect sunlight. In the desert southwest, you can grow them outdoors in the cooler months of the year (November-March). Set yours in a protected spot where it will receive bright but indirect sunlight. When the weather begins to warm, take your Norfolk Island Pine indoors. Night-time temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and day-time temperatures of 68 to 72 degrees are best for Norfolk Island pines, but they can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 degrees and as high as 85 degrees.

Norfolk Island pines do not require as much water as other common houseplants. In fact, they do not tolerate saturated soil. Apply enough water to allow some to drain out of the bottom of the container, then discard the excess water.

Norfolk Island pines don't require frequent fertilization. You can use any complete, water soluble fertilizer, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Fertilize older plants every three to four months, and repotted or newly purchased plants every four to six months. Norfolk Island pines need only be repotted every three to four years using a commercially available potting mixture.

Best wishes with your new pine!

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