Houseplants forum→What is happening to my newly-potted Norfolk Island Pine?

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Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 8, 2019 2:09 PM CST
hello! I recently re-potted a young Norfolk Island Pine I got for Christmas. I did lots of research beforehand and learned that they prefer to be pot bound, so I waited until roots began to grow out the bottom of the plastic pot it was bought in. Once I saw roots coming out the drainage holes, I re-potted it in a mixture of peat, perlite, and soil in order that the soil was well draining. The new pot was about 2" larger in diameter than the original plastic pot the tree came in. After a day, the tree began to look like this:

Thumb of 2019-02-08/Slothtarts/cb2c20

The foilage seemes droopier and darker in colour than it was before I re-potted it. I'm worried that the pot is too big for it... I also moved it away from our fireplace (because it was way to close to a vent) and into a sunnier and warmer room. I may have shocked the tree... What do you think I should do? Do I need to repot it in a smaller pot? Is my house too cold at around 50-65 degrees?
Thanks!

Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 8, 2019 6:38 PM CST
The ends of the branches drooping is a sign that it is not getting enough light.
Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
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Christine
Feb 9, 2019 7:49 AM CST
Do not re-pot, it's not necessary to do so, every time you re-pot or transplant your stressing it. Listen to Gene, he knows his stuff, he has a few hundred or thousand in his collections Thumbs up
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 9, 2019 7:53 AM CST
gasrocks said:The ends of the branches drooping is a sign that it is not getting enough light.


Okay, thank you for the info! I will make sure to give it more light.
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 9, 2019 7:56 AM CST
Christine said:Do not re-pot, it's not necessary to do so, every time you re-pot or transplant your stressing it. Listen to Gene, he knows his stuff, he has a few hundred or thousand in his collections Thumbs up


Wow, thank you! Smiling I'm glad I didn't go on ahead and repot it...
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 9, 2019 8:10 AM CST
Here is a very interesting fact about Norfolk Island Pine trees. If you take a tip cutting you might get a new plant. The tip knows it is a tip and will grow upright creating a new tree. But, if you take a cutting from a branch, it might take root and grow but it knows it is a branch and will only ever grow sideways. I always kind of wanted to do that just to get this strange side ways plant. Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Feb 9, 2019 9:02 AM CST
Your NIP is definitely reacting to the repotting that you did. A few roots coming through the drain hole is not necessarily an indication that the plant is rootbound and in need of a larger pot, as is commonly believed.

If the new pot has a drain hole and you are very careful with your watering, it should gradually adapt to the new pot. If you added to soil to the top of the original rootball, I suggest you remove that soil as it will prevent you from properly determining when it needs water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
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Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 10, 2019 12:22 PM CST
gasrocks said:Here is a very interesting fact about Norfolk Island Pine trees. If you take a tip cutting you might get a new plant. The tip knows it is a tip and will grow upright creating a new tree. But, if you take a cutting from a branch, it might take root and grow but it knows it is a branch and will only ever grow sideways. I always kind of wanted to do that just to get this strange side ways plant. Gene


Fascinating! I may try that if my NIP gets a bit more adapted to higher light and its new pot.
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 10, 2019 12:24 PM CST
WillC said:Your NIP is definitely reacting to the repotting that you did. A few roots coming through the drain hole is not necessarily an indication that the plant is rootbound and in need of a larger pot, as is commonly believed.

If the new pot has a drain hole and you are very careful with your watering, it should gradually adapt to the new pot. If you added to soil to the top of the original rootball, I suggest you remove that soil as it will prevent you from properly determining when it needs water.


Thank you for the advice! I'll remove some of the soil above the root ball. I get paranoid of underwatering plants, when in actuality I learn I've been overwatering them! I'll be careful to not overwater the NIP.

Edit: I'm a bit afraid that I have overwatered it, because when I took a top layer of soil away, I noticed the level of soil right atop the rootball is damp. I've gently used a butter knife to loosen the soil a bit so that it may dry out. Should I wait a bit to see if that helps the soil dry out?
[Last edited by Slothtarts - Feb 10, 2019 1:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 10, 2019 2:40 PM CST
A relative of the NIP, there are not many, is the Monkey Puzzle Tree. I first saw one in the movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947, IMDB 7.9. As soon as it gets warm enough out to ship plants I will be ordering one or two. Had one once about 30 years ago. Wonderful if you have enough light.
[Last edited by gasrocks - Feb 10, 2019 2:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Feb 10, 2019 3:01 PM CST
It is much easier to inadvertently overwater plant that has been recently repotted. It is good that you removed the excess soil from the top. Water when the remaining soil feels dry to the touch on the surface. No reason to poke into the root zone with a knife. The soil will dry out soon enough now that you have removed the excess soil.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 10, 2019 3:24 PM CST
WillC said:It is much easier to inadvertently overwater plant that has been recently repotted. It is good that you removed the excess soil from the top. Water when the remaining soil feels dry to the touch on the surface. No reason to poke into the root zone with a knife. The soil will dry out soon enough now that you have removed the excess soil.


Okay, good. Thanks for the advice! Smiling
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 10, 2019 3:27 PM CST
gasrocks said:A relative of the NIP, there are not many, is the Monkey Puzzle Tree. I first saw one in the movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947, IMDB 7.9. As soon as it gets warm enough out to ship plants I will be ordering one or two. Had one once about 30 years ago. Wonderful if you have enough light.


I just looked them up: they're absolutely gorgeous! Now I want one myself, ha ha.
Name: Elie
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Slothtarts
Feb 11, 2019 2:57 PM CST
gasrocks said:A relative of the NIP, there are not many, is the Monkey Puzzle Tree. I first saw one in the movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947, IMDB 7.9. As soon as it gets warm enough out to ship plants I will be ordering one or two. Had one once about 30 years ago. Wonderful if you have enough light.


I just looked them up: they're absolutely gorgeous! Now I want one myself, ha ha.
Name: Dick Strever
No.Calif amongst the Redwoods (Zone 8b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Region: California
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Strever
Feb 11, 2019 3:34 PM CST
30 years ago i saw a monkey puzzle tree in Morro Bay and ordered one from my local nursery
not being familiar with them i didn't realize at first what i got was not a Araucaria araucana (monkey) but a Araucaria columnaris and i planted it Smiling New Caledonian Pine (Araucaria columnaris)
and it grew and it grew, i never would have thought of them being a house plant


gasrocks said:A relative of the NIP, there are not many, is the Monkey Puzzle Tree. I first saw one in the movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947, IMDB 7.9. As soon as it gets warm enough out to ship plants I will be ordering one or two. Had one once about 30 years ago. Wonderful if you have enough light.


Gardens are a thing of Beauty and a job forever
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
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gasrocks
Feb 11, 2019 4:41 PM CST
But here in WI where they have to spend 1/2 the year inside under lights, things do grow slower. But, yes, there is probably some common sense rule about how big (eventually) a tree could get vs. house plant possibilities. 20 Years ago I had a Redwood for a couple of years.
Name: Dick Strever
No.Calif amongst the Redwoods (Zone 8b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Region: California
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Strever
Feb 11, 2019 5:39 PM CST
Gene
i get Redwood seedlings by the hundreds coming up from the debris between the boards of my deck
and over the years i have put several into pots and given them away
do you want a cpl more doz ? Smiling

if you check the Caledonia pine link above you will see i grew many seedlings of it also
and lost them from the cold here in No Calif where i am retired
Gardens are a thing of Beauty and a job forever

Cblegoregmailcom
Nov 2, 2019 10:50 AM CST
My northfolk tree was left outside last night and the temperature went under 20 degrees. Can I save my tree? I've had this tree for 3 years and it's over 5 feet tall.
I dont want to kiss this tree. Sighing!
Name: Tara
NE. FL. (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Nov 2, 2019 11:41 AM CST
Cblegoregmailcom said:My northfolk tree was left outside last night and the temperature went under 20 degrees. Can I save my tree? I've had this tree for 3 years and it's over 5 feet tall.
I dont want to kiss this tree. Sighing!


Here's a link to the database... Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

Minimum cold hardiness is said to be 20F
How much lower than 20, and for how long?
If you have since moved it to a more sheltered location, I would think you may be ok. Just keep an eye on it for signs of stress.


[Last edited by terrafirma - Nov 2, 2019 11:43 AM (+)]
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Cblegoregmailcom
Nov 2, 2019 4:27 PM CST
terrafirma said:

Here's a link to the database... Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

Minimum cold hardiness is said to be 20F
How much lower than 20, and for how long?
If you have since moved it to a more sheltered location, I would think you may be ok. Just keep an eye on it for signs of stress.



Ok, that last line should of said;
" I don't want to lose this tree".
It was outside on the front porch for more than four hours. The whole tree went limp and it change color ( dark green). Its like it went into shock.
My son took it out and forgot about it.
I've had it for three years and changed the pot once.


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