Ask a Question forum: Norfolk Pine Help

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Name: Leia
Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a)
May 11, 2017 5:39 AM CST
I acquired a small Norfolk pine from my dad after the holiday season. Originally, it had about ten little stems and individual plants coming from the center of the pot. It's about a foot tall and when I got it some of the branches were already crispy. I removed the dry plants and put it in a terrarium, hoping to retain some of the humidity around it, and I mist the plant and terrarium at least weekly. I live in Minnesota, so it's been very dry here. I also have the pot (which has drainage holes) sitting in another pot on small pebbles which I try to keep wet for extra moisture.

So now I have about four or five healthy-looking plants left in the pot but they aren't drinking. I water the pot thouroughly and a week or two later, the top of the soil is still moist. The humidity in the terrarium falls to almost zero between misting and there's ventilation in the top and one side of the terrarium so I'm not sure what's going on. Recently one of the plants began to turn brown and dry.

Any tips would be very appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but I hate when I'm trying lots of things and I can't keep a plant alive!

Attached are photos of the plant and set-up.

Thumb of 2017-05-11/LeiaG/45dcf0
Thumb of 2017-05-11/LeiaG/00e0a0

Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Beavers Region: Canadian Dragonflies Butterflies Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Deer Garden Ideas: Level 1
May 11, 2017 7:40 AM CST
Hi @LeiaG
It looks as if you have at least 4 seedling trees growing close together. This might be a good thing, because Norfolk Island Pine is a 200ft tall tree in its native habitat, and they can get pretty big even grown indoors in a pot, so competition between the seedlings should slow down their growth. In my experience, Norfolk Pine does not need a lot of humidity or swamp conditions. Don't let the soil dry out completely, but on the other hand don't let the plants sit in water. It does need plenty of light, and protection from frost.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
May 13, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Your NIP looks healthy in the photo. Plants kept in a terrarium use very little water because the point of a terrarium is to maintain the moisture, not only in the air, but in the soil, as well. Terrariums should be watered only infrequently.

When NIP's develop dry needles and branches, it is not because of low humidity. These plants do just fine in very low humidity as long as moisture around the roots is maintained properly. The needle drying can be caused by improper watering, including over watering, and inadequate light or very warm temps.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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