Norfolk Island Pine: A Christmas Tree You Can Enjoy Year-round

Sad to see your Christmas tree come down? This merry-looking shrub can brighten up your home every day of the year

Credit: Loren Javier

The Norfolk Island pine’s layers of foliage can be quite stunning

If you want to enjoy a Christmas tree even after the holidays, the Norfolk Island pine offers cheery atmosphere 365 days of the year

Many of us thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas trees through the holiday season, and have now taken them down for chipping and recycling, or will plant them outdoors.

But what if you had a Christmas tree that you could enjoy not only for a small stretch of the holidays, but throughout the entire year? Say hello to the Norfolk Island pine.

Norfolk Island Pines Appearance

Norfolk Island pines can be kept indoors for several years and can be decorated each Christmas. It also makes a great patio tree to be brought indoors for the winter.

The branches of the Norfolk Island pine are in visually pleasing horizontal layers or tiers. In each layer, the branches are the same length and equidistant from one another. Each layer has the same number of radiating branches.

The needles of this tree are short and soft to the touch. Early in our marriage, my wife and I had a Norfolk Island pine that we also used as a Christmas tree. We found that grew about one tier each year.

The tree’s near perfect symmetry and bright to rich dark green foliage is highly appealing.

Maintaining Your Norfolk Island Pine

In its native Norfolk Island, off the east coast of Australia and north of New Zealand, this tree can grow to be 200 feet or more tall. As a container plant in your home, it will grow from three to six feet (or a bit more) tall. It is closely related to the monkey puzzle tree, which is sometimes grown on the coast here.

If you plan on keeping this tree on your patio, be sure to keep it out of the direct sunlight, which can discolour or burn the foliage. When you plan on bringing the tree indoors for the winter, allow the tree to gradually become accustomed to the lower light conditions in your home.

This can be done by moving location of the potted plant outdoors over a period of about four weeks before bringing the tree indoors. Sudden changes in lighting can cause whole branches to fall off.

Bright indirect or filtered sunlight is best, and this applies year-round. When placed by a window or against a wall, turn the plant occasionally so all sides receive light through the year.

The Norfolk Island pine prefers humidity levels of 50% or more. You can achieve this by having a tray with pebbles to sit your potted tree onto.

Well-drained, moisture-retentive soil is best. Overwatering will result in bright yellow needle clusters that come off easily and can cause roots to rot. Too little watering will result in dead lower branches.