How to Care for a Living Christmas Tree-Norfolk Island Pine

I hate buying Christmas trees and throwing them out, so sad. This year I bought a “living Christmas tree” from the nursery. They said it was a Norfolk Pine but didn’t really know how to care for it. Could you give me some advice on how I should care for it. Much appreciated… Dave

Hi Dave,

Beautifully symmetric Norfolk Pines have long branches of blue green nettles
Norfolk Island Pine
Norfolk Pine Star Pine

Norfolk Island Pines, sometimes simply called Star Pines or Norfolk Pines, are stately evergreens that thrive indoors in very bright light. They make excellent Christmas Trees whether they are just a foot or two and sit on a table or 4ft or more and occupy center stage in your living room. Be careful not to put too many lights on this plant or you’ll dry out the the pine needles. The other thing to remember is that you can never prune the very top of the plant where the “star shaped” growth appears; if you do the plant loses its beautiful symmetry.

Norfolk Island Pines require very bright light, even some direct sun. Bottom branches fall off when it doesn’t get enough light. You’ll need to turn the plant weekly so all parts of the plant get good light.

Keep the soil of a Norfolk Pine barely moist at all times. Yellow needles can indicate that the soil is too wet or too dry. If the soil completely dries out, entire fronds turn gray, brittle, and fall off.

Feed a Norfolk Pine every other week in the spring, summer, and fall. Use a well- balanced liquid plant fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Do not feed during the winter.

You can read all my advice on how to grow, care for, and maintain a Norfolk Pine in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

These plants are not considered poisonous but if a child or pet eats the pine needles it will cause severe stomach problems. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.