Don’t kick those ornamental Christmas trees to the curb!
You know the ones I’m talking about…
Almost every big box store carries them during the Christmas season. They are the little cute ones, usually for sale next to the registers adorned with colorful ornaments, red bows with the shiny cellophane wrapper.
They are actually a hardy, tropical evergreen called the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) and they make delightful houseplants! Not a true pine, it is actually native to the South Pacific where it reaches heights of 200′!
Norfolk Island Pine
We are all familiar with the benefits of plants in our homes and the Norfolk Pine, when cared for properly, is no different. Although outdoors they can reach a maximum height of 80 feet in the Florida landscape, in the home environment, they are quite manageable and slow growing, only attaining a height of 5′ to 8′ in ten years.
Norfolk Island Pine – A House Plant!?
Maintaining Norfolk Island Pine indoors is relatively simple. These plants require bright light and high humidity, something we typically fight to keep out of our homes. A simple solution is to place some gravel or rocks in a saucer full of water and place the potted plant on top without submerging the drainage holes. Doing so creates the plant’s own microclimate! Be sure to turn your plant once a week or so to keep it growing straight and evenly green.
Voila! Your very own, healthy beautiful evergreen Norfolk Pine, which, by the way, you can decorate every holiday season for years to come!
This article was contributed by Roxanne Morrow, a Master Gardener in-training in Volusia County