A Norfolk Island Pine Is an Adorable Mini Christmas Tree

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If you've ever wanted a tiny Christmas tree, a Norfolk Island pine is the perfect pick. Learn how to care for them and where you can buy one.

What Is a Norfolk Island Pine?

Simply put, a Norfolk Island pine is a Christmas tree in a pot! Perfectly suited for holiday displays, this coniferous evergreen delights with loads of soft, narrow needles on stiff branches. Widely spaced boughs give it multilayered appeal. Its limbs are a little too weak to handle heavier ornaments, but it’ll look wonderful spruced up with garland, mini lights and small ornaments.

You might be surprised to learn that Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla) aren’t actually tiny pine trees. Instead, they’re tropical plants from an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Even once the holidays are done, there’s plenty to enjoy about Norfolk Island pines. They are air-purifying plants, which are beneficial to have around your home. They’re also a perfect pick for any small-space gardener who wants to create their own adorable miniature forest.

Have a little more room to work with? Check out the top 10 dwarf conifers for outdoor landscaping.

Norfolk Island Pine Care and Growing Tips

Shttrstock 65187721, norfolk island pineneko92vl/shutterstock
This petite tropical houseplant makes a perfect treetop Christmas tree.

Because they’re a tropical plant, they need special care and warm temperatures. (We don’t recommend planting a Norfolk Island pine outdoors unless you’re in plant zones 10 or 11.)

Place the potted tree in a cool well-lit indoor location, turning it occasionally to ensure even growth. Leaving it in areas with low to medium light might cause it to have less volume, so direct sunlight is best. In winter, Norfolk Island pines need a little extra humidity.

This cute little “pine” eventually becomes a small tree, but you can slow the growth process by keeping it tightly potted. Keep the soil moist, but be careful not to overwater, which can lead to root rot. That said, don’t underwater, either—that can cause the tips of the branches to turn brown. In spring and summer, it’s best to give the plant a half-strength fertilizer once a month. In fall and winter, no fertilizer is necessary.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that Norfolk Island pines are toxic to pets and people, so keep the tree away from curious pets and toddlers. And speaking of holiday houseplants, you also need to be careful when displaying poinsettias and mistletoe.

Where to Buy a Norfolk Island Pine

norfolk island pineVia Merchant

If you’d like to add a Norfolk Island pine to your holiday display, you can pick one up at a variety of retailers. Try Amazon, Etsy, Bloomscape or your local garden center.

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Next, learn how to grow and care for amaryllis.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.