by Pat Miller, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist

If you don’t have time or space for a large Christmas tree, consider a Norfolk Island pine.  According to Pat Miller, University Extension Agronomy Specialist, these house plants are readily available around the holidays.  Some may come already decorated or you can add your own small ornaments, lights or garland.  These plants are slow growing so that they seldom need repotting, says Miller.  An extremely tolerant plant, it will survive in cool, warm, light, or dark locations in the home.  But they prefer diffused sunlight or partial shade with full sun in the winter.  In low light conditions the branches will droop.  Miller says to keep the soil uniformly moist but not wet and fertilize lightly every one to two months.   

Many Norfolk Island pines will come with several stems in a pot so you may want to prune it to one stem at soil level.  According to Miller, as they grow, the lower limbs will drop off, so don’t get concerned when this happens.  With minimal care, this plant can provide you with not only a small Christmas tree but an interesting evergreen house plant year round.