Justin Hancock, Costa Farms garden guru Photograph: Costa Farms
If you’re like me, your favorite plants are probably those that give you more bang for your buck --- varieties that have beautiful flowers and pretty foliage, for example. That’s one of the things I love about Norfolk Island pine. This pretty holiday plant is adorable when dressed up with little ornaments, lights, and other festive décor. However, after the holidays, it’s also a stunning and easy-care houseplant you can enjoy the rest of the year. All you have to do is take off the decorations.
Despite its common name, Norfolk Island pine, it’s not a pine at all, but a tropical tree that grows on a tiny island (not surprisingly called Norfolk Island!) in the South Pacific. It was discovered by Europeans in the 1770s and has been popular since! Learn more about the history and life of Norfolk Island pine here! http://www.costafarms.com/public/costanewsview.aspx?News=Costa&Id=220
Because it’s a tropical, Norfolk Island pine makes for a great houseplant. It doesn’t need to go dormant in the winter so you don’t need to worry about giving it special temperatures. It tolerates medium to low light levels, so you don’t need a sunroom or greenhouse to grow it – the average living room will do nicely! When it comes to watering, just water the tree enough to keep it from drying out. That’s often about once a week or so, depending on the size of your pine, the size of its pot, and the amount of light it gets (the more light, the faster it grows and the more water it wants).
You typically see Norfolk Island pines from about a foot tall to 4 feet tall. They’re relatively slow growers, so you don’t need to worry about these trees outgrowing your home anytime soon. Over time, they do reward you with growth; I’ve seen 6-foot-tall Norfolk Island pines that have been lovingly grown for years.
Norfolk Island pine also offers the benefit of cleaning the air in your home. It’s wonderfully efficient at removing pollutants such as VOCs released by paint, cleaning products, and other common materials in your home or office.
So celebrate the holiday season with a Norfolk Island pine, and treat yourself to its good looks all year long.