The monkey puzzle tree is related to the Norfolk Island pine, which is not a real pine tree. It is often kept as a landscape tree in the subtropical climate of North America (USDA zones 10 to 11), and it is grown indoors in other places.
It can grow to be very tall and has a straight trunk and symmetrical branches with small needles that curve inward.
A Norfolk Island pine can grow up to 200 feet tall in the wild. It can be grown as a bonsai or as a small tree. It grows 3 to 8 feet tall inside.
In other parts of the world, the Norfolk Island pine, which grows slowly, is often planted as a live Christmas tree and decorated with ribbons or other items.
After Christmas, the tree is usually thrown away, but it can be kept as a permanent plant indoors or planted outside when the weather gets warmer in the spring.
Norfolk Island Pine Care
Plant this tree in fairly wet, permeable, sandy soil in a full-sun area if you want it to flourish best outside. Once it’s planted, it can handle a bit of dryness.
Use a potting mix that is porous, sandy, and a little bit acidic to grow Norfolk Island pine indoors.
Adding more peat moss and sand to a regular potting mix can make it more acidic and give it more holes.
Keep the soil moist but not soaked, and give the plant as much light as you can. Place it near a south-facing window because it likes direct sunlight or strong, indirect light.
The Norfolk Island pine is a gymnosperm, which means that it doesn’t have flowers and its seeds are out in the open.
This tree grows from seeds, which grow quickly (10 to 15 days). 1 Most of the seeds we use come from the Pacific area. Don’t try to take a cutting because the plant won’t grow new growth in its place like other plants will. 2
So, you might keep your potted plant inside during the winter and move it to a sunny spot outside during the summer.
If your plant starts to stretch when it’s growing inside, it’s probably because it’s getting too little light and too much fertilizer.
Cut back on the fertilizer until the plant can get more sunlight. It’s a good idea to turn it over every so often so that each side gets the same amount of light.
These plants like it when the pH is between 4.5 and 5.5. A peat-based potting mix is great for indoor plants because, as the peat breaks down, it gets more acidic.
This tree grows best in sandy, rich soil that has been treated with peat when it is planted in a garden.
Norfolk Island pines can handle drought and salt, so they don’t mind how much water they get. Between waterings, it’s best to let the soil dry out a bit.
If the plant is inside, this means it needs to be watered once every one to two weeks. Water an indoor plant until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot.
Temperature and Humidity
They can live in temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods of time, but they will die if the temperature goes below that. For indoor plants, mist the plant with a spray bottle or place it over a saucer of water.
Don’t let the roots stay in the water, though. On the other hand, this subtropical plant does better in dry air than other subtropical plants.
During the growing season, feed your Norfolk pine with a weak liquid fertilizer, but don’t feed it when there isn’t much light.
The roots of Norfolk Island pines, especially those of young trees, are known to be weak. Give them fertilizer often, and don’t be afraid to stake them if they need it so their roots can grow.
Types of Norfolk Island Pines
There is only one species, Araucaria heterophylla, to choose from. This plant has no known cultivars or different types.
Mislabeled versions of a few other species in this family are sometimes sold as the original plant. Some of them are A. columnaris, A. araucana, and A. bidwillii. You’re not likely to meet one, but if you do, the cultural requirements are the same.
Take off any dead lower branches, which is a common problem with indoor plants. Usually, you shouldn’t cut off the tree’s top, but if a tree in a pot gets too big for its pot, cut off the centre leader.
Remove any dead or sick branches from trees outside, but you don’t have to prune them more often than you already do.
How to Grow Norfolk Island Pine From Seed
The best way to grow Norfolk Island pine is from seed. The seeds should be spread out flat on the germination medium, which could be a moist, peaty, sandy mix.
Spray or cover the seed lightly to get it to grow. For growth, you should use bright, indirect light or, if you’re outside, partial sun with only three to four hours of direct sun.
If the seed has a tap root and a growing top, it means that it has sprouted. Keep the seedlings’ soil moist but not soggy.
Potting and Repotting Norfolk Island Pine
A Norfolk Island pine in a pot only needs to be repotted when the roots start to grow out of the drainage hole or when the roots get too big for the pot.
Since young Norfolk Island pines don’t grow very fast, you may only need to repot your tree every other year instead of every year. As the plant grows, it will start to grow faster.
Make sure the new pot is only a couple of inches bigger than the one the plant is coming out of and that it has a lot of holes to let water out.
Norfolk pines like it warm, and if the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, they will die. The plant will turn yellow and die if it gets too cold.
Bring a tree in a pot inside and keep it out of drafts if you haven’t already.Put it in a spot that gets direct sunlight and has high humidity.
This is hard to do in a dry house in the winter. Only water the soil when the top layer feels dry to the touch.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Aphids, mealybugs, scale, mites, and whiteflies are some of the pests that attack Norfolk Island Pines.
If you can, find the infestation as soon as possible and treat it in the safest way possible. Overwatering can also cause a fungal disease called anthracnose, which can turn large parts of the tree yellow or brown and kill the plant in the long run.
Common Problems With Norfolk Island Pines
This tree is pretty easygoing, but it might have a few problems in its life. When something is wrong, the needles will change colour to let you know.
Needles Turning Brown
The tree doesn’t like the cold, but it doesn’t like the heat either. If the temperature goes up and down, the needles may change color. Brown needles can also mean that a plant is getting too much or too little water.
Needles Turning Yellow
If the needles turn yellow, the tree might not be getting enough sun. It could also get too much sunlight. The yellowing of the needles could also be caused by changes in temperature.
There are two reasons why needles fall off: either your tree is getting too much water or not enough sun.
Are Norfolk Island pine trees easy to care for?
Both inside and outside, Norfolk Island pine trees are easy to take care of as long as they get enough humidity.
How long can a Norfolk Island pine live?
Do Norfolk Island pines produce cones?
This plant does make cones, but they don’t show up until the plant is fully grown. When a tree is more than 15 years old, females make cones, while males drop cones from trees that are more than 50 years old.