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Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)
Araucaria heterophylla
  • Araucaria heterophylla
  • Araucaria heterophylla



Origin and description

Araucaria heterophylla is a conifer that grows in tropical forests in Oceania, where it can reach 60 metres. Indoors, it rarely exceeds two metres. It grows in a conical shape, with long, layered branches, covered in tiny, narrow, soft needles.

Species, cultivars and related plants

This is the main species grown as a houseplant.

Common name

Araucaria / Norfolk Island pine

Latin name (genus)

Araucaria heterophylla

English common name

French common name

Botanical family

  • Araucariaceae

Growing conditions

Norfolk Island pine prefers a cool room with bright indirect sunlight in summer and full sun in winter. It tolerates sunny locations if allowed to adapt gradually. In summer, it likes temperatures between 18 and 22ºC. It may be gradually moved outdoors, into partial shade, in a cool spot. In winter, Norfolk Island pine prefers cool temperatures (8 to 12ºC), with a minimum of 5ºC. It is important to provide it with high humidity, especially when temperatures are high.

Easy to grow?

Norfolk Island pine is fairly easy to grow. It needs cool winters and moist air at all times. It will tend to become bare near the base as it ages.

Watering and fertilizer

Water regularly during the growing period. Allow to dry out slightly between waterings. Water less frequently in winter. Fertilize every three months with balanced indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20.

Pruning and maintenance

A Norfolk Island pine makes a delightful small Christmas tree provided that you avoid electric lights or heavy ornaments. Bare branches near the base may be cut off near the trunk. Shower dusty plants with tepid water to clean them. May require staking.


Repot this plant every two or three years in a well-drained, somewhat acidic soil mix that is porous and rich in organic matter. Commercial potting blends for tropical plants are suitable provided that they drain well.

See also

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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