Without a little Norfolk Island Pine, it has been said no houseplant collection is complete. It is decorative, unadorned, all year round, and even makes a good-looking Christmas tree dressed up for the holidays.
Norfolk Island Pine
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria excelsa) comes from an island possession of the same name, belonging to Australia. Like other Araucarias native to various warm parts of the western world, it attains great heights but, in juvenile form, may be grown as a graceful, symmetrical pot plant.
The little tree may be propagated from seed, although most window gardeners will buy their plants from florists or dealers in house plants.
When the rather spindly seedling has grown sufficiently, a terminal cutting can be made and potted.
Slips from side branches, by the way, form misshapen trees. The soil mixture may be the same as that used to pot begonias.
Humus will be appreciated, and sphagnum moss placed around the base of the stem or trunk will keep the roots cool and prevent soil from drying out.
Norfolk Island Pine grows slowly in the house and never drops a needle. Its main stem is as straight as a mast.
Its fern-like branches grow at regular intervals. Its scale-like needles are thick but so delicate that they give the tree a lacy look.
It thrives in the house and does especially well if washed with a hose regularly and set out in the rain whenever the weather is warm enough. The washing off not only does the tree well but prevents red spiders.
When trees outside are bare and brown, much pleasure may be had from a well-furnished, blue-green tree inside. And it is interesting to watch the terminal or tip end grow. One day, a small rosette will form.
This will unfold to make the next tier of branches. Then, the stem will push up again, through the new whorl, like a little green candle.
44659 by Mary Bickmore