Tag Archives: Norfolk Island Pine

The Great Indoors

The blooms are gone.
The lawn has been cut for the last time.
The transplanting has ended.
All of the bulbs have been planted (well almost).
Now what the hell do I do? 
I’ll tell you what I do. I garden … inside. 
Full disclosure – I have virtually no idea what I am doing when it comes to houseplants. Or growing anything indoors. Zero. If you read my recent post about trying to keep a Meyer Lemon tree alive, well, the proof is in those photos. That thing is hurting big time.
But it all changes this year. I need something to hold me over during the winter months beyond catalog reading/planning. I need to tend to something that doesn’t include bickering children. 
So I’ve taken some first steps and while they may seem small to you, I’m pretty fired up.
As you’ll see in the photo below, I have a few plants that are resting comfortably in a southern exposure outside my back windows/sliding door:

On the left is a Norfolk Island Pine that I’ve tried to keep alive and thriving in the past but was not successful. I like it as a mini X-mas tree and dig its shiny green color and texture. It will definitely need sufficient light and I am up to the task of making that happen.

In the middle is a rosemary plant that I brought in from outside. Only once have I been able to overwinter one of these plants outdoors so why not give it a whirl indoors. I love its scent and I am not above rubbing a branch under my arms and calling it “natural” deodorant.

On the right is the aforementioned Meyer Lemon. I am supplementing the natural light with a grow light:

and took a chance and fertilized it a week ago. I am going to baby this sucker all winter because I MUST have lemons soon:

But does it end here? Hell to the friggin “no”.

A sprig of mint is sitting on the window sill by the kitchen sink (and yes this giant container is awkwardly overhanging the sink):  

How about some bulbs being grown indoors? Amaryllis and Paper Whites (Narcissus papyraceus) are on their way already. I timed their expected blooming for Christmas because I am that skilled:

What’s that you say? People have been doing this for centuries and it is the easiest task of all time. Next …

This last one is the one I am most proud of. I have had this terrarium ever since it was given to me by the people at H Potter over three years ago. I finally took the initiative and filled it with six different ferns:

I actually researched it and planted it appropriately with charcoal, moss, potting soil and river rocks. We’ll see how it goes.

My next task is to purchase some mini succulents online. I’ll be sure to share the results with you.

All of this non-outdoor work is occupying my time nicely and I vow to continue to educate myself more and more on these plants. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you cold weather people do with indoor plants. And please provide very specific and detailed instructions as I’m a little slow to grasp this stuff.      

Norfolk Island Pine

I am by no means an expert when it comes to houseplants. In fact, you could call me clueless and I won’t be offended. As much as I love me some plants, I’ve never taken to those that exclusively grow indoors. But if I am going to keep a positive attitude about the colder weather and the inability to dig in the dirt, I figured it was time to dive in and educate myself on what can be grown/maintained inside my home.
I was in Lowe’s this past weekend and made it over to the Home and Garden aisles without a clue as to what I was looking for. Ornamental peppers? Nah. Some fern-like creature? Nope. I was ready to give up when I spotted what looked like a conifer. Hmmmmm. This can’t possibly be a houseplant, right? I read the label and saw the name Araucaria heterophylla – AKA Norfolk Island Pine. Interesting. Out came the phone and I quickly googled the name. I educated myself in about five minutes and for only $19.99, I figured let’s give it a whirl. 
In the Honda Civic it went and even though it scratched the back of my neck as I drove, it was worth it. I had that plant excitement in full effect and couldn’t wait to get her home. 
Here she is in what hopefully becomes the permanent location:    

I am enamored with the lush green foliage and the fact that it looks like a pine (but of course, is not a pine at all). The soft needles beg you to touch it:

It will be adorned with Christmas ornaments as it is the perfect “living” Christmas tree. My wife loved it as well so as long as I keep it healthy, it will stay where it is for years to come.

I’ve had some time to do some further research about my new purchase (is this a common houseplant that I’ve some how managed to never see before? Curious to hear your thoughts) and wanted to share what I’ve learned with you:

  • Native to Norfolk Island, an island in the Pacific near Australia/New Zealand
  • Unlike most conifers, it supposedly survives in indirect light
  • To aid in it’s survival, a misting is necessary to up the humidity level
  • Over watering is a no-no as it can easily lead to root rot since NIP has a weak root system
  • I’m staying away from any fertilization
  • If grown in it’s native habitat, it can reach up to 200 feet in height

What do you think? Any tips for me based on your successes/failures?

John