How to Grow Araucaria Heterophylla Plants in your Garden

Araucaria heterophylla, commonly known as Norfolk Island Pine, is a largely symmetrical, evergreen conifer, and member of the Araucariaceae family.

It is thus not a true pine (Pinaceae), which typically have two seeds on the upper surface of their scaled (Araucaria has just one).

It is native to New Zealand and can also be found naturally in the rainforests of Australia as well as on the continent's sea cliffs.

It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. It is not considered hardy in the UK and will not survive a frost. If growing in containers bring indoors for the winter.

Norfolk island pine
Araucaria heterophylla(Norfolk Island pine) photograph by Forest and Kim Starr.

A single-trunked conifer, it features horizontal spiraled branches with needle-like, linear foliage tapering to sharp pointed ends.

Yellow male pollen cones, which grow up to two inches in size, grow in clusters.

The larger, spiny-scaled female seed cones are more rounded in shape with diameters of about three to six inches.

A perennial, Norfolk Island Pine grow to great heights of 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 m) with a 20 to 25 foot (6 to 8 m) spread. They are both wind and salt tolerant.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Norfolk Island Pine

While Norfolk Island Pine thrives in subtropical conditions, they also make popular house and greenhouse plants in colder regions.

Plant these conifers in containers or tubs in slightly acidic, moist, peat-based potting mixes. Their growth will be constricted by the container size.

The conifers are susceptible to foliage bleach, which can cause yellowing, so take care to place them where they will receive full sun but also some light afternoon shade.

Applying dilute liquid fertilizer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis starting in the spring and through the fall will help Araucaria heterophylla plants to thrive.

Additionally, occasional misting of indoor plants will help to imitate their natural subtropic climate preference.

While Norfolk Island Pine can be propagated by seed, the resulting conifers often result in more widely-spaced and less attractive foliage, and thus most gardeners would do best to use already started plants.

However, ambitious gardeners with their hearts set on propagation, will gain much better results can be accomplished by growing them from terminal cuttings.

Araucaria heterophylla Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Araucaria heterophylla
  • Common Name: Norfolk island pine
  • Growing Zone: USA: 10 to 11; UK Hardiness Zone H2 (considered tolerant to temperatures down to around 1°C / 33°F, so best grown as an indoor, greenhouse, or conservatory plant).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Indoor Plant, Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 1800 to 2400
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 420 to 590
  • Time of Bloom:
  • Flower Details:
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Columnar, Pyramidal, Upright or erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Adaptable, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Seeds sown inSeedbed as soon as ripe; take cuttings of vertical shoot tips in midsummer and root in a cold frame; cuttings of horizontal side branches will not form an upright tree
  • How to Prune: Requires little to no pruning. In some cases hard pruning can be disruptive.
  • Pests: Usually pest free
  • Diseases: Honey fungus may be a problem

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of:
  • Best Garden Use: Container, Christmas tree, Areas requiring pest tolerance, , Specimen
  • Family: Araucariaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Agathis, Wollemia.

  • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage, Non-native to North America, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms
  • Genus Detail:Araucaria
  • Further Reading and References: Here and SFBG Featured Plant

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Araucaria Heterophylla. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Mountain Avens and Geranium plants.