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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 HouseplantsWinter

Prepare for Winter with Norfolk Island Pine

Have you noticed? The days are growing shorter. You come home from work and there’s no time for even the briefest hike. It’s just you and the houseplants. You’ll just have to get your daily dose of nature while cruising around the living room. Happily, that’s where a Norfolk Island pine comes in.

If you’re feeling the switch in the seasons and frustrated by the shortening days, Norfolk Island pines make the change of focus bearable. A Norfolk Island pine looks like someone shrank the spruce--with gentler needles on its branches. Tiered gracefully upward, Norfolk Island pines are the synthesis of the forest and they come in sizes ranging from six inches upward. Plus, they’re omnipresent as the holidays roll around. You can find Norfolk Island pine of your dreams in the supermarket, garden center, mass merchandiser, or home-improvement center.

Get a Norfolk Island pine now, and you have a jump on the holidays. Trudging through the snow to fetch the traditional Tannenbaum isn’t for everyone. Not all homes are well-suited for a full-fledged, full-sized tree. And not all families share the Christmas tree tradition. But there is an option for getting your requisite intake of green without fumbling around with a flashlight outdoors. A little Norfolk Island Pine does the trick. 

Plus, Norfolk Island pines are ultra-easy to host as houseplants or living holiday trees. Tabletop-sized and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, Norfolk Island Pines are non-denomination, portable, almost non-perishable, pint-sized evergreens. They have the uncanny ability to remain in suspended animation for years. And don’t worry about adopting this plant when the holidays are monopolizing every waking hour. They definitely rate as indestructible. A visit when the soil is dry to the touch would be nice (hint: it doesn’t happen often), and that’s it. If only human houseguests were so easy.

With minimal care, they provide maximum benefit. It’s amazing what a Norfolk Island pine will do for a room. Better still, buy a few. Make a mini forest. With very little space, you can compose your very own indoor woodland scene. Amazingly, the roots of Norfolk Island pines don’t mind  being confined to cramped containers for as long as you want to keep them small. To follow through with the woodland theme, a faux birch bark container might be just the trick. Here’s an idea: Give your Norfolk Island pine a long, slender container to minimize its footprint but provide the roots with room to plunge down. 

Location is usually everything with a houseplant, but Norfolk Island pines are infinitely adaptable no matter where you house them. Got an east or west-facing window? They’ll thrive. A north-facing window isn’t out of the question. Got south? They’ll love you for it. And any temperature above freezing is groovy. 

Minimal care, maximum benefits, and green by your side when you really need an infusion. What more can you ask? At this time of year, when outdoorsy-types find themselves floundering, a Norfolk Island pine can come to the rescue. And this little Tannenbaum endures indefinitely to dwell in your home over this winter and many seasons to come. Adopt a Norfolk Island and it becomes a part of the family to serve as a tradition year after year.

Post by houseplant enthusiast Tovah Martin. She cultivates hundreds of houseplants in her home in New England. A prolific magazine writer Tovah also has also published several books (including The Indestructible Houseplant) and extensively speaks at gardening events across the country

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