In my opinion one of the most beautiful evergreen trees is the araucaria tree. For the first time I saw araucaria tree, I was amazed with its shape, colors and strong but relatively soft needles. This was back 15 years ago in Izmir. I had a good friend who had Flower shop in Alsancak. He was getting those small trees from abroad, and selling them quite pricey to high society Alsancak families. I never seen araucaria trees at anybody’s home. I became so fond of these trees. When I had free time I used to help to my friend especially before new year. These days were the busiest time for floweriest. One year after I helped him at his shop about 3 days or so, he gave me an araucaria tree as gift. I was very very happy. I took the tree to my home. For the new year I decorated with tiny ornaments, it looked great. Me and my husband had great new year party at home, at some point my 3 bedroom flat was so crowded that I took all big plant to my balcony, so I could have more room for my guest. Even though Izmir never really gets too cold , that night was particularly cold. The temperature was 0 ºC (Celsius).
Because of the party, I forget about my plants on my cold balcony till morning. About noon when I went to balcony, I realized all my plants were there. My beautiful well decorated araucaria tree was froze to death! I was so sad. I could not believe I left my precious tree outside!
I learned my lesson hard way; not to leave indoor plants outside!
Actually araucaria tree is not really indoor plant. But it does not grow in cold climate. Most araucaria trees come from either eastern Australia and New Guinea to flower shops. They are indeed warm climate trees.
Years later when I found in Portland Oregon Fred Meyer grocery store araucaria trees as a Christmas tree priced tag with $14.99 I was quite surprised. How in Portland (which is much colder climate than Izmir, Turkey even) araucaria trees survived? Did they kept them indoor? I would understand if they were growing in California, which is much milder climate than here. So I bought one. I decorated with tiny ornaments again.
However I also realized this tree is quite big for my small flat! What will I do the tree after the new year? Do I want to keep it? There is no way I can throw away. I love trees…About 10 days past, the tree slowly but surely leaning away from the window. Is it too cold? Does it aware this is not sunny place to live? Does it needs water? I watered, kept it moist the soil. Every day leans more and more towards the couch. I think it will fall soon I started to think.
At noon today, I heard the crash sound. The tree is right on my couch!
Ok, I guess it does not like being in this flat. I got it. I must kept my love towards this tree from the distance. I will give away. It needs bigger house to live on. Farewell my pretty Araucaria tree, this Saturday you will be in a larger house…
I also learned that in US, they do not call this tree Araucaria tree, they called it Norfolk Island Pine.
Norfolk Island Pine Care as indoor house plant
Raise the humidity. Dry air will cause the needles to become dry and fall off. Keep your plant away from heat/AC vents. This Pacific Island native loves to be misted with room-temperature water. Or use a room humidifier to add moisture.
Keep soil moist. Growing Norfolk Island pine trees are thirsty, so check the soil often during the growing season. Yellow needles are typically caused by soil that’s either too dry or soggy. Aim to keep it lightly moist at all times.
Repot in spring. This plant is slow-growing, especially indoors. Move it into a pot 1 size larger every 3 years or when roots are visible on top of the soil. When the tree grows to more than 3 ft (90 cm) tall, top dress instead. Don’t prune Norfolk Pine Tree.
About Norfolk Island Pine
Origin: Norfolk Island
Height: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Light: Bright light with some full sun.
Water: Keep the soil evenly moist in the spring and summer, lightly moist in winter.
Humidity: Moderate room humidity.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F, 16-24°C.
Soil: Any good potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Can be grown from seed, although it will take several years to reach the size of a purchased plant.
Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.