Beautiful Small Indoor Pine Tree Types
Indoor pine tree plants can be a beautiful addition to your home. It makes for an excellent indoor plant, and there are several types of indoor pine trees you can choose from. But, one small indoor pine tree that defines this variety is the Norfolk Island pine.
It is botanically and scientifically known as the Araucaria heterophylla. However, though it is one of the best indoor pine trees, it is not a real pine from the Pinus genus. But, it looks quite similar.
- Indoor Pine Types
- Norfolk Island Pine
- Norfolk Pine Varieties
- How Do You Care For An Indoor Pine Tree?
- Common Problems With Indoor Pines
Through they thrive in the winter, your mini pine tree indoors can grow well anytime if exposed to the right conditions. For this, you must know the care requirements for the indoor pines. However, we will leave that for later. This guide will discuss the types of indoor pine trees.
Indoor Pine Types
There are several indoor pine tree plants. However, the Norfolk Island pine is often synonymous with the indoor pines. So, let us discuss this small indoor pine tree in detail.
Norfolk Island Pine
These are the best indoor pine trees. Native to the Pacific Ocean’s Norfolk Island, these indoor pines are commonly called the Star Pine. Many even refer to this ornamental conifer as the living Christmas Tree, Polynesian pine, House pine, Christmas Plant, or the Triangle Tree.
These indoor pines are not actual pine. They are a relative of the monkey puzzle tree. They have a light brown color, but you can see variations leaning from red or yellow.
Norfolk’s conical appearance, evergreen, beautiful foliage, and whorled branches add to its beauty. The pine has a restricted range. Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, the plant is extinct.
But, it is not its restrictive range solely that threatens its presence. Across the open water, a significant chunk of its population was uprooted. Further, it is also extinct on Nepean Island, where in the 1990s, 200 trees were removed from the region. Regardless, it is one of the most popular mini pine trees indoors.
It is an evergreen, graceful timber with a symmetrical shape like a sapling. It has an upright trunk and horizontal, whorled branches. Typically, every whorl has about five branches. These indoor pine tree plants have a rapid growth rate.
In their native habitat, the plant can grow up to 200-feet. The cultivated ones growing in the Mediterranean or sub-tropical climates will grow to about 100 feet.
Further, the plants have an expansive spread. In North America’s sub-tropical climate, you will see it as a landscape tree. However, everywhere across the globe, these are prevalent indoor pines.
Norfolk Pine Varieties
There is one single variety of Norfolk pine, that is, the Araucaria heterophylla. The smell, look, feel of this pine belongs to this single variety.
Related: Norfolk Pine Winter Care
How Do You Care For An Indoor Pine Tree
All the types of indoor pine trees are magnificently beautiful. But, regardless of the indoor pine tree plants, you have at your home, you need to care for them for the plant to thrive and grow further.
For this, you must know the care requirements of the small indoor pine tree. Below, we will address standard indoor potted pine tree care instructions.
Indoor pines are pretty forgiving when it comes to their water requirements. Also, they are drought-tolerant, but only when you fulfil pine’s watering needs it thrives.
So, you can put off your next watering cycle until the top soil feels dry. Ideally, how quickly the soil dries out depends on the temperature, the pot’s size, and the lighting conditions. But, typically, watering once a week will suffice in the growing season.
In the winter months, the plant’s watering frequency is less. So, in this time, you can water once in every two weeks. While watering, keep a check on the drainage holes. If the water starts flowing out of it, you must stop watering.
The indoor pine tree plants like full sun as much as possible. However, they can survive well in the dimmer light conditions too. You can bring your indoor potted pine tree in the house when the weather is cold outside, and during summers, you can move them back to their spot where they receive good sunlight.
However, harsh, bright sun can burn the leaves. So, place the pine in shady spot during the afternoon sun. The breezy morning and evening sun is perfect for the pine.
As the mini pine tree indoor grows older, the lower branches will die out. So, it is safe to trim them as they turn brown. Be gentle and prune the pine tree branches that are broken, dead, or diseased.
Native to sub-tropical regions, the indoor pines like humid conditions. However, moderate humidity works best for the plant. Ideally 40-60 percent humidity works best for the plant. If the humidity indoors is low, you can install a humidifier to maintain the average humidity in the air.
Keep all types of indoor pine trees away from AC vents and active radiators as they suck the moisture in the air.
Indoor pine tree plants love acidic soil with pH between 4.5-5.5. The soil should be well-draining to prevent root rot. Further, you can use a peat-based potting mix to amplify the soil’s nutrition value. If growing outdoors, sandy soil with peat works best.
Indoor pines do not have a massive fertilizer requirement. But, during the growing season, the plant needs food. You can use a water-soluble, slow-release fertilizer during this time. Younger pines have weak roots. So, to strengthen the plant, regular feeding can help.
Native to South Pacific, Indoor Pines enjoy warm, tropical climates. Ideally, a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit works best. Even though the plant can survive the cold, if the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit and continues for long, it can stunt the growth. At times, it may kill the pine.
Common Problems With Indoor Pines
Fortunately, indoor pine tree plants are not highly susceptible to diseases and pests, but sometimes, it may be exposed to some pests and diseases. Hence, it always helps to be cautious.
Even though insects are not usually a threat to the indoor potted pine trees, some insects might damage the pine. Here are some insects that you need to be careful about.
Mealybugs often attack indoor plants. Hence, they can even attack indoor pine. To guard your indoor pines against mealybugs, you can use neem oil.
2. Spider Mites
Spider Mites, too, tends to be problematic for the small indoor pine trees. Spider mites usually attack the pines when the humidity in the air is low. So, to overcome these, you can use a humidifier.
In winters, too, spider mites can attack the pine trees. So, try to maintain the requisite temperature indoors to combat spider mites. Before all this, you can wipe the leaves with a damp towel and treat them with neem oil or rubbing alcohol.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to spot the scales, but they tend to suck all the nutrients from the plants. Consequently, even the best indoor pine trees get severely weakened and eventually die. You can spot the scales as raised brown spots on the pine.
You can use neem oil or an insecticide to get rid of scales. Alternatively, dabbing the leaves with rubbing alcohol can also help.
If you take care of indoor potted pine trees, there is a good chance that they will be safe from all diseases. However, if you find any discoloration in the leaves, it is probably because your pine tree has some disease. Some common diseases that might affect the indoor pines are:
Colletotrichum derridis, a fungal pathogen, is responsible for this disease. It can cause black spots on the leaves. Fungi infection happens when the soil is excessively wet. So, be careful with the watering frequency. To treat anthracnose, you can use neem oil.
2. Root Rot
Root rotting can cause wilting, stunt the growth, and kill the branches. This problem is prevalent in indoor pines growing in poorly draining soil. Further, overwatering might also cause root rot. To treat root rotting, correct the problem. You can either replace the soil or move to a bigger pot.
3. Sooty Mold
Pests can cause sooty mold, a fungal disease. For this, you can use neem oil.
Other problems associated with small indoor pine trees
1. Branch loss
Pine trees might experience branch loss because of insufficient light and water. Hence, you must move the plant to a spot that receives sufficient sunlight and water it thoroughly.
2. Brown needles
Excessive cold weather or low humidity in the air can cause brown needles. So, if you observe brown leaves, you must bring the plant indoors where the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, indoor pine trees turning brown can be a sign of improper watering, insufficient light, pests, problems due to a small pot, or temperature issues.
3. Yellowing needles
If you are overwatering the plant, the needles start yellowing. Hence, reduce your watering frequency.
4. Overly dark needles
The shortage of sunlight causes excessively dark needles. So, you must move the plant outdoors to a spot that receives good sunlight.
5. Dropping needles and branches
If, the Norfolk pine has dropping needles, tips, or leaves, the plant does not get adequate sunlight. You must shift the plant to a spot that receives ample sunlight.
But, if you find dropping branches, it signifies underwatering. So, you must immediately water the plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ques 1. Can small pine trees live indoors?
Ans. True pines do not thrive indoors. But, Norfolk pines are not true pines. Hence, bring the plant indoors where they grow well.
Ques 2. How often should you water a mini pine tree?
Ans. Mini pine trees indoor need systematic watering. However, as the plants grow older, they become drought resistant. Fortunately, the indoor pines are tolerant to powerful winds, and they are also resistant to salt spray and soil salinity.
Ques 3. How long do indoor pines live?
Ans. The best indoor pine trees can live up to 150 years or more in modern home landscapes, provided you offer proper care and climate.
Ques 4. How tall do indoor pines get?
Ans. The indoor pines are not rapid growers indoors. But, if exposed to the correct care requirements, your indoor potted pine tree can grow to about six feet, sometimes even taller. Outdoors they can grow up to about 200 feet.
Ques 5. Can you bonsai a Norfolk pine?
Ans. You can bonsai your indoor pines, provided you place them in a pot that tightly hug the roots.
Ques 6. How do I identify my Norfolk Island pine?
Ans. Norfolk Island Pine has harmonious whorls, and the trunks are linear. The young ones have needle-like fronds curved uphill. On the other hand, the mature ones have dense, overlapping, scale-like fronds. Circular female cones are spiky and have a 15 cm diameter.
Ques 7. Do Norfolk pines like to be root bound?
Ans. No plant likes to be root bound. It can stunt the pine plant’s growth. But, if you wish to curtail the growth, you can root bound the plant.
Ques 8. Why is my Norfolk pine dropping branches?
Ans. If the Norfolk pine has dropping needles, tips, or leaves, your plant is not receiving adequate sunlight. You must shift the plant to a spot that receives ample sunlight.
But, if you find dropping branches, it signifies underwatering. So, you must immediately water the indoor pine tree plants.
Ques 9. Where can I buy Norfolk island pine?
Ans. In the holiday season, especially around Christmas, you can find the best indoor pine trees at several retail stores, such as home improvement centers, garden centers, grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and other places.