Good gardening friend Paul Parent of the Paul Parent Garden Club (http://www.paulparent.com/) sends out a great newsletter every week with pertinent gardening topics. I encourage you to go to his website (http://www.paulparent.com/) to sign up for his newsletter. Paul can also be heard every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 10 AM at his website or at WBACH (104.7 FM) every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 9 AM.
Here is some of what Paul had to say this past week:
One of the most beautiful evergreen trees for the South is the Norfolk Island Pine. For those of us that live in the North this plant is a wonderful indoor plant. It was discovered by the early explorers who were searching the South Pacific Ocean for new lands. Yes, the one and only Captain Cook made it possible for us to enjoy this plant in our homes today. In the wild, it grows to almost 200 feet, but in our home, just to the ceiling.
As a potted tree, it will grow in a room with a lot of light and if you put it in a corner it will grow slanting towards the light, so keep it near a window and turn it periodically. House temperatures 60 to 70 degrees are best; it also needs good air circulation. It will tolerate 50 degrees during the winter as long as there is no draft from the door or windows.
Water as needed and keep soil moist but not wet. Be sure there are drainage holes in the pot to help drain excess water. If you see lower branches turning brown and falling from the plant, cut back on the water. Feed monthly with Neptune Harvest or Miracle Grow fertilizer. If you often forget to feed, use Osmocote spring and fall. This plant loves humidity. During the winter, when the heat is on, mist the foliage daily. If you can, fill the saucer the pot is on with stones and add water daily; it will help greatly.
Repot every 2 to 3 years or when you notice that the roots are beginning to fill the pot. Use a light-weight potting soil--never soil from the garden. Drainage is the key to success.
If the plant droops and needles drop off it could be that the room is too hot and has poor air circulation. Do not place other plants around this plant--it likes room to grow and no competition for air and light.
If the plant loses lower branches, they will not be replaced by the plant, as it's a tree.
The Norfolk Island Pine will make a great tree at Christmas for apartments, or for people who do not like the mess that cut trees make. Decorate with LED lights, as they create NO heat on the branches, and add a few red bows.
When spring arrives and it is safe to put out your flowers, place the tree in a shady area on your porch or deck for the summer. They have few bugs and disease problems. Enjoy!
December 5, 2009