House Plants/Norfolk pine


Norfolk pine
Norfolk pine  
I have a 7-year-old indoor Norfolk Island pine . . . of its four trunks/branches, two are fine. However, one is sparse and seems brittle, and another, as you can see in the attached photo, is droopy but still green. I repotted it a few months ago as it seemed to have outgrown its original container, but when I noticed this problem I thought perhaps the new pot was too large. So I moved it into this terra cotta pot. I water regularly and mist fairly often. It's next to a south-facing window. Can you tell me what is going on here and what I can do to help this poor plant? Thanks so much.

Hi Maureen,

It is likely that the move to the large pot is the cause of the problem. Repotting is tricky and it is easy to damage roots in the process. A pot that is too large usually leads to some of the roots starting to rot and that may have happened with yours. Moving it to the terra cotta pot was a good thing to do, although it may be too late to save the brittle stem.

I suggest that you take some soft string or yarn and loop it around all of the stems near the base of the plant. Pull the loop tight so that the sagging stems are pulled upright and supported by the larger stems. This will make the plant look better, but it will not undo any damage already done.

Your NIP seems to be getting good light where it is located, so all you can do is to make sure you water properly. Wait until the top half-inch of soil feels dry before watering thoroughly.

Fertilizer and misting will not help.

I have written an article on Norfolk Island Pine care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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