House Plants/Norfolk Pine


QUESTION: Hi,  I have a large pot with 3 Norfolk Pines in it.  It was too big to separate them when I got it.  It is very healthy and looks great...except, two of the trees have new tops and the third has a shoot but has not grown upward.  The shoot seems tight compared to the others.  It has been like this for a few months. The tree is quite lopsided now at the top.

Thank you for any advice you may have.

ANSWER: Hi Maureen,

I am having difficulty imagining just what you are trying to describe. What direction is the "shoot" growing, if not upward? What do you mean it is "tight?" In what way is it lopsided?

I think if you posted a good photo it would be very helpful.

Three NIP stems were grown together from the outset. Their roots are completely entwined. It is never a good idea to try to separate them.

I look forward to seeing a photo so I can help you properly.

~Will Creed

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry, I don't know how to add a photo.  I am a bit of a Luddite.  It is the top shoot that causes the tree to go upward and make many more branches.  Two trees have shot up another round of branches and one has not.  The tree is 4 feet tall and very healthy but with two trees growing upward and one not it is now lop sided.  I don't know the terminology of the parts of the plant but it is the little piece in the centre of the top of the tree that is stunted.  It seems crusty and hard.  Sorry I am such a dope about the explanation.

Hi Maureen,

You are not a dope, but please understand it is very hard for me to help you when I don't have a clear picture of what is going on.

Each of the 3 stems has a growing tip or leader at the top. Normally they grow straight upward and produce a tier of horizontal fronds. However, sometimes the shorter stems don't grow straight because the sunlight is blocked by the taller neighbors. That is why it important to rotate the pot regularly so that all sides get equal light.

It is also possible that your plant is leaning because it is growing toward the light. If so, then turn it 180 degrees so the weaker side faces the light. The entire rootball might need to be repositioned in the pot.

It is also possible that one of the growing tips was accidental damaged. That could cause its growth to be stunted.

I have written a detailed article on Norfolk Island Pine care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

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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