I’ve been growing and tending to my Norfolk pine for almost 13 years, changing its soil and pots and watching it grow. It has reached the height of 10 feet and no longer fits into our house comfortably. I’ve taken it outside for the summer but am afraid it won’t be able to come home for the winter. I’m looking for ways to perhaps trim it or shelter it through the winter months in an alternative location. I would hate for it to die but I’m out of options. Any suggestions or ideas? I understand that it can live for 150 years and reach the height of 200 feet – not feasible indoors. Thank you!
You have certainly taken excellent care of this beautiful evergreen!
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophyllaI), despite “pine” in its name, is not a true pine like we see growing naturally in Ontario. It is actually native to Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, so it is not cold hardy and cannot tolerate temperatures below 1 degree C. Temperatures below this will cause it to die so bringing it inside before the first frost will be important now that you have transitioned your plant outside. Simply put, it won’t survive outdoors in Ontario once our temperatures get colder.
So that leads to needing to explore some other options. You are not alone in wanting to keep your tree but also realizing that it is getting too tall for your home. This article from the New York Botanical Garden suggests enjoying your tree while you can and cites that gardeners are often not happy with the results after pruning.
However, if you want to try pruning your tree, please see this article from the Toronto Master Gardeners and this article from Southern Living both of which describe the specifics about how to prune a Norfolk Island Pine to keep its symmetrical shape.
Another option would be to find a new indoor home for your beautiful tree which will accommodate its growing height if pruning is not an option – you could reach out to local botanical gardens, nurseries, horticultural societies, Landscape Ontario, the zoo, or the city horticulture or forestry department to get their recommendations for a new housing location.
I want to thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners and I wish you every success in finding the right solution that works for you.