How to Care for your Living Christmas Tree

By: Hannah McWhorter
December 23, 2022
How to Care for your Living Christmas Tree
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Congrats on your new Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) or Italian Stone Pine (Pinus pinea)! These trees are beloved for indoor use at Christmas, and their distinct scent that has been imitated many times in candles, air fresheners, and sprays. Follow these care ideas to keep your tree growing strong until next year.


Be sure to water your tree when dry!

For both variants of Pine, keep consistently moist during the spring and summer. Let the soil dry a bit more in the winter months but still stay consistently lightly moist. If the needles turn yellow and drop, check the soil's moisture and humidity levels.

If planting outside, water your tree the first year following our watering suggestions. After the roots are well established in the second or third year, let the plant dry between waterings.


Give it the appropriate light.

Rotate your Pine in front of a bright, direct light window for all sides to get enough light for photosynthesis. These trees thrive in these bright environments! Make sure to allow them as much as possible if keeping them indoors. 

If outside, plant your tree in a full sun area (6-8 hours) where it will get plenty of warm, lovely sunlight! 


Monitor Humidity

Norfolk pine should be set away from vents - The direct contact with a heat source will reduce moisture in and around the plant and cause it to drop needles. It will need an average of 50% humidity to keep him comfortable.

On the other hand, your Italian Stone Pine is used to dry Mediterranean climates and needs less humidity. It is susceptible to fungal issues in humid areas of the country.


Put it on the porch.

Pines do well indoors, but prefer to be outside. If possible, place your tree outside after the holiday season to acclimate it to the climate.

The Norfolk Pine prefers Zones 10-11. This little guy doesn't like to get his toes or needles cold. Bring him in when temps are hitting 50°F or below, and don't plant it in cooler Zones. 

Italian Stone Pine prefers it even warmer, from Zones 11-12. This tree will not tolerate extreme temperatures. Protect it from cold weather and ice damage.