April 1, 2004 at 3:22 p.m.
I remember Deb Brown writing that Norfolk Pines are fairly easy to grow, so I went back to one of her articles. The Norfolk Island Pine is not truly a pine, but rather a southern hemisphere evergreen that in that area can grow up to 200 feet tall. Parts of California and Florida use the Norfolk Pine as landscape plants, but it is most often used as a house plant. Basically it cannot tolerate frost.
The mistake most people make with them is not providing adequate light. Place your plant by a bright window where it will receive direct sunlight at least part of the day. Keeping the temperature relatively cool is helpful, especially at night.
Water your plant thoroughly, but don’t allow it to sit in a tray of water. Siphon off the extra as best you can. Then water thoroughly again once the soil feels dry a little below the surface. The less light the plant is getting, the more you should let it dry between waterings. Take care that you never let the soil get bone dry.
Norfolk Island Pines are generally slow growing, putting on one tier or whorl of new growth each year. Fertilize your plant (1/2 strength) in spring and summer when days are longest and new growth is expanding. Reduce the frequency when we head into winter, then pick it up this time of year. It’s better to under-fertilize than to over-fertilize, since you can always add more.
Brown needle tips may result from allowing the soil to get too dry between watering, especially if there’s a build-up of fertilizer in the soil. It can also be caused by air that’s too hot and dry, and sometimes indicates a spider mite infestation.
Since the Norfolk Island Pines are slow growing, they only need repotting every three to five years. Use fresh potting soil that drains well, yet contains reasonable amounts of organic matter in the form of peat moss. Choose a pot that is not much larger than the old one.
I plan on using Deb Brown’s tips in hopes that I can keep my Norfolk alive long enough to put it outdoors this summer.
There is a limited supply bare root raspberry, blueberry and grape plants that may still be ordered from the Master Gardeners. We expect delivery at the end of April. Many of these are cultivars developed at the University of Minnesota and used by commercial growers, but hard to find for home use.
You can view the plant order form on the web at: http://www.exten sion.umn.edu/county/Chisago. Click on “fruit plant order form” in the Hot Topics box.
A note to those who were disappointed that we were sold out of raspberry plants--we have been able to order some more! You can call the Master Gardener voice mail at 651-237-3080 to add on to your order.