Norfolk Island Pine getting brown needles.

amccourDecember 28, 2009

I can try getting a picture later.

My NIP is getting brownish needles on it. Now, usually the older branches start losing needles from the tips backwards. This is pretty slow, and when those needs turn brown it's more of a yellowing to a tannish color, drying out, and falling off. This is somewhat normal and possibly the result of occasionally getting too dry, possibly just normal leaf senescence, and possibly humidity. Not really anything I'm concerned about.

However, now I have a pretty new problem. Needles on the upper, actively growing branches are turning brown. A kind of dark, almost reddish/purplish brown. It's not very regular. It's also happening mid-stem, and not just at the tips.

Plant is home for the winter, so it's getting less light than in the dorm, and... I left my hygrometer there so humidity levels are a bit mysterious but should be more or less the same. Still, plant's been in similar conditions before and never had this problem.

Brown needles are still soft and pliable. Also, whatever happened only happened in the last week.

Any ideas?

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The odd color makes me suspect cold damage.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 10:41PM
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That'd make sense. It's similar to what I see on NIPs in stores sometimes (and they ship during cold weather), and while it wasn't exposed to the cold for a long period of time I DID have to take it outside in 20 F-ish weather for a brief period.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 11:36PM
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I havejust noticed some branches all over my Norfolk Island Pine are turning brown. I don't water it very often. Could that be the problem? It is in my Florida Room and I don't open the windows if it is cold. I live in South Carolina and it is beginning to get very warm every day. It gets morning sun.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:30PM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Norfolk Island Pines do not like to be completely dried out. They should never be sitting in water either, so a good rule of thumb is to wait for the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

It could also be scorched. They scorch easily in a direct southern or western exposure.

It's a shame, but these guys don't re-grow branches that they drop. Norfolk Island Pines are very delicate plants and definitely appreciate being spoiled.

Check out The owner is really experienced and has helped me with a lot of my house plants. He is great about answering questions.

Hope this helps!

-3rd yr

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:56PM
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Underwatering doesn't appear to be a problem with these in and of itself unless you're doing it really consistently. Underwatering combined with high heat and low humidity on the other hand is bad.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:08PM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Absolutely right. These guys love humidity. I've found that if you can have 50% relative humidity and good circulation you will make you Norfolk Island Pine very happy.

Sounds like you are on the right track.

-3rd year

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:08PM
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NIP's require bright light, high humidity, fresh air and a cool room, not cold nor hot..The perfect temp is 55-60F at night and 65-75F during the day.

Studies revealed, temps over 90F, 'for prolonged periods,' browned needle tips. Temps under 50F, stunted growth, 'normally slow-growing,' and caused a frost-bitten appearance. Toni

When growing indoors, for best results, run a humidifer, and spray fronds daily.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:20AM
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