Things You'll Need
Coffee filter or small piece of screen
Store-bought plants in 6-inch pots grow about 2 feet tall and stop. They will grow another foot when planted in an 8-inch pot and still another foot when repotted in a 10-inch pot., according to the University of Arkansas.
Do not repot a large tree outside or in a large pot to put on the patio unless the weather is tropical in the area all year round. Norfolk Island pines do not tolerate cold temperatures.
The Norfolk Island pine comes from a small island in the South Pacific only 13 square miles in size. It is a tropical island about 900 miles from Australia and is relatively isolated from outside weather conditions, creating its own biosphere. Norfolk Island pines can grow up to 200 feet, but rarely do. They have straight trunks and branches that are light and feathery, rising at right angles from the trunk. The pine grows well in containers, making them suitable as houseplants.
Wait to repot in late winter or early spring when the plant is coming into a new growth period.
Look for signs a Norfolk Island pine needs to be repotted before going to the trouble of doing so. They enjoy being pot bound and only require repotting every two to four years. Signs the pine needs repotting include roots growing on the soil's surface or through the drain hole in the bottom.
Prepare the new pot by covering the drain hole with a small piece of screen or coffee filter. This will allow excess water to drain and keep soil from washing out. Repot the tree in a new container only 2 inches wider than the original pot. For example, plant a pine in a 6-inch pot into a pot no larger than 8 inches. Make sure the pot has a drain hole. Norfolk Island pines do not enjoy wet roots, and prefer to dry out between waterings.
Dampen the soil slightly before filling the new pot half full. The potting soil should have vermiculite mixed in to enhance water drainage.
Carefully tip the plant in the old pot to the side and slip it out. Unwind roots that have grown around the inside of the pot and cut off any dead roots.
Place the root ball in the center of the new pot, making sure the pine is planted at the same depth it was in the previous pot. If not, add or remove soil. Fill in with soil around the roots, then tap the pot on the ground or table to help the soil settle. Firm the soil around the trunk with your hands.
Water the tree well after planting.
- Missouri Botanical Center; Norfolk Island Pine; Chip Tynan; January 2000
- University of Arkansas; Norfolk Island Pine; Gerald Klingaman; December 2003
- Iowa State University; Norfolk Island Pine – The Other Living Christmas Tree; Cynthia Haynes; November 2007
- University of Arkansas: Repotting Houseplants
- Purdue University Extension; Norfolk Island Pine Needs TLC; B. Rosie Lerner; January 2011
Deborah Harding has been writing for over nine years. Beginning with cooking and gardening magazines, Harding then produced a gardening and cooking newsletter and website called Prymethyme Herbs in 1998. Published books include "Kidstuff" and "Green Guide to Herb Gardening." She has a Bachelor of Music from Youngstown State University and sings professionally.