Araucaria excelsa Norfolk Island Pine; 7°C/45°F; Norfolk Island

Typical needle pine leaves are shaded dark and light green and develop on horizontal branches that radiate from the main stem. The spaced tiers of leaves are the principal attraction of this plant which is one of the true aristocrats among the foliage plants that are suited to cooler room conditions. Set in a well-lit airy position, watering freely in spring and summer, less in winter. New plants may be raised from cuttings of leaf tips, or from seed-the latter method produces plants with more attractive symmetrical growth. However, seed is very difficult to obtain, so it is often better to seek out young plants that may be grown on. When potting, clay pots will help to balance plants better than plastic ones as plants are inclined to be top heavy. Although plant growth will be slower in loam-based mixture, a better plant will result than if the plant is grown in a peat medium. Clay pots must have a good layer of broken pots placed in the bottom before soil is introduced, as good drainage is most important. (This advice applies in particular to araucarias, but should be standard practice with clay pots, especially when using a loam-based mixture.)

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