Araucaria heterophylla, Norfolk Island Pine, is endemic to the Austraian territory of Norfolk Island and grows to a large symmetrical highly-sculptural tree. In the warm temperate climates of Australia and New Zealand it is a well-known and iconic coastal plant, growing to immense size. It symmetrical branching habit and straight tall trunk together with its distinctive foliage and bark that can resemble burnished metal make it one of the most instantly recognised world trees. In the UK it is frost tender and any outdoor experiments would need to be on the southwest coast. It grows outdoors in the Scilly Isles and the most northerly specimen is believed to be one on Valentia Island in County Kerry, southwest Ireland. It is remarkably tolerant of salt spray and poor sandy soils and creates a network of surface roots to stabilise it from strong winds.
Norfolk Island Pine is usually grown as a tall houseplant or exotic Christmas tree in the UK. It requires a well-light aspect and moist humid air. Care shoud be taken to ensure that it doesn't burn in direct sunlight but it can be hardened off each year by taking it outside after the last of the frosts and placing the container in semi-shade until its foliage has toughened up. It can then spend the rest of the summer outdoors, keeping it well watered and given regular liquid feeds before bringing it back indoors in October.
|Synonyms||Araucaria excelsa var. glauca, Eutacta excelsa var. aurea-variegata, Eutacta excelsa var. glauca, Eutacta excelsa var. monstrosa, Eutacta excelsa var. variegata-alba, Eutassa heterophylla|
|Geographical Origin||Australia: Norfolk Island|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Free-draining soil. Can be taken outside during the summmer months|
|Hardiness||Tender in the UK. Grow as a houseplant when young. Could be experimented with in a southwest coastal location that has warm maritime air|
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