My norfolk island pine recently was moved from one apartment to another. It is a very small, young plant. There are two sort of "main trunks" of the tree. Everything connected to one of these trunks is now very dry, and a sort of dark green, while everything connected to another one of these trunks feels normal, and seems like a normal color. The dry one is much larger than the not dry one.

The environment:

watered once per week lots and lots of direct sunlight (in south facing window) apartment is kept about 80 degrees F (we don't have control of our heat sadly), and since the window is open all winter long to keep us from dying of heat (it gets to 90 without), the humidity is not too bad, probably around 35-40%. (outside is usually 50-75%).

My first question is: is there any hope for the dry one? It is still green, there is no brown, but it's very dry.

My second question is: what could possibly cause half of a plant to die but not the other half? They should be in the same condition! They are very intergrown with each other too, so if there was mites or fungus it should affect both.

My third question is: if the dry one is dead, should I remove it? I know some plants you should not.

1 Answer 1


Norfolk Island pines are widely sold but not an easy plant to keep looking good in many homes.

They prefer to grow in bright indirect sunlight where it is moist and cool which is unlike many homes.

Specifically, Wikipedia mentions

the temperature should ideally not exceed 22 °C (72 °F). In winter, the plant needs a bright room that should be around 17 °C (63 °F).[3]

Having seen how things go with a few of these in my home your plant has been kept too hot, too dry and too much bright sun. I would expect that needles at the tips would turn brown and dry and then the whole branch will dry and drop off.

Your best option is to do nothing until you see brown tip ends. You can also

  • move to a cooler location light a bright north window or east window.
  • check your watering: we have had success watering thoroughly every two weeks
  • consider placing the plant on top of some pebbles in a deep tray and keeping the tray full of water which will evaporate and raise the humidity by a small amount
  • Thank you for the response. I would upvote if I had enough points to. I will move it closer to the open window where it might be colder, and will have less direct sun.
    – XenonB
    Commented Feb 3 at 20:12
  • No harm in running a humidifier, or removing dead material. Isn't one trunk better? Commented Feb 3 at 23:30
  • 1
    @YosefBaskin without a picture I am unwilling to make an irreversible recommendation. If it's dead the needles will start dropping, if not it might recover
    – kevinskio
    Commented Feb 4 at 3:41

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