What do Norfolk Pines look like? How fast do Norfolk pines grow? How tall can a Norfolk pine get? 

Norfolk pines (AKA Araucaria Heterophylla) are beautiful trees known for their graceful appearance and suitability for a variety of landscapes. If you’re interested in learning more about these trees, including their notable features, growth rate, and how to properly care for them, then this is the article for you. 

Let’s jump straight into it! 

What is a Norfolk Pine? Is it an Evergreen Tree?

So, what is a Norfolk pine? Here’s everything you need to know…

  • The Norfolk pine, also known as the Australian pine or Norfolk Island pine, is a tall evergreen tree.
  • Despite its common names, it is not actually a pine tree but belongs to the Araucariaceae family.
  • Native to Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, these trees have become incredibly popular worldwide for their ornamental value and adaptability.
Abstract background of Norfolk Island Pine Tree

What Do Norfolk Pines Look Like?

How can you identify a Norfolk pine? What are some of their most distinct features? Let’s take a closer look…

  • Shape and Foliage: Norfolk pines have a distinctive pyramid-like shape with tiered branches that form horizontal whorls. The branches are covered in dense, feathery foliage which is why they get their “pine” name, as they do resemble a traditional pine tree variety. 
  • Leaves: The leaves of Norfolk pines are needle-like, about 1-2 inches in length, and deep green in colour. They are arranged in spirals along the branches and maintain their deep green colour all year round. 
  • Cones: Mature Norfolk pines produce large, egg-shaped cones that can be up to 6-inches long. The cones start off green and eventually turn brown as they mature.

How Fast Do Norfolk Pines Grow?

And what about the growth rate? How quickly do Norfolk pines typically grow? 

  • Norfolk pines have a relatively moderate growth rate, especially when they are young.
  • In ideal conditions with proper care, they can grow up to 1 to 2 feet per year.
  • The growth rate is likely to slow down as the tree matures, but it still maintains a fairly steady and manageable pace.
Palms plantation

How Tall Can Norfolk Pines Get?

Given their impressive growth rate, now let’s look at how tall your typical Norfolk pine can grow to: 

  • Norfolk pines can reach impressive heights when fully mature!
  • In their natural habitat, they can grow up to a staggering 200 feet tall.
  • In home gardens and landscapes, they are more commonly seen at heights ranging from 60 to 100 feet. While not quite as impressive as 200 feet, that’s still an awfully large tree – so be conscious of that before planting them. 

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Norfolk Pine?

So, how long can you expect to get out of your Norfolk pine trees? Are you likely to outlive them? 

  • Norfolk pines are incredibly long-lived trees, with an average lifespan of 150 to 200 years. So, if you were hoping to plant a Norfolk pine and watch it grow to full maturity, you’d be disappointed. However, as the age-old saying goes: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” 
  • With proper care and maintenance, the Norfolk pine can thrive for many generations! 

Are Norfolk Pine Trees Suitable for an Australian Home Garden?

Given their immense size, age, and growth rate, are Norfolk pines suitable for an Australian home garden? 

  • Norfolk pines are indeed well-suited for Australian home gardens, particularly in coastal and subtropical regions.
  • They are adaptable to a variety of soil types, but prefer well-draining soil.
  • Due to their potential height, it’s essential to consider the available space in your garden before planting a Norfolk pine. The last thing you want is to have a load of Norfolk pines blocking your view and obstructing natural sunlight into your home. 
Closeup part of the bark and leaves of an exotic tree araucaria heterophylla. Background sky, Mediterranean landscape. Tourism, travel, leisure, copy space

Best Tree Care and Maintenance Tips for a Norfolk Pine Tree

If you like what you read and you’re interested in planting a Norfolk pine or two on your property, you’ll need to give them the proper care and attention they require to thrive. Here’s a quick & easy guide to get you started: 

  • Sunlight: Norfolk pines thrive in full sun to partial shade. So, ensure they receive at least 6 to 8-hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Watering: Water newly planted Norfolk pines regularly. Once established, they are moderately drought-tolerant, however, they do benefit from occasional deep watering during dry periods.
  • Fertilisation: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in early spring to promote healthy future growth. Of course, just be sure to follow the instructions on the fertiliser package for the proper dosage.
  • Pruning: Pruning Norfolk pines is generally unnecessary. However, you can remove dead or damaged branches and shape the tree for aesthetic purposes – just make sure that you do not over-prune them as this can cause irreparable damage to the tree.
  • Protection from Frost: In regions with occasional frost, provide protection to young Norfolk pines by covering them with frost cloth or burlap during especially cold spells.
  • Pests and Diseases: Norfolk pines are somewhat pest and disease resistant. However, they can occasionally be affected by aphids, scale insects, or fungal diseases. As such, you should monitor your tree regularly and take appropriate action if any issues arise (e.g., pruning the affected areas or applying fungicides).


In summary, Norfolk pines are truly impressive and stunning evergreen trees that bring beauty and elegance to any landscape. 

With their pyramid-like shape, feathery foliage, and moderate growth rate, they are a rather popular choice for Australian home gardens. 

By providing proper care and maintenance, including adequate sunlight, regular watering, and monitoring for any potential pests and diseases, you can enjoy the splendour and majestic nature of your Norfolk pines for many, many years to come.

We hope that you have found all the information you need in this article. However, should you have further questions about planting and/or caring for your Norfolk pine, we recommend you contact your local, reputable arborists – such as Lakeside Trees and Stumps in Joondalup

Thanks for stopping by!

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