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Norfolk Island Pine clarification.

15 years ago

I just got one of these from a friend.

Three things I've been getting conflicting information on.

The ones you usually see in stores are either multiple plants in the same pots, or single plants with multiple shoots/trunks -- I think it's called coppicing? I've heard some people say to seperate the seperate plants and trim them down to a single trunk, whereas other people have said that leaving them all together is fine and that seperating them can actually cause an immense amount of stress. I assume that if planting outside, having a single trunk is desirable, whereas it matters less in a pot (although it would presumably make them rootbound quicker?) I also am assuming that some of the additional trunks/plants will die off and just leave the healthier ones.

Second, watering. Do I or do I not let it dry out at all between waterings? Some people say let the first inch or so get dry before adding water. Other people say that any sort of dryness in the soil will start knocking back the feeder (?) roots and cause branch drop (Granted, Norfolk Island Palm Trees have their own sort of charm ;P) the other method I've heard is to stick to a tight watering schedule, which involves soaking the soil, letting the excess run off, and just sticking to that. I don't want branch drop from drying out, but rot sound potentially far, far more dangerous. The soil is quite thick and drains nicely, so there would never be *standing water* or tons of liquid surrounding the roots. In this case, how wet should I keep it?

Third, and this is more or less a general question about misting, but I've heard that doing it to Norfolk pines is a good idea -- specifically, in this case, using slightly cool water. I've also heard that misting, say, zebra plants and alocasias is a good idea (at least partially to clean the leaves and make the environment inhospitable for spiders mights?). However, I believe it's tapla that mentions that misting is usually ineffective. Is it always ineffective, or can it actually be effective if done several times throughout the day? Also, I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of misting is -- is it entirely to raise humidity in the vicinity of the plant, or is it also to cool down leaf tissue, or do some plants absorb water through the leaves as per bromeliads? Is there a point of too much misting?

Actually, here's a fourth point I just thought about. I've also read they don't like being touched much and can lose branches from this. Obviously, it would've been somewhat jostled during the act of getting it to the store, purchasing it from the store, and transporting it to my house. I've also "untangled" a few of the branches that had sort of gotten caught on eachother in the process. Have I already doomed the thing, or does this refer more to constant and persistant touching over a period of time?

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