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Why are the Branches of my Norfolk Pine Dry and Crispy?

For this December, I wanted a Christmas tree at my house to create a cozy decorative corner.

Hola! I found the Norfolk pine plant, which is a perfect one. I love the fact that it is flexible enough to place it indoors as well as outdoor.

But, along with my excitement, I experienced a bit of an unusual scenario in my plant last month. The branches of my Norfolk pine had got dry and crispy.

However, as December is about to hit in, I can’t wait to decorate my Norfolk pine with fairy lights and Christmas miniature items.

Norfolk pine generally gets dry and crispy because of too much or too little watering, lack of humidity, and fertilizer deficit.

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Falling off needles
Falling off needles (Source: Pixabay)

Looking at your perfectly grown green tree, you would not want to have a sight of ugly brown branches that looks dry and about to fall off.

The leaves start to get weak, and the pine bunch looks very bare.

Let us look into your concerns about the matters regarding your worrisome Norfolk plant.

A well-cared plant eliminates all the 90% of problems that you are concerned about at the moment.

Can I Revive my Dry and Crispy Norfolk Pine Plant?

Usually, once your Norfolk pine is dead, it cannot be grown back until you plant a new one from its seeds.

Other than that, you can perform good care, which will leave the plant bare at the bottom and new growth initiates from the top portion.

The areas from where the branches have fallen off cannot be filled with new ones.

The best you can do is follow protocols and preventive measures to avoid having dry, brown, yellow branches of the plant.

Sometimes you might be losing your Norfolk pine due to its stunted growth.

Its roots can be disturbed since there is not much space in the pot to grow. Negligence about it can make the whole plant collapse.

Therefore, try repotting your plants once every three years to a slightly bigger container or pot.

Opt for the ones that are a few inches larger or approximately 5 cm more. Also, make sure to choose a deeper one.

Norfolk Pine Tree
Norfolk Pine Tree (Source: Pixabay)

Causes for Branches of Norfolk Pine Getting Dry and Crispy

It is not normal for your Norfolk plants to have dry and crispy branches.

It is an indication that something is not right the way you are upkeeping your plants.

There could be various reasons behind this. View the table to get the gist of it.

IssuesPreventive Measures
Lack Of HumidityAt least 50% and use pebble trays, mist sprays, humidifiers
OverwateringWater after 25% of topsoil is dry
UnderwateringWater every 1 - 2 weeks
Fertilizer DeficitLiquid or NPK fertilizers

1. Lack of Humidity

Norfolk pines are tropical plants and love growing near the ocean and sea areas.

Your Norfolk plant’s branches could be turning abnormal due to moisture cravings. It leaves them dry and crispy, which is not healthy and a good sight to see.

Norfolk pines prefer the humidity around 50%.

Some places are naturally humid high, especially in hot areas with seas and oceans. However, everyone is not blessed with it.

Usually, most houses will have a level of 15 – 20 percentage.

To prevent your Norfolk pine from getting dry and crispy, you need to maintain adequate humidity for your plant.

You can use a hygrometer to measure the level of humidity in your house/surroundings.

Here are some methods to maintain optimum humidity.

Preventive Measures

You can opt for various options to increase the level of humidity in your surroundings. For example, your plant moisture can be increased through:

  • Pebble Trays: Place your plant pot on top of a tray filled with pebbles and some water. Maintain space between the water and the bottom of the pot.
  • Mist Spray: Mist the leaves of your plants once or twice a week.
  • Humidifiers: Try to place humidifiers near your plants. They are highly recommended out of the three options.
Indoor Humidifier (Source:
Indoor Humidifier (Source:

Pebble trays and humidifiers can be more convenient since they do the job on their own once set up.

However, mist sprays are just temporary and need more effort of remembering to mist your plants once in a while.

2. Overwatering the Plant

Overwatering the plant makes the soil very wet all the time and clogs it.

This leads to a hindrance in absorbing the nutrients and moisture properly by roots. Hence, leading to dry and crispy branches of Norfolk pines.

Excess water to your Norfolk pines leads to yellowish leaves and brown as the situation worsens.

Hence, it slowly starts to affect its branches and ultimately the plant if not taken care of properly.

Preventive Measures

  • While watering your plant again, check for the 2-3 inches topsoil or 25% dry.
  • You can use your finger or even a wooden stick to insert inside the soil and check.
  • While watering your plants, be mindful of pouring the water as much as needed until the whole root area is moist till the bottom.
  • You can find out if your plant is getting enough water when you see water spilling out from the drainage hole of your plant pot. Stop watering after that.
  • Empty the water-filled saucer. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common overwatering methods since the plant-soil soaks up the accumulated water.
Overwatering Norfolk plants (Source Pexels)
Overwatering the plants (Source: Pexels)

3. Underwatering the Plant

Another reason for your Norfolk pine to get dry and crispy is underwatering.

Dehydration leads to dry soil that creates cracks and hardening of soil. In addition, your busy schedules can sometimes lead to skipping watering your plants.

Not being able to water your Norfolk plant for weeks can leave them very dry to the core.

Therefore, over a while, the branches also tend to get dry, crispy, and brittle. They easily break off and chip even with a small press.

The result of cracked and hard soil blocks the pathways to the roots of the plant.

The dry roots keep getting drier and ultimately receives no moisture or nutrients that it should.

Dry and Cracked Soil
Dry and Cracked Soil

Preventive Measures

  • The best intervals to water your plants are every two weeks in winter and one week in summer.
  • If the soil gets extremely dry then, give your plant a good soak.
  • Fill a bucket or even a basin that works to be filled with 3-4 inches of water.
  • Place the Norfolk plant pot with drainage holes in the water and let it soak all the water from the bottom hole of the plant. Leave it for about 45 minutes.
  • Check if your top 2-3 inches of soil is wet. If not, then pour some water from above.
  • Shift the plant pot to its saucer and let the water and soil drain out as much as it needs to. After that, throw away the excess deposits in the saucer.

4. Fertilizer Deficit

Fertilizer plays a big role in improving the condition of the Norfolk Island pines. It helps to boost the growth and overall sturdiness of the pines.

Lack of proper nutrients leads to unhealthy branches and leaves of your Norfolk Island pines.

The parts of your Norfolk pine look dead and fragile, leading to break-offs due to the lack of proper fertilization.

In the deteriorating condition of your plant, supply the fertilizer every 2 – 4 weeks from spring to fall until you see any improvements.

Preventive Measures

  • Apply a balanced (20-20-20) NPK liquid fertilizer to Norfolk Pine every two (2) weeks during the growing season.
  • Feed plants with an acid fertilizer such as rhododendron food throughout the summer, especially if grown outside, because the high nitrogen content encourages stronger leaf growth.
  • Repotting your plants also keeps them healthy. It does not need to be done frequently, but once every 3 – 4 years is a great interval.
  • You can also apply homemade fertilizers that are organic and natural.
  • Collect all the banana peels, potato skins, ginger and garlic covers, eggshells in water and use it plant after it decays in about 2-3 months.
Norfolk Pine Needle
Norfolk Pine Needle (Source: Pixabay)


Apart from the above discussion and suggestions, it is always good to have a good potting mix while you are planning to grow your Norfolk pines in a container.

Finally, wrapping up the article, caring for your Norfolk Island pine is not that difficult.

Your proper attention will make them grow a great beautiful plant. So, keep going and plan for a pampering regime for your year-end, December month.

Get it ready for your Christmas bells with colorful lights and decorative small, lightweight ornaments.

It will be worthwhile looking at that gorgeous piece in your house with your effective care and love.

However, you might be struggling with other issues too such as Why is my Norfolk Pine Limp and Drooping?

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