I’ll be honest with you: There are upsides and downsides to live (i.e. “potted”) Christmas trees.
Bad news first. You can only have them in your house for a limited time (probably a week at most). If they stay inside longer than that, there’s a chance they will break dormancy and, if that happens, they won’t survive outdoors. So there’s a shorter window for enjoying them as the centerpiece of your holiday decor.
The pluses? Lots of them. Once your potted tree is finished with its Christmas duties, it will be with you for a long, long time. You’ll be planting it in your yard, which makes it a fun tradition, a boon for the environment and, ultimately, a better investment.
This year we have two “live” trees that you can plant outside after the holidays and enjoy for years to come. One is the Colorado Blue Spruce and the other is the Oregon Green Pine.
Here’s the most important thing to remember about your live tree, however: It really cannot be indoors for too long and you have to make sure it doesn’t dry out during that time.
Before You Bring Your Tree Indoors
- Place the tree outdoors in partial sunlight before bringing it indoors. This will help acclimate the tree before heading inside. Water it daily, soaking the tree until a substantial amount of water is flowing out of the bottom drain holes.
- Before you bring it inside, clean out any dead needles by hand and spray it with a hose to remove any insects.
- We’d suggest spraying your tree with a product like Cloud Cover to protect against dehydration.
Caring for Your Live Tree
- Place your tree in a large tray to catch water overflow and protect your floors.
- Place the tree in front of a window (or as near one as you possibly can) and make sure it is away from anything that will dry it out, like a heater duct or fireplace.
- Continue your daily watering routine, but you can add ice cubes to the water to help keep the tree cool and prevent it from breaking dormancy. You don’t have to water as deeply as you did outside, however (you don’t want it just sitting in a tray of water!)
- Keep the room temperature as cool as possible.
After the holidays
Now it’s time to bring your tree from its holiday home to the great outdoors. To relocate it:
- Place your tree in a shady spot out of the wind until you are ready to plant. The north or east side of your home is probably a good spot.
- Water the tree thoroughly after transferring outdoors and about every five days thereafter.
- Trees can be planted any time during the winter if the soil is not frozen. Sooner is better than later, but if the tree is to be left in its pot, remember to keep watering.
There are other ways to have a live holiday plant that you can keep as a houseplant throughout the year, and some have quite the Christmas tree look about them. For example, Norfolk Island Pines can be cultivated indoors, and for something that both looks and smells lovely, your could have a topiary Rosemary or Lavender. And, as always, feel free to stop by and talk with our experts on what might be best for your home.
This will be my last post for the year, so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a most happy holiday and a wonderful and exciting New Year.