Tips and Advice

How to care for your real Christmas tree

Keep your Christmas tree looking it’s best throughout the festive season or opt for a low-maintenance alternative instead

A lot of families prefer the look, smell and feel of a real Christmas tree compared to a plastic one.  but if you’re going to opt for a freshly cut or potted Christmas you need to know how to keep it looking its best throughout the month of December and even beyond.

Christmas can be pretty hot in New Zealand, so keeping your tree watered is essential to ensure it stays alive until Santa arrives!   This applies to both cut and potted trees.

If you just don’t have the time or patience to care for a real tree at this often hectic time of year, there are plenty of low-maintenance Christmas tree alternatives you can try.  Garden guru Dale Vine shares his seasonal plant care tips plus some unique alternatives to a traditional Christmas tree.

Caring for cut Christmas trees

When buying freshly cut Christmas trees, try to buy the tree as close to Christmas day as possible, to keep them looking fresh.  When picking your tree, make sure it doesn’t appear as if it’s already wilting, and try to get the cut base into a bucket of water as soon as possible.

Treat your cut tree like you would a cut flower in a vase, the base should remain submerged in water and continually topped up throughout the month.

If your cut tree is just placed in a base without water, it will dry out and die before Christmas Day even arrives.

When the festive season is over, dispose of your Christmas tree thoughtfully by composting or cutting it up and placing it in your green waste bin (if you have a private garden bag or bin collection).

Potted live trees

If you can’t bear the thought of cutting down a tree just to use as a decoration, why not use a live potted Christmas tree or plant.

Pines and European spruces are two commonly used species for a traditional potted Christmas tree.  It is best to have your tree in a lightweight pot that’s easy to move around and make sure it has a saucer underneath.

It’s recommended that you keep your potted tree near a window that receives filtered morning light, but has protection from hot afternoon heat.

After the Christmas period, re-pot your tree into a slightly larger pot to keep it healthy for next year.

Alternative Christmas tree ideas

No room for a tree in your home? A few festive plants commonly used as Christmas decorations are red flowering bromeliads and poinsettia.  Poinsettia have become recognisable symbols of Christmas with their long-lasting, bright red flower bracts mixed with their dark green leaves.

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