Here’s why a live potted Christmas tree is better than a cut or artificial one and how to care for it to enjoy it for an extended period.
Although many ancient civilizations had various customs that involved using evergreen plants to embellish their homes, the decoration of evergreen coniferous trees is mainly associated with the celebration of Christmas by Christians.
The cut firs and spruces are still popular choices for Christmas trees. However, in recent years, more people have started to opt for either an artificial Christmas tree or a potted one.
In this article, we will talk mainly about the live potted Christmas trees, listing some of the advantages of choosing such trees, as well as some care-related tips so that you can enjoy them for as long as possible.
Why choose a live potted Christmas tree
There are some additional reasons for choosing a live potted Christmas tree instead of an artificial or cut one and we will enumerate them below.
Can be reused
To grow from the seed stage, it takes about 8 to 10 years to grow an average-sized 180 – 200 cm fir tree. This may vary slightly from one species to another, but typically the coniferous trees grow very slowly, especially in their first years.
So many years just for the tree to be then cut and sold as a Christmas tree and kept for 4 to 5 weeks only to end up in the trash.
But there are now better alternatives to the cut Christmas trees, and those are the live potted trees.
The main benefit of living potted Christmas trees is that they can be reused. Thus, you can enjoy the same Christmas tree even for several years.
However, a live potted Christmas tree requires care and there are certain things you need to do in order to reduce as much as possible the chances that your tree will wither after Christmas. We will cover this in detail later in this article.
The same advantages as the cut trees plus more
Whether they opt for a cut or a potted Christmas tree, many prefer a live tree instead of an artificial one because of its wild and natural look, as well as for its enchanting smell.
A potted tree comes with all the advantages of a cut tree but also with additional ones.
Most importantly, you will save a tree that took many years to grow from being cut. You can then reuse the potted tree for several years if you take good care of it, and you may even save some money doing that.
Being a live tree, you will get the same natural look and delightful smell that a cut tree delivers. Additionally, the potted Christmas tree will not make as much mess as a cut tree makes when its needles start to fall off.
The Christmas trees in containers have also a few downsides.
Firstly, as it is a live plant, you will need to take care of it. Secondly, you cannot keep it for too much in a heated space if you want to be able to reuse it the next year or plant it outside as an ornamental tree.
Can be planted outside
Not only can you reuse the same Christmas tree for many years by planting it outside and then back into a container during Christmas, but you can also give it an everlasting home when it becomes too large or when you decide to do that.
Many varieties of firs and spruces are used as outdoor ornamental plants. They give a wild and majestic look to any area where they are planted.
Therefore, after Christmas, you may decide to plant your potted tree in your yard or garden and thus get a gorgeous evergreen tree that you can admire for years to come.
How to care for a live potted Christmas tree
To enjoy a potted Christmas tree for as long as possible and increase the chances that it will survive after the holidays, you need to know a few essential things.
When to bring it inside
The live potted Christmas trees must stay indoors for as little as possible. They naturally prefer the cold, and inside they typically have to endure temperatures of over 20°C (68°F). The less they stay at elevated temperatures, the less they will be affected.
Many suggest not to keep the tree indoors for more than two weeks. Coniferous require low temperatures during winter and keeping them in heated rooms might cause them to dry.
Another thing to know is that the tree must first be acclimatized before placing it in heated rooms. So, you should first keep it for 3-4 days on a closed balcony, a terrace, or a bright garage where it can gradually get accustomed to more elevated temperatures.
After bringing it indoors, it is best not to place the tree in rooms where the temperature exceeds 20°C (68°F). Also, you should not place it in the vicinity of a heat source like a radiator or fireplace. The hot and dry air will affect it and there is a risk of it starting to dry out.
The water evaporates fairly quickly due to indoor temperatures. Generally, your potted tree will require daily watering.
You should check the surface of the soil in the pot daily to know when the tree needs water. If it is dry, watering is needed. However, do not overdo it. Overwatering can lead to root rot or facilitate the occurrence of various diseases.
You can also lightly spray their crowns as fir and spruce trees are plants that love the atmospheric humidity.
After the passing of Christmas
After Christmas, it is best to take the tree outside as soon as possible to reduce the impact of heat over it. Yet, before taking it outside to potentially freezing temperatures, just like when you bring it into the house, it is recommended to pass it through a short acclimatization period to protect it from thermal shock. This can be done by leaving the tree in an unheated closed space for a few days.
After it is taken outside, the tree can be planted if the temperatures are not much below 0°C (32°F).
If the temperatures are far below freezing, it is recommended to wait until they rise a little. Keep in mind, however, that in pots, the roots of the trees are more exposed to the cold due to the relatively small amount of soil and they can freeze. So, it is good to protect the pot by wrapping it with bubble wrap or horticultural fleece.
When planting the tree in your garden, it is advisable that the size of the hole where it will be transplanted be twice as large as the current pot. This will allow the tree to easily expand its roots.
Transplant the tree along with all the soil from the pot. These potted Christmas trees are sometimes grown directly in the containers in which they are sold and may have roots grown through the water drainage holes. In these cases, if you cannot remove the tree easily, it is better to cut the pot to avoid damaging its roots.
After planting the tree, make sure you water it thoroughly. Then, you should water it between 1 to 3 times per week.
If you prefer to keep the tree in a pot until next year, you can do that. However, usually, the potted live Christmas trees initially come in very small pots and their roots are already very crowded in these containers. Thus, if you don’t plant it in the ground, it is advisable that at least you transplant the tree in the spring into a bigger container that permits the roots to develop.
Choosing a live potted Christmas tree instead of a cut tree will not only save a tree from cutting but can also get you a lovely ornamental evergreen tree for your yard or garden.
Although this type of Christmas tree requires a little more care than a cut or artificial one, the benefits are well worth it.
It is important to remember that not all these potted trees survive until next year. Mostly due to improper care and prolonged exposure to high indoor temperatures. Other factors that precede the sale can also influence the chances for these trees to survive after the holidays.
If you follow the steps and tips presented in this article, the chances for your potted tree to survive after replanting increase significantly.