How To Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh And Green Throughout The Season

Live wreaths and trees are the best—but they do need some care.

November 29, 2017
family with christmas tree
KidStock/getty

Real, organic Christmas trees are more eco-friendly than fake ones, but they do have to be cared for. And whether it's a tree, a holiday wreath (here's how you can make a show-stopping living succulent wreath), or a Hanukkah bush, maintaining the good looks of fresh plant materials used for indoor decorating is mainly a matter of keeping them well-hydrated, says garden and interior designer James Farmer, the author of Wreaths for All Seasons.

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

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Below, Farmer offers his best tips for lovely, long-lasting holiday greenery throughout the season. 

Getting in the holiday spirit? Learn how to make an easy DIY advent calendar in the video below, or buy one of these fun alternative calendars filled with holiday goodies like jams and beer. 

How to keep your Christmas tree fresh and green 

1. Choose the freshest greens possible. Shipped greens may have been held for months in cold storage, leaving them with a short shelf life—even outside.

2. Whether you’re cutting your own boughs or bringing them home from the florist, trim off just a bit more of each cut end to remove tissue that may be clogged with resins so the branches can continue to take up water.

Related: Read This Before You Go Foraging For Decorations

3. After trimming the ends, place greens in water for at least an hour to rehydrate them. There’s no need to immerse entire boughs except in the case of wreaths or other arrangements that have cut ends throughout. Otherwise, just put the cut ends in the water.

 

Related: Why You Should Buy An Organic Holiday Tree

4. Keep fresh plant materials away from vents, radiators, fireplaces, and other heat sources. “Our homes are toasty during the winter, and this warm air really dries out holiday greens,” Farmer says. “If decorating a mantel—which is so close to the fire proper—be sure the greenery is securely arranged in watertight containers such as urns, vases, or buckets to provide a steady supply of needed moisture.”