If you're one of the growing number of people who have decided to buy a container-grown Christmas tree this year rather than a cut one, you may have some questions about the best way to look after it. As living plants, potted Christmas trees need a little more TLC than cut ones, especially if you hope to keep it in your garden after Christmas to use again next year. So, below, we've pulled together some top recommendations for keeping your small potted Christmas tree in tip-top condition.
Top Tips For Looking After A Real Potted Christmas Tree
1. Choose Your Potted Christmas Tree Carefully
Choosing a Christmas tree is exciting, but don't just grab the first decent-shaped tree you see. If you want to have any hope of keeping your potted Christmas tree alive and well until Christmas Day and beyond, you need to take a more considered approach.
Assuming you intend to keep your real potted Chrustmas tree outside in the garden after Christmas, visit your local garden centre and ask for advice as to which type of fir will be best suited to your local climate. It's also important to find out whether your potted Christmas tree was actually container grown or has, in fact, only recently been dug up and potted. Container-grown Christmas trees will be stronger and more healthy. Those that are dug up and potted will have experienced some trauma to their roots and are less likely to thrive.
2. Prepare Your Real Christmas Tree For Life Indoors
Once you've got your real potted Christmas tree home, don't immediately bring it into the house. Place it in a sheltered spot in your garden, give it a hose down and give the roots a really good drink of water. Ideally, leave it overnight and then, before bringing it indoors, give the tree a really good shake to get rid of any loose needles.
It's really important that you don't remove the tree from the container it has been sold in; any disturbance of the roots should be avoided. However, the containers which potted Christmas trees come in are typically not very attractive so it's always nice to place the tree inside a more festive outer planter. At Plantabox, we sell wooden Christmas tree planters which come in a choice of colours and can be personalised with your own words - you can even add wheels to your planter to make it easier to move your Christmas tree around. Remember to place the inner container on a saucer to prevent water from seeping out of the bottom.
3. How To Look After Your Potted Christmas Tree Indoors
If possible, you want to position the tree in a cool but light spot - definitely not next to a radiator or heater of any kind. Container-grown Christmas trees should be watered regularly but not over-watered. Too dry and the needles will turn brown and drop off. Too wet and the roots will start to rot. Go by the feel of the soil.
Ideally, you should put your potted Christmas tree outside for 24 hours every week to 10 days to allow it to really 'breathe'. It also gives you an opportunity to give the tree another good shake to remove any loose needles. With this in mind, you should give careful thought to the tree decorations you use. Also, a battery operated LED light string is easier to remove and/or move about than lights plugged into a mains socket.
4. Planting A Real Christmas Tree In The Garden
Container-grown Christmas trees are smaller in size for a reason; their root system is restricted. However, firs don't respond well to being planted out and then dug up and repotted so, if you're hoping to keep your potted Christmas tree in the garden and bring it indoors next Christmas, it's best to leave it in the container.
The key to caring for a container-grown Christmas tree in your garden is to place it in the right spot. Most fir trees prefer cool, moist conditions so place the tree in a sheltered spot but, particularly during hot summers, not in direct sunlight - and keep it watered during dry spells. A feed of fir-appropriate fertiliser in the spring will give your potted Christmas tree a boost and it will, hopefully, grow some new shoots for more even decorations next year.
Looking For A Festive Planter For Your Potted Christmas Tree?
If you're looking for something a bit different to stand your potted Christmas tree in this year, why not take a look at our small wooden Christmas tree planters. They're all handmade in our Devon workshop from FSC certified pine, are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and come in a range of gorgeous festive colours. You can also choose to add wheels and/or a hessian liner - particularly useful if you plan to move your potted tree to the garden after Christmas. Best of all, you get to choose what words or message you would like printed on your planter, making a truly unique centre-piece for your Christmas tree.