How to Care for a Live Christmas Tree at Home?

Happy Holidays! Hey Guys, Christmas time is here, and it’s time for every garden lover to get ready for a green Christmas. Do you like live Christmas trees either cut or potted for decoration. Yes, Then today’s topic is definitely for you. Here we will discuss How to Care for a Live Christmas Tree? This is something we all need to know. What’s better than having a fresh healthy Christmas tree and having it decorated for the party. It will be even better if you have grown it on your own. Otherwise, lot-bought Christmas trees are also great for the green Christmas decoration.

I know those plastic trees are way more cheaper and durable but Holidays seem incomplete without a live Christmas tree. At least for me, a live Christmas tree has special importance. I’ve had one potted plant that fits perfectly for Christmas decorations for the last 5 years. And yes, I spend a lot of effort and time to keep it healthy, I like it that way. I hope you guys also love your Christmas tree that much or even more. If you agree then join me in today’s discussion for live Christmas tree care at home.

live Christmas tree
live Christmas tree

Check out my previous post: How to pick a Christmas Tree? Save money

Differences: Cut vs Potted Christmas Tree

A Live Christmas tree can usually have two types. It can be a store-bought cut plant or one growing in a planter. Both of these are good and have their importance.

Cut plants can only last for the Christmas holiday. Whereas the live potted plants can stay green for years. It only requires proper care and lots of love.  I think it won’t be a problem for anyone.

The basics are the same yet some unique differences can affect plant care. The obvious difference is that Store-bought cut Christmas trees are cut plants. They don’t have a root system to keep it alive. So it is clear that these plants will die and sry out with time. You can only try to keep them fresh for as long as you can.

This is not the case with a live potted Christmas tree. Instead, they are fresh and green always. They have a proper root system intact and this is a great advantage for them. Though there are a few problems that can occur with a live potted plant.

Sudden change in temperature due to shifting can stress the plant and it can lose leaves. Suppose if you bring in a live healthy potted Christmas tree and it turns into a stem skeleton in a day or two. It will not look and feel good. Also, this can waste your year-round efforts. These potted Christmas trees are usually not big. If you like those tall Christmas trees then this might not suit you.

Overall, both Cut trees and potted Christmas plants have some pros and cons. The choice is up to you, both are fine if it fits your style and needs this Christmas.

When to Move Live Potted Christmas Tree Indoor?

Move it inside a day or two before the Christmas celebration. Wait till the last time to keep the plant safe from shock due to sudden temperature change.

Dwarf Spruce and firs are commonly grown as potted Christmas trees. They are well adapted to the cold outside temperature. But if you shift them indoors in warm humid conditions then this can induce artificial Autumn or fall conditions. Ultimately this can lead to fading, drooping, and falling of leaves. It will leave the plant bare and vulnerable to the ongoing winter conditions.

Therefore it is better to wait for the final Christmas weekend to shift these green plants indoors. If you are planning the party in an open garden then you can start the decoration as early as the first week of December. Outside garden and patio conditions are favorable with natural plant growth. So you can start the decoration weeks before in these areas.

Also Read: Best Christmas Tree Varieties to Grow in Pots

How long can You keep a live Christmas tree indoors?

Keep a live Christmas tree indoor for a maximum time of 7 to 10 days.

You can keep a cut Christmas tree indoor as long as it stays fresh. Usually, it will last till the first week of January or maybe couple more days. Latter you have to discard it. Still, It is suggested to discard the spent tree whenever local collectors arrive. It will save you some money otherwise needed to do it yourself.

If it is a potted plant then it can stay alive for long. But you should move it away from the heater or thermostat. It is better to shift the potted Christmas tree outside a week after the Christmas celebration. This will balance the temperature change of the plant and it will thrive in its obvious conditions in the garden. Make sure you place the live plant in its original position, not in an open garden where snow can damage the branches.

Check out: Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate Christmas Tree

How to Care for a Cut Christmas Tree?

  1. Buy Christmas tree fresh from a nearby lot:

  2. The first step to caring for a cut plant during the Christmas celebration is to get it as fresh as you can. You can only get it fresh at your local Christmas tree lot. They will have the best one compatible with your local temperature. Don’t forget to tip the salesman to get the best tree. They usually want it to clear the lot as soon as they can. And if you tip them extra for their profit then they will help you out with the task of selection. Trust me a lot of salesmen know exactly which one is the best for Christmas. Use your dealing skills and get the best one for your family and friends this Christmas.
  3. Only Chose local Christmas tree Variety:

  4. It is a good technique to get only those tree-grown nearby. The best part with this practice is that you will get a fresh and healthy piece. It will stay fresh as it is compatible with your locality. Choosing an exotic cut plant for Christmas decoration can be a mistake. It will not get fresh and can get more damage due to temperature change.
  5. Prepare The Cut tree for Christmas at Home:

  6. This is again very important. Cut the lower portion of the fresh-cut Christmas tree, just 5-10 inches above the original cut to open a healthy cambium. This will help the tree to absorb water and stay alive as long as it can. Old cuts quickly dry out and will not help the plant to drink water. So wait until you reach your home and then prepare the tree for the Decoration.
  7. Don’t Place the Cut tree near Fireplace or heater:

  8.  Maintain a healthy distance from the fireplace and heater to your Christmas tree. The temperature rise can dry out the plant and it can droop quickly. So try to keep it cool as much as possible inside your home. You can make a safe spot by observing the temperature change. It should not feel warm and cozy, It’s not like that for the plant.
  9. Don’t forget to water the Cut Plant whenever Needed:

  10. Usually, the newly cut plant will absorb water quickly for the first couple of days. Later it will slow down absorption. So keep an eye on the water leveling the stand or container. You may have to refill it twice every day at least for a day or two.
  11. Spray The Leaves with Water to keep them fresh:

  12. Meanwhile, gently spray the leaves once or twice every day to prevent them from drying. Water can also protect the plant from indoor warm temperatures. It is helpful but doesn’t overdo this. Too much water on the leaves in warm humid indoor conditions can cause fungal growth. It stinks and nobody likes that. So make a proper balance and keep the foliage cool and dry.
  13. Maintain space around Christmas tree to avoid fungal growth:

  14. Live Christmas trees can develop fungal spots and they stink a lot. First of all lower the water and moisture level to avoid fungal growth. Next, maintain some space around the Christmas tree to allow proper aeration. The air itself can heal a lot of problems. Also, this will allow room for movement and decoration.

Check out: How to Dispose of a Christmas Tree responsibly?

How to care for a potted Christmas tree?

Fertilize the Potted Christmas tree 20 to 30 days before the first week of December. This should be the final fall feed to the Christmas plant. This will keep it warm and full till spring. Don’t fertilize it during the Christmas celebration, this is not the right time for feeding your live Christmas tree.

Move the potted Christmas indoors just a day or two before Christmas Eve. This will keep the plant safe from the warm indoor condition. Never move live potted Christmas tree indoor early in December. It will not stay healthy for celebration in this case.

Next keep it away from the room heater or fireplace. Avoid sudden increases in temperature as it can damage the plant. Always keep in mind this plant should stay alive and healthy for next Christmas. You shouldn’t damage it to death. So keep it safe from heat exposed else it will start drooping and losing lots of leaves.

Lower the watering cycle to keep the plant in a dormant state as the temperature itself is sufficient to wake it up from dormancy. If you water the plant when it’s warm then it will start active growth and next will get damage once moved outside. It’s not good for the live Christmas plants to grow in the peak winter season as the cold can drain out all its stored resources.

Don’t forget to move the plant outside to its previous position after a couple of days of the Christmas celebration. It should not stay inside in warm condition for more than 7 to 10 days. Otherwise, the plant health will deteriorate and it can lose its foliage.

Read this: Ranunculus Asiaticus: Common Pests and Diseases

How to keep live Christmas tree alive for long?

Keep it hydrated as long as you can. Yes, proper hydration is the only option to keep the Christmas tree alive for long. No matter whether it is a cut plant or a potted Christmas tree.

As long as it is full of moisture it will look and feel fresh. Some techniques help extend this duration. Subsequent bottom cutting is a common practice to extend the life of cutting Christmas trees.

The mild sugar solution is sometimes helpful in keeping cut plants fresh for a long. Although this technique is not very useful for all types of Christmas trees.

Potted plants can be fed properly. Well-fed and hydrated potted plants will stay healthy and green even weeks after the Christmas celebration. It will last long for years with continuous growth.

Keep the plants cool and away from heat sources. This can also help with extending the life of a live Christmas tree.

How often to Water a live Christmas Tree?

Water daily during the warm growing season. But Never overwater, Yes watering is necessary but too much of anything can be harmful. Add water to live Christmas tree only when it looks droopy or the soil looks dry. Else it is not advised to water the live plants, especially during Christmas celebration. As warm hydrated Christmas plants can freeze out once shifted outside. It can get a thermal shock that can cause root rot.

Summer to late fall is the best time to feed and hydrate the Christmas tree on a daily purpose. But once the temperature falls and the soil starts to freeze stop watering. This will help the plant to adapt to the cold temperature and stay alive throughout the winter. If you water the plant at this time then it will wake up from dormancy. New growth will start and the plant will lose all of its reserve resources. This can eventually kill the plant.

Special Tips to keep your Live Christmas tree Fresh

  1. Shift the potted Christmas tree in partial shade 10 to 12 weeks before Christmas. It will force the plant to adapt to its surrounding. This acclimatization will protect the plant from sudden temperature changes. Move the plant out in this same spot once the celebration is over and it will adjust to it in no time.
  2. Feed the Christmas trees with nitrogen-rich fertilizer in summer and fall. This will make the plant greener and bushier.
  3. Spray the plant with seaweed extract to add up nutrients and continue the growth slowly throughout the winter season. This should be done with plants in shade, not with garden plants else they will freeze out.
  4. Whitewash the lover portion of the Live Christmas tree to avoid any pest or fungal growth. this will keep the plant fresh and green. This can prevent foul smell buildup, especially with cut plants.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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