Start an eco-friendly tradition this holiday season with a living tree, one that you can trim with your favorite decorations and then plant in your yard after your celebrations are over. Here are some simple tips from Millcreek Gardens, your top garden center and plant nursery in Salt Lake City, for choosing and caring for a living Christmas tree.

Living Christmas Trees

Plan Ahead

Think about where the tree will be located. Keep it away from heater vents, fireplaces, and drafts. Though living Christmas trees won’t drop needles like a fresh-cut tree would, you’ll probably need plastic sheeting to protect the floor from dirt that could spill out of its pot. Place the tree on a saucer to help collect any excess water. Casters are optional, but a good idea for ease of movement in and out of the room.

You’ll also want to leave your living Christmas tree in its nursery container for its time indoors. Repotting isn’t necessary, and can be quite messy. If you’d like, you can place the potted tree into a decorative container, as long as it’s large enough to fit inside.

Decorate and Celebrate

Once your tree is inside and placed where you want it, it’s time to begin decorating! When it comes to decorating a living Christmas tree, there isn’t much of a difference compared to a traditional cut tree. Hang garland, lights, tinsel, and ornaments just like you would on a cut tree. Use a tree skirt around the base.

Think of your tree as a temporary houseplant. While the tree is inside, you’ll also want to water it regularly. The easiest method for watering live Christmas trees is to place a pile of ice cubes atop the soil. As they melt, they slowly release water, which is gradually absorbed by the roots.

Take it Outside

Display the tree indoors no longer than seven days. Most trees would require planting at some point after the holidays, or at least placement outdoors where they would be exposed to a normal degree of winter precipitation. However, first move the tree out of the warm house and into a colder garage or breezeway for three days so it can acclimate into the colder environment.

During winter, a tree is dormant as its metabolic state slows down to limit its overall exposure to adverse conditions. This means that it’s as ‘asleep’ as it will ever be during the year.. If the ground is soft enough to dig a hole, you can plant a tree. If there’s a thin layer of frost, oftentimes the ground is workable underneath. If you’d rather wait for warmer weather, you can leave the tree outside and plant it in the spring. Regardless of when you plant, check out our handy planting guide.

For more on how to go about ordering and decorating a living Christmas tree this holiday season, or to learn about any of our garden supplies or other plants and trees, speak to our expert staff at Millcreek Gardens today!