It’s that time of year again. During the hustle and bustle that accompanies the holiday season, we somehow manage to find the time to continue the time-honored tradition of selecting and decorating the perfect Christmas tree. But after we’ve found that perfect tree, what should you do next? How do we make sure that our “perfect” tree continues to look perfect through the holiday season? This is a common question for us here at Van Wilgen’s, and I would like to go over some very simple steps for keeping your cut tree looking great.
It’s important to note that this article deals specifically with cut trees. We would be more than happy to assist you with any live tree (roots still attached) care at any of our locations. Before I list the steps that I recommend for keeping your tree looking its best, it may help to think of a cut tree like a large bouquet of flowers. Many of the practices we employ with the care of a vase of freshly cut flowers transfer over to our care of cut Christmas trees. Try these tips and I have no doubt you’ll be enjoying that perfect tree through the holiday season!
- Choose a stand that is large enough for your tree. Shaving down the bark to get the tree to fit is bad practice. Those outer layers of bark are the best at absorbing water, which is the most important part of keeping our tree fresh!
- Have a fresh cut done before putting the tree into the stand. This increases the water absorption capability of the tree.
- Get your tree in water AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after making this cut. Keep the cut free of dirt. This is the most critical point. The sooner you can get the tree into the water, the better.
- If you’re not putting the tree into a stand immediately after the fresh-cut, it’s ok! Just be sure to put that tree into a bucket of water until you’re ready to put it up!
- After your tree is in the stand, keep it full of water. Your tree will generally “drink” the most water within the first few days of being set up. It’s critical that the stand remains full of water so check often! At the very least, check daily throughout the holiday season.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the tree does NOT help with water intake.
- The temperature of the water that is added to the stand does NOT make a difference. Also, never add anything to the water to preserve freshness other than products that are specifically formulated to do so. Prolong is a good example of one. Using home remedies or solutions found on the internet have no effect at best, and at worst may hasten the decline of the tree!
- Try to keep the tree away from direct heat sources whenever possible. For example, away from heat vents/registers, fireplaces, direct sunlight, space heaters, etc. Also, use lights that produce less heat such as L.E.D.’s. This has the added benefit of less energy consumption and longer life. Both of which are better for the environment!
In the end, it is all about maintaining and keeping moisture in your tree. If you take the steps to get your tree into water as soon as you can after the fresh-cut and keep the water in your stand full at all times, you will have that perfect Christmas tree looking its best through the holiday season! We hope you have the very best and brightest holiday season! And we look forward to seeing you soon!
There’s so much to love about the holiday season — the cooking and baking, the time spent with family and friends, and the festive plants. Poinsettias or a blooming Christmas cactus are compact yet boast of holiday spirit. The more plants, the merrier!
With just a little care, holiday houseplants can continue to thrive throughout the year. Knowing how to care for them helps to keep them beautiful. Repot later if needed.
So whether you’re getting or giving holiday houseplants, use these tips to help keep them blooming.
How to Care for Holiday Favorites
Poinsettia: No other plant quite marks the beginning of the holiday season like the poinsettia. With more than 100 varieties available today in colors of red, white, pink, and more, this plant can be found just about everywhere during the holidays.
First things first, don’t let poinsettias get cold on the ride home from the store. Keep trips and exposure to cold as short as possible. Once home, these cheery plants thrive on six hours of indirect light a day away from cold drafts and need proper watering. When the plant needs water, remove the decorative foil and let soak in a few inches of water for an hour or so. Let excess drain and rewrap.
Tip: Take the poinsettia out of its foil and place it in a decorative container.
Norfolk Island pine: A mini Christmas tree, this festive plant looks lovely when adorned with mini lights and homemade ornaments or just plain on its own.
Give pines about six to eight hours of light per day. Any less and lower branches are likely to drop. Water when dry to the touch. Fertilize Norfolk Island pines bi-monthly with our new liquid houseplant fertilizer to keep them happy and healthy.
Tip: Pines can last for years and be decorated for other seasons as well!
Christmas cactus: Though this cactus is known for blooming around Christmas, it’ll stay strong throughout the year and periodically rebloom. Its ruffled flowers range in color from reds to pinks to oranges and creams.
Give this plant bright indirect light and place it outdoors in a semi-shady spot during the summer months. Allow the plant to become slightly dry between waterings. Keeps this holiday plant reblooming for years to come by giving it a rest during the fall and placing it in the dark for about six to eight weeks, encouraging new blooms.
Tip: No matter how diligent you are about care, bloom time may vary based on variety. Whether or not it blooms in time for the holidays, you’ll still have winter blooms to enjoy.
Cyclamen: Cyclamen’s bright flowers in pink, white, or red are great for adding a pop of color where you need it. With the right conditions, they can bloom for more than eight weeks.
Cyclamen likes light, but not super-bright light. Keep the temperature consistent and deadhead spent flowers and leaves. Pour water into a saucer and let the plant absorb it for 15 to 20 minutes.
Tip: During the summer, cyclamen’s foliage turns yellow and dies back. This is their dormant period when they’re storing energy for the next flowering season.