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How to care for your living Christmas tree

If you were lucky enough to receive one of our Letterbox Mini Christmas Trees or the Potted Spruce, you'll want to know how to take care of it until you can put it back on display next year.

We spoke to our plant expert, Lark Hanham, for her tips to keep your mini Christmas tree thriving.

When some think of Christmas, warming images of family get togethers, celebrations and overindulgences are often evoked. Others might think of gifts from or for that special someone, or a particular festive food they enjoy. However, for me, one of my go-to Christmas mental images is enjoying the sight of a beautiful Christmas tree.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most eye-catching specimen, with garish flashing lights under a barrow load of glitter. It can be a more modest addition which gently twinkles in the corner of a room, a humble living Picea with colour coordinated decorations and cute little fairy lights.

Each year I eagerly await the moment I can wheel my living tree into my house. He’s far too heavy to carry these days! I feel a sense of pride as I squeeze him through my living room door and admire how he’s grown in stature and grace. Of course this means I need to buy another decoration or two. However, this in itself has become a pre-Christmas ritual: each year the new bauble or carefully chosen decoration brings a new sentiment or memory. A little keepsake or memento of that trip with friends to the Christmas markets.

For years now Arena Flowers has been supplying thousands of homes with living Christmas trees. We hand select and hand tie each gift with love and our customers lovingly enjoy it in their home for several weeks, often as the focal point of many festive scenes. A question we often get asked is “how do I care for my tree in the home and how can I continue to enjoy my Christmas tree after the celebrations have ended?” As we love sustainability here at Arena Flowers, we thought we’d give you an insight into how you can repurpose your beloved tree, so you too can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

How to care for your tree while it’s inside

Step 1

Choose the perfect spot for your tree. Position it away from radiators or fireplaces or anywhere it will experience extreme or fluctuations in temperature. A bay window makes a lovely position as it can sparkle through the glass and be seen from outside too.

Step 2

Don’t forget to water your living tree. Every three days do the finger moisture test to see if it needs any water. The soil in the pot should feel cool and slightly moist to the touch. In cooler homes you may find that it won’t need topping up every three days, but in houses with fires, central heating and dehumidifiers, you might find your tree will need more moisture and a more regular watering regime. However, be careful not to allow your tree to stand in water as this can damage its roots.

How to care for your tree after the Christmas period

Step 1

Choose a suitable location in the garden for your tree. It’s super hardy, meaning it can tolerate temperatures well below 0 degrees. Picea are undemanding, easy-to-grow specimens, which can tolerate shady conditions. However, I’ve positioned my little Christmas tree in full sun and he seems to thrive.

Step 2

Use a plastic pot with drainage holes. The sizing is important: select a pot which allows two inches either side of the tree’s root ball. A 2 to 3 litre pot is perfect and will mean you won't need to re-pot it for around two years.

Step 3

A standard multi-purpose compost will do for your mini tree. Start by putting compost in to the pot up to where the bottom of the root ball will sit.

Step 4

Remove the original plastic pot from your tree, and tease the roots away from the main root ball.

This is an important step because it helps the roots spread in the compost and absorb as many nutrients as possible.

Step 5

Place your tree in its new pot and fill in the gaps with remaining compost. Be thorough and make sure there aren't any air pockets by packing in the compost with your fingers.

Step 6

Water your tree thoroughly when first planted, and ensure that it doesn’t dry out or stand in water throughout the year. If you notice the foliage is browning, you might have let the plant dry out a little. Older needles will drop and in time be replaced with new fresh green needles.

Step 7

Give it a feed. I treat my Christmas tree with a slow-release granular feed every March, which slowly feeds my tree for the rest of the year.

Step 8

Bring it into the house again for next Christmas and go and treat yourself to some special keepsake decorations.

By Lark Hanham