Plant a Christmas Tree

How To Plant Christmas Trees: An Expert Guide to Creating Your Own Winter Wonderland

Tuesday 07th Nov 2023 |

Aren’t Christmas trees fabulous? The lush greenery, the fresh scent, the twinkling lights and shiny baubles…

What if you could grow your own live Christmas tree in the garden, ready to decorate every festive season to delight friends, family, neighbours, and passers-by? It’s not as difficult as you may think, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how easy growing your own Christmas tree is to achieve. Find more Christmas Trees at Christmas Trees Direct.

Why Should I Plant a Christmas Tree?

There are plenty of reasons why you should grow your own Christmas tree, aside from being able to make it into a beacon of sparkle and shine every December.

Christmas trees are evergreen, which means they retain their lush, green needles all year round. Evergreen trees and shrubs make the perfect base for any garden design. They are a constant presence that provides height and colour interest throughout the year, complementing flowers in spring and summer and making a standalone statement in autumn and winter.

Growing your own Christmas tree is also good for the environment. With an excellent specimen in the garden, a plastic tree is unnecessary, and you’ll save a tree from being cut down every year too. However, trees also provide oxygen, clearing the air of pollutants and providing shelter for birds and small mammals.

Are There Different Types of Christmas Tree?

Yes, there are many different types of Christmas trees to choose from. Before purchasing your tree, consider what you want from it. For example:

  • How big would you like it to grow, and what is the maximum size of tree your outdoor space can accommodate?
  • Would you prefer soft, rather than prickly, needles?
  • What colour of tree do you like best?
  • If you’re bringing the tree indoors, are you concerned about needle drop?

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular types of real Christmas trees, just in case you don’t know where to start.

Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana)

The Nordmann fir is arguably the most popular variety of Christmas trees in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. Its dark green needles are soft yet resilient, and don’t drop much. Nordmann fir trees are renowned for their delightfully symmetrical shape and fresh forest pine fragrance.

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

With a classic shape and timeless look, Norway spruce is a conical tree with a strong pine fragrance. Norway spruce is popular because of its longevity indoors, as well as its high needle retention.

Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)

The fraser fir is an attractive tree with a compact, conical growing shape and a fresh citrussy fragrance. The needles are flat and soft and don’t drop easily, making this the perfect tree to bring into a house with children and pets.

Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)

Also known as Colorado spruce, blue spruce boasts dark green needles with a blue-grey tint that gives them a slightly frosted look. The densely packed needles don’t shed easily and give off a fresh pine scent that permeates the room.

Prepare the Tree for Moving Outside

The success rate of planting Christmas trees outside depends on many factors. But one of the most often neglected is preparing the tree for the temperature change. Even the most cared-for tree in the world would be shocked and even die after being moved straight from a cosy living room into a hole in a freezing-cold garden.

To maximise the chances of your Christmas tree surviving until next year, move it outdoors gradually. Keep it in a cool room, then move it into the garage or shed to reacclimitise to outdoor temperatures before it completes its journey to the garden.

Should I Plant My Christmas Tree in a Pot or the Ground?

Deciding whether to keep your tree in a pot or plant it out in the garden largely depends on whether or not you wish to bring it inside next Christmas. If so, growing your tree in a pot is best. Doing this means the tree doesn’t need to get dug up again, disturbing the root ball and risking root damage.

However, if you plan for your Christmas tree to remain outside all year round, it’s best to plant it in the garden. Planted in the ground, the tree will grow taller and faster as the roots have more room to spread. The healthy root ball is also better protected against frost damage when grown in the ground, especially when a layer of mulch is provided before the chilly temperatures set it.

How To Plant and Care For a Christmas Tree in Garden Pots and Containers

Choose a sunny, sheltered spot for your containerised trees to continue growing.

Real Christmas trees are fine to leave in their pots until spring. When the growing season begins, check the tree for signs it may need transplanted into a larger container. You may notice roots growing out of the drainage holes or pushing the tree upwards, for example.

Bear in mind that potted trees need watered much more often than those grown in the ground. Water regularly, ensuring the pot has plenty of drainage holes for excess moisture to drain freely.

How To Plant and Care For a Christmas Tree In Your Garden

Dig a hole slightly larger than the tree’s root ball. You may want to do this in autumn before the soil becomes hard and difficult to work with.

Choose a dry day that isn’t too cold and place the tree in the centre of the hole. Ask someone to hold it straight and steady.

Gently arrange the roots and fill the hole with fresh soil, ensuring the tree is planted at the correct depth with the soil level the same as it was in the pot.

Firm the soil down and water the tree and the surrounding area well.

Mulch the area around the tree to help protect it against frost damage and to help retain soil moisture.

Unless the tree is positioned in a very sheltered spot, you may wish to add a stake for support.

Keep the tree well-watered during its first year while the roots establish, and mulch annually for the first five years.

Can I Plant a Christmas Tree Without Roots?

Unfortunately not. If you’ve bought a freshly cut Christmas tree, you can’t plant it out in the garden when the festivities are over. Freshly cut trees are like flower arrangements – placed in water and looked after well, they can ‘survive’ for a few weeks. However, as soon as they are cut, trees and flowers are dying and won’t grow new roots, no matter how well you look after them. It’s impossible to keep a cut-down Christmas tree alive much past the twelfth night.

If you’d like to plant your Christmas tree in the garden in the new year, it’s best to buy a pot-grown tree. A Christmas tree grown in its pot has the root ball intact. The roots haven’t been discarded by chopping the tree down, and the root system hasn’t been disturbed by digging them up and placing them in the container to be used as potted Christmas trees. A pot-grown or container-grown tree is planted in the pot or container as a seedling, so is much more likely to survive being transplanted into the ground.

Next Christmas

When the festive season comes back around, you can use your living trees all over again. Potted trees can get gradually moved back indoors. Meanwhile, those planted out in the garden can get covered in lights and decorations in situ. It is possible to dig up planted trees and bring them indoors. However, this risks root damage and your tree may not take again when it’s moved back outside.

Warm up this winter with these delicious recipes