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Connecticut Garden Journal: Alternative Christmas Trees

Dec 7, 2017

You see the signs all around the state. Live Christmas trees for sale. They're beautiful, providing an old fashioned charm to our homes for the holidays. Some, such as balsam fir, have a woodsy smell, while others, such as blue spruce have a blue tinge.

But not everyone has the room or desire for a fresh cut, evergreen tree for the holidays. For folks living in apartments, condos, or small homes or those wanting to celebrate the holidays with alternative live decorations, here are some ideas.

I have a friend who decorates an evergreen tree each year for the holidays, but never has to buy one.

How does she do it? She uses her large Norfolk Island Pine houseplant as the Christmas tree. She decorates it with favorite ornaments, lights, and tinsel and it transformed from “that tree in the window” to a center piece for the holidays.

Other houseplants to try as an alternative live holiday trees includes ficus, rubber trees, and Dracena. No, they don't look like the classic Christmas tree shape, but that's the point. Just don't expect to load them with decorations. Find space for a few lights and precious ornaments to hang.

For folks who want a tabletop live tree, try rosemary or citrus. These small plants are available this time of year for potting up and decorating and then moving outdoors come spring.

Finally, forego the tree all together and just do an elaborate tabletop decoration using fresh greens, branches, vines and berries. Try a small stump or thick branch as a base and decorate with holly berries, pine cones, grape vines, milkweed pods, and other wild plants.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about citrus. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.