For many of us a fake Christmas tree simply will not do! If you find a boxed tree from the loft too sterile and manufactured and prefer the real thing, potted Christmas trees might just fit the bill!
Whilst most Christmas trees are sawn at the base when harvested in the field, there’s still a strong demand for potted Christmas trees. However, the choice can be a little confusing.
Potted vs Pot Grown
For the very best chances of success, buy a “Got Grown” Christmas tree. These are normally grown on a nursery, with all the correct compost, fertilisers and care regimes. Their whole life has been spent in a pot and thus, and most significantly, have their entire root system intact.
Containerised or Potted Christmas trees have spent most of their life growing in a field, usually by a professional Christmas tree grower. They will have applied a thorough care programme and probably used their expert knowledge to carry out specialist pruning to produce the very best shaped plants. Just before Christmas, the grower will lift the tree with some of its roots and pot it into a container, giving the appearance of a pot grown tree. There will be enough root to anchor the tree firmly into the pot which gives the consumer a convenient and attractive solution. It requires no further Christmas tree stands to be used and there is usually enough root to take up some water from the compost to rehydrate the tree. Chances of long-term survival are limited however, we hear of many customers who try and indeed some do succeed in keeping their potted tree going. That said, we’d always recommend a pot grown tree if this is your main aim.
Norway Spruce is the traditional Christmas Tree with its classic shape and unmistakable aroma. Spruces grow relatively quickly, so they’ll be the cheapest and usually the biggest. On the down side, their needle retention isn’t the best so they’ll need more looking after if they’re kept in a warm house.
Nordman Firs have the best needle retention and are better suited to being used indoors. Their generous bushy shape creates a very full tree in time; but they’re much slower growing than the spruce and so their price tag’s a little bigger.
Caring for Potted Christmas Trees
It goes without saying that the less time your tree is indoors the better as the warm dry air, especially from modern central heating, is not it’s idea of fun. And it also shouldn’t need too much pointing out that the warmer the room temperature, the more your tree will deteriorate. But having pointed this out, there are steps you can take to counteract this and keep your tree happier for longer.
The most important consideration is to ensure your tree receives plenty of water to replace what it looses from its needles into the room’s atmosphere. So make sure the tree is sited where you can access it with a jug or watering can and be sure to sit the pot on a saucer to avoid any mishaps! Whilst its impossible to give a rule of thumb as to how often any tree will need watering it’s best to check the pot everyday and if the compost has gone dry, give it a drink!
To combat the effects of the dry air caused by central heating, its possible to create the trees own little microclimate. You can do this simply by standing the tree’s pot on a large tray or saucer filled with pebbles. You are then aiming for there to always be a reservoir of water in the bottom, but with the tree’s pot sitting on top of the pebbles and not sitting in water itself. The warmth will then cause the reservoir’s water to evaporate, providing some much welcome humidity around the tree.
Planting Your Christmas Tree
A little time and trouble spent at planting time always goes a long way. Creating the ideal soil conditions to encourage good, quick root development helps overcome the ordeal of Christmas indoors. Having given your tree a thorough water, dig a hole twice the width of the pot and almost half as deep again. Mix into your heap of loose soil some compost and a couple of handfuls of bonemeal fertiliser and do the same into the bottom of the hole. Fill this lovely rich mixture back into the hole with your tree and its roots will soon be searching into the mix.