Choosing a live evergreen to serve as your Christmas tree brings a fresh scent and a bit of the outdoors into your home. But it will also bring a rash of falling needles and perpetual sap-induced stickiness. If a full-size fir doesn’t fit in your household, why not try a tabletop version for the benefit of a live tree with a small portion of the mess?
Dwarf spruces, firs, and pines usually come in a gallon-size container and should be bought from a reputable nursery for lasting power. Pick a variety that you an incorporate into your yard once the holiday season has passed.
Once at home with your mini tree, let it sit under a slow drip from the sink until fully soaked. After the initial watering, you will only need to water again once the pot begins to feel dry (stick your finger in the soil every few days to test). If the needles appear to be falling out faster than usual, mist the tree daily to help balance the effects of winter’s dry air.
Place the container in a cool spot in your house, preferably near a sunny window. If you do intend to move the tree into your garden, dose it with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength on a monthly basis.
Want to avoid a fir or pine altogether? Rosemary makes a fragrant alternative and can easily be shaped to appear festive—use the clippings for holiday cooking! The stiff boughs even support ornaments and decorations. These plants prefer to dry out between waterings.
For those who’d prefer to stay away from needles altogether, try another evergreen—a potted holly. In the spring, you can transplant the shrub into your landscap and make the birds in your area very happy.
For more on decorating for the holidays, consider: