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Consider a Potted Tree This Christmas if You Have Limited Space

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With Christmas pressing down, you are likely wondering what kind of tree to get this year. If this is the year for a non-traditional tree, you are in luck. Many people who live in an apartment or simply don’t have the space for a traditional Christmas tree will appreciate that they can still decorate their space and enjoy these fresh-smelling and beautiful potted tree alternatives.

Alternative Christmas tree options

Purchasing a living potted tree is a great way to celebrate the holiday season in a small space. Depending on the type of tree that you choose, many can be planted outdoors after the holiday season. This is a real win/win for you and the environment. Not only do you get to enjoy the tree, but you also get to beautify and purify the landscape. 

Here are some of the best choices when it comes to potted trees.

Norfolk Island pine 

This beautiful pine has short, soft needles that are deep green and very widely separated. The layered branches make this tree perfect for small ornaments. Wrap your pot in a cute burlap bag and finish off with a festive bow.

Italian Stone pine 

The blue-green needles of this tree native to Spain and Portugal prefer dry and cool temperatures. Those that live in hot and humid climates will not have much luck transplanting this outside after Christmas. 

Weeping fig

Who says that you have to have a fir tree for Christmas? Weeping figs are an excellent non-fir alternative that can be decorated and enjoyed for the holiday season. String some mini lights up the trunk/stem of this plant and throw some lightweight ribbon strips from the inner branches for a cool and modern festive feel.

Port Orford cedar

Also known as a False cypress or Lawson cedar, this popular tree is native to northern California and up into southern Oregon and has a sweet pine aroma. The dwarf cultivar of this tree is “Elwood” and is perfect for a potted tabletop Christmas tree. Once the Christmas season has passed, you can plant this tree outside in warmer climates in well drained soil. If happy, it will reward you by growing up to 60 feet tall.

Leyland cypress

This cypress is a hybrid of two redwoods from the West Coast. It has beautiful dark green foliage, which is perfect for ornaments. Like the Port Orford cedar, this tree prefers a warm outdoor climate and well-draining soil. Because it is susceptible to root disease, be sure not to overwater once you move outdoors.

Alberta spruce 

The needles of this tree are super soft and silky and shaped just like a Christmas tree, so this is a great option for those who like traditional but need to go smaller. For best results, keep an Alberta spruce in a cool and brightly lit location and transplant in the spring.

Other alternatives to consider

There are several creative ways to cultivate a festive feel inside your home.  A variety of plants can help you achieve just the look you are going for. Consider potted rosemary, which is an evergreen herb with a shrubby appearance. You can even prune and train a rosemary plant into a beautiful cone shape for Christmas. A bonus is that this little herb can support heavier ornaments because of its woody stems. 

Poinsettias add elegance and a pop of color that symbolize the Christmas season. Just be careful with this one as the leaves are poisonous to children and pets if eaten.

Other plants that bring Christmas cheer include amaryllis gloxinia, azaleas, kalanchoe, and the ever-popular Christmas cactus.

Happy decorating!

-Susan Paterson

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