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Caring for Your Living Christmas Tree

Meredith Gaines — Nov 10, 2022

Do you know what’s even better than a cut Christmas tree? A living Christmas tree! You might think your only Christmas tree options are a fake one or a cut one, but living Christmas trees are the fun, eco-friendly alternative for your holiday festivities! 

A living Christmas tree is a planted spruce, fir, or pine that stays in its pot. By the end of the holiday season, you can plant it in your yard instead of tossing it to the curb, dragging it to the basement, or hauling it up to the attic. 

Benefits of Living Christmas Trees

A living Christmas tree might be a good option if you:

  • Like the feel and texture of a real tree
  • Love that fresh evergreen smell
  • Want to plant it into your yard to continue enjoying
  • Appreciate eco-friendly alternatives
  • Enjoy keeping traditions & making memories 

Living Christmas Tree Care

Just like any house plant, your living Christmas tree will need the proper care to thrive. Read on to learn how to keep your tree shining all season long and beyond!


Your tree will come carefully packaged in its nursery pot. Once it has arrived, unpack it and give it a good drink of water. We recommend leaving it in its nursery container for the first few days to acclimate and then replanting. Use an evergreen soil mix and plant it in a container that’s around 2 inches bigger than the pot it came in. 

FGT Tip: Let your tree acclimate to your area in a protected spot outside, and don't forget the plant saucer when watering indoors! 

planting evergreen tree


It’s best to water your tree with room temperature or slightly cold water. Feel down in the soil with your finger, and water once the soil is dry a few inches down. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not very wet or soggy. Avoid overly dry soil, as this might result in needle drop and a dry tree, especially if you choose to decorate it with lights!

FGT Tip: Most people tend to over-water their plants. Instead of occasionally watering your plant deeply, try light and frequent waterings, checking if it needs moisture by feeling the soil each time. 


The best location for your living Christmas tree is a brightly lit area with good airflow. Try to keep your tree away from any drastic temperature changes that could occur from a vent or fireplace, or a direct path of an outside opening door that’s used frequently. Cold blasts from an outside door or the heat from a fireplace can stress your tree. 

If you’re tight on space or find you don't have enough light, another idea is to keep it in front of your house to bring some holiday cheer to the outside of your home. You can always enjoy your tree in one location, and then move it to your desired spot closer to the holidays. 

Norfolk Island Pine


As mentioned above, the ideal location for your living Christmas tree is one with bright light. Try to put your tree by a south-facing window where it will get around 6-8 hours or more of direct sunlight per day. When you eventually plant it outside, choose a similarly sunny location. 


You won’t need to be concerned with fertilizing your Christmas tree indoors, especially if you repot using potting soil. When planting, use a root stimulant made for evergreens and start fertilizing with an evergreen-specific formula come springtime. 

What to do After the Holidays 

After the holidays have come and gone, you can still make use of your tree! Start a new tradition and locate a spot in your yard to plant your tree and enjoy it for years to come. To best help your tree acclimate, follow our tips below:

  • Slowly acclimate your tree back to the outdoors. Chances are, you keep your home at a very comfortable temperature. A nice 72℉ may be nice for you but not so nice for your tree. Avoid the shock of jumping temperatures and reintroduce your tree slowly back outside by keeping it in a sunny and protected area for a week or two before planting it in your yard. Good areas would be on a covered porch, next to your house, or by a brick wall. If you live in Zone 7 or colder, wrap the bottom of the pot with a frost blanket to keep the roots warm until planting time. 
  • Prep your planting area beforehand. If you know your ground freezes and it's going to be difficult to plant after the holidays, consider preparing the area before. Dig the hole, prep the soil and clearly mark the area. When you’re ready to plant, your hole will already be dug and it’ll be easier for your tree to settle into its more permanent home. 
  • Protect your tree. Since you’re planting your tree outside of the normal planting windows (spring and fall), take some extra precautions for your newly planted tree. Protect the roots and conserve water by mulching around the base of the tree. If you live in a windy area, stake your tree after planting and wrap the tree with a frost blanket or other breathable fabric like burlap or an old bedsheet.
  • Enjoy your tree and watch it grow. Make an event of planting your living Christmas tree in your yard with family and friends! Over the years, why not continue decorating it as it grows with wildlife-friendly decorations such as popcorn garland and birdseed ornaments? Make it a new tradition and enjoy your long-lasting tree. 

Christmas tree outdoors

Instead of making memories cutting down a Christmas tree, have fun planting one instead! Living Christmas trees are a great way to appreciate nature inside and outside of your home. While your evergreen tree can’t stay happy indoors long-term like a houseplant can, it's well worth bringing it inside to enjoy for a couple of weeks during the holiday season. 

Learn more about living Christmas trees by shopping our collection

Meredith Gaines

Meredith's love for plants started at a young age, and only grew when she started working in the Desert Exhibit at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and the Historic Filoli Estate in the Bay Area. After graduating from Clemson University (GO TIGERS!) with a degree in Biology and Horticulture, she found her niche in the FastGrowingTrees.com family as a horticulturist and has grown in her current role as Senior Plant Expert.

She currently resides in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoys spending any time she can outdoors. She learns new things about plants every day and loves sharing her plant knowledge and tips with those around her. Her favorite plant is constantly changing, but her long-time favorites are peonies, oak trees, and ferns.

Questions? Contact Meredith at information@fastgrowingtrees.com.

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