How long do Christmas trees live? Which real Christmas tree lasts the longest? How often do you have to water your Christmas tree? We always ask these and other related questions each and somehow we never know the answer. Maybe it’s too complicated or maybe it’s just the information itself. It’s scattered randomly all across the internet. With that in mind, we made this short post in hopes to answer the most common questions people ask every Christmas. So, let’s get started.

Q: How long can you keep a live Christmas tree indoors?

A: There are two answers to this question. One concerns a cut Christmas tree, the other – a Christmas tree in a pot.

  • Cut trees can last up until a month, maybe a little bit more, provided you take good care of them. This is how to look after your real Christmas tree.
  • Potted trees need to stay at low temperatures at all times. If you bring them inside, make sure it’s no longer than 12-13 days. If you keep it inside longer, it might not be able to adjust to the cold.

Q: How long do live Christmas trees’ fresh looks last at home?

A: How long do real Christmas trees last inside depends on several factors:

  • Having the right tree stand. It allows you to not whittle the tree trunk to the appropriate size. The outer layers of wood absorb water best, so you shouldn’t damage them. If the tree trunk is too big for the stand you currently have, simply buy a larger stand.
  • Appropriate watering. Your tree stand must be full of water at all times, so the tree can drink as much as it wants.
  • Fertilising. Don’t add fertilising of any kind to your tree.
  • Sources of heat. Keep the tree away from sources of heat so they wouldn’t get dry too quickly.

Based on these factors, your real Christmas tree will last from 4 to 6 weeks.

Q: How long will a cut Christmas tree last outside?

A: It will last several days, depending on when you cut it and where you keep it. It’s safe to say your real tree will last until you decide to put it up, several days before Christmas, as long as you keep it in a cool and clean environment.

Keep in mind, though, you will have to recut the tree trunk. When air reaches the cut, the exposed cells will block any water intake. To answer the question shortly: several days, still the sooner you provide the tree with water, the better.

Q: When is the earliest you can put up a real Christmas tree?

A: There is no strict rule, only recommendations. According to the BCTGA “trees should not be purchased earlier than 1st December”. Most Brits put their Christmas trees up around the 3rd of December. Other people like to put up their trees about 12-13 days before Christmas. Frankly, it depends on your tree. If you have a Nordmann fir you can easily keep it up for the entire month of December. If you have a Norway Spruce it would be best if you put it up as close to Christmas as possible. Check our Christmas tree buying guide if you still don’t have one.

Q: When to take Christmas tree down?

A: According to the UK tradition, our Christmas decorations come down on the Twelfth Night, simply known as the 5th of January. This date is considered the last day of Christmas festivities and the eve of the Epiphany. It was once believed spirits lived inside decorative Christmas plants. Those spirits needed to be released once the festivities were over.

It is sometimes debated which date is actually the Twelfth Night. Some people say it’s the 5th, others say it’s the 6th. The 6th of January is the day of Epiphany anyway, so one way or another, by then you should have gotten rid of your Christmas tree. You can opt-in for Christmas tree disposal from us after the holidays, just make sure to contact us three days in advance so we can arrange the service.

Q: Which kind of Christmas tree smells the best?

A: There really isn’t only one best smelling Christmas tree. All of them have their distinct aromas. Some trees are more common in certain regions compared to others. Here are of the most popular and best smelling ones:

  • The Scotch Pine is native to Europe. Its aroma is very strong and long-lasting It can probably last through the entire season. This tree has excellent water retention when cutting and barely sheds its needles. The needles themselves reach up to 3-8 cm (1-3 inches) and are a dark green colour.
  • Virginia Pine is another example of a tree which will bring the Christmas spirit in no time with its pine scent. This southern US tree has strong branches which are perfect for heavy ornaments and decorations. Fun fact: it also proves a perfect nesting site for woodpeckers.
  • Douglas firs have a sweet, subtle scent when you crush their needles. These trees are probably the most popular type in the US, and they quickly gain popularity in the UK, too. Interesting to know: according to the National Christmas Tree Association, Douglas firs are not related to true firs.
  • White fir (also known as Concolor fir) will likely remind you of citrus when it comes to scent. Some people also describe its smell as orange-like. The needles are usually blue-green in colour, sometimes pale blue. The Concolor fir has excellent water retention and strong branches, perfect for heavy decorations.
  • Norway Spruce is a bright green Christmas tree native to Britain. In fact, it’s so green, it’s colour sometimes almost resembles electric green. Norway spruce has a great pine fragrance. You should know this tree drops its needles easily, so you’d better not put it up until late in December.
  • Nordmann fir has a dark green colour and its needles last quite a long time. It has great water retention and its leaves have a citrus scent when crushed. This tree is also a child and pet-friendly due to its soft and glossy foliage. Probably Britons’ most preferred choice because of all these qualities.

Pay attention to some false friends, such as:

  • White Spruce – keep away from it. It produces an unpleasant odour when needles are crushed. If that doesn’t bother you, you will be delighted to know the White Spruce has excellent needle retention, rich foliage colour and stiff needles.
  • Leland Cypress – it has little to no odour which, in turn, makes it perfect for people with allergies and respiratory diseases such as asthma. The reason for the lack of smell: the tree doesn’t produce sap, because it’s not part of the Fir or Pine families.

So there you have it, some of the most common questions about Christmas trees answered. Whether it’s the type of tree, its qualities or when’s the best time to put it up, you can always refer to this guide.


Did you like it? Do you have more questions about Christmas trees unanswered? Drop a comment below or give us a shout in social media!

  • Last update: February 26, 2019

Posted in Garden Advice

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