Garden Advice

How to Look After a Pot-Grown Christmas Tree Before, During and After Holidays

So, this year you have decided to go for a pot-grown Christmas tree. This small and eco-friendly alternative to artificial trees will definitely bring a joyous atmosphere into your home. However, just like any other potted plant, it requires attention and care from your side. 

But how do you take care of a pot-grown tree? Below, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks that will help you choose the best tree, acclimate it indoors and transplant it when the time comes. 

So, if you:

  • Wish to improve your knowledge of pot-grown Christmas trees;
  • Want to know how to take care of your potted tree inside;
  • Are wondering how to plant the live Christmas tree once the holidays are over,

Then keep on reading! 

What makes a pot-grown Christmas tree different from the other live trees?

Pot-grown Christmas trees, just like the name suggests, are grown in their pots or containers for at least a season.

Potted Christmas plants are pretty common and can be easily found at your local farm or a nursery. However, you should remember that not all potted Christmas trees are pot-grown. A vast majority of the potted trees are earth-grown. However, once Christmas time comes, they are dug out and replanted in containers before the sale.

On the other hand, container-grown trees have been replanted in spacious pots and grown there for some time, so they already come with stronger root balls. To check, if the Christmas tree of your choice has been pot-grown, it’s just enough to lift the tree off the pot. The roots are often bound tightly together and come out of the pot easily. 

Both potted and pot-grown plants can be transplanted; however, pot-grown trees will have an easier time adapting to the soil simply because the root systems are not disturbed or broken by the digging.

The real pot-grown Christmas trees are usually smaller in size, between 3ft to 4ft. Just like any houseplant, your conifer will continue growing, so you can expect it to outgrow its original container. At some point, the tree will need replanting, so be prepared to have a spot in your yard or, if you want it to remain a container tree – a spacious container.

How to care for pot-grown Christmas trees

Now when you are more familiar with the pot-grown Christmas trees, let’s move on to our practical steps for live Christmas tree care. 

Choosing a pot-grown Christmas tree

  • Start by choosing a tree you like. Things you would want to consider are the type of the tree, how well it will grow in your area and its mature height and width (if you intend to plant it in your garden). We recommend choosing from Norway Spruce, Nordmann Fir and Lodgepole Pine simply because they are often Britain-grown and won’t have difficulty adapting to the climate.
  • Purchasing your live tree. The tree you are buying should be healthy. Look for any unusual spots, fading needles and dry branches – the needles should sit firmly on the soft and bendable branches. Take a look at the roots, if possible. When the roots grow in a container, they follow the container’s shape, moulding in a mass of soil and roots. Make sure to check the tree on any pest damage, as well.

And if you are still hesitant about what type of Christmas tree is right for you, read our Ultimate Real Christmas Tree Buying Guide. There you will find all the tips and tricks you need to know to choose the best tree for your celebration.

Bringing your potted conifer inside

  • Acclimate your tree to the indoors. Once you have the tree, don’t rush bringing your potted plant inside. Ideally, you would want to bring the tree indoors as late as possible. Sudden temperature changes can stress the living tree and cause it to lose needles. Let it stay for a few days in any sheltered area, like a shed or a garage. 
  • Place the live Christmas tree in a cool spot. Choose the location for your Christmas tree away from the heaters, radiators and fire. If you have underfloor heating, consider placing a mat or a stand to prevent the roots from overheating. Otherwise, your tree will start losing moisture and drop needles.

Caring for your real Christmas tree indoors

  • Water your pot-grown plant. Your pot-grown Christmas tree should be watered daily. Keep an eye on the soil moisture – the water shouldn’t pool around the roots; otherwise, they will rot. Too little watering isn’t beneficial for the plant, as well. Feel the soil before watering – it should tell you how much water the plant needs. Alternatively, you can place ice cubes on top of the soil. This step is crucial for your tree’s health, as if you fail it, your Christmas tree might not recover.
  • Spray the needles. Don’t forget the needles – they need regular spraying, too. But do it only if your Christmas tree doesn’t have lights on it.
  • Don’t keep the plant at home for too long. It is recommended that you keep your live Christmas tree indoors for not more than 10 – 14 days. However, be guided by the looks of your tree. If it seems like it’s suffering indoors, place it outside.
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Things to remember when decorating your Christmas tree in a pot

  • Use LED lights. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED lights don’t have a heating element inside, making them a perfect choice for a live Christmas tree. 
  • Avoid heavy ornaments. Bigger ornaments can bend down the branches and damage them. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit more time decorating –  position your decorations just right, distributing the weight evenly around your pot-grown Christmas tree.
  • Don’t take the tree out of the pot. Even though the original container might seem unattractive, don’t rush to re-pot your tree in a more appealing pot. That way, you will only stress the tree. Instead, think of alternative ways of decorating the pot. Maybe a more festive outer crate or some fabric decorations at the bottom of the tree?
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When the Christmas is over

After Christmas, your tree can be kept as a potted tree all year round, or it can be planted in your garden with a high chance of establishing the roots.

Re-potting your Christmas tree

If you decide to keep your Christmas tree in a pot, you need to remember that eventually, it will need replanting to a bigger container.

  1. Place your tree outside.

 Let it stay in a cool sheltered area for some time to re-enter the dormancy.

  1. Prepare a container/pot. 

The container should be big enough to hold the tree with its roots and provide enough space for the roots to spread. If your tree is on the smaller side, don’t put it in a huge container straightaway. An inch or two on the sides should be enough to keep your tree healthy. And it won’t be too heavy in case you relocate the tree indoors next year.

  1. Replant your Christmas tree. 

This can be done in a few days after you move the tree outside. Remove some of the old soil from the roots and plant the tree in the container with the fresh loam-based compost. 

  1. Aftercare.

Just like any potted plant, your tree will need year-round watering. Pot-grown trees dry much faster than earth-grown ones; therefore, you need to keep the compost moist. In spring, renew the top layer of the compost with a mix of fresh compost and fertiliser of your choice.

Replanting the Christmas tree in your garden

  1. Move the tree outside. 

Before replanting your tree to its new permanent spot, it will need to adjust to the outdoor conditions and re-enter the dormant state. Put your tree out in the chill and protected area.

  1. Choose the planting site.

Dig a hole at least four times as wide as the rootball and deep enough to fit the roots. Avoid digging frozen soil, as you risk creating poor soil structure that might lead to unsuccessful root establishment. When the ground is frozen, leave replanting for spring.

3. Prepare the planting site.

Dig a hole at least four times as wide as the rootball and deep enough to fit the roots. Avoid digging frozen soil, as you risk creating poor soil structure that might lead to unsuccessful root establishment. When the ground is frozen, leave replanting for spring.

  1. Plant the tree.

Remove the tree out of its container and gently break the soil around the roots apart. Place the tree into the hole and cover it with the excavated soil, slightly patting each layer with a shovel. Don’t pack the soil down too much to avoid drainage problems. 

  1. Water the tree deeply. 

It is important to monitor soil moisture, especially with newly planted trees. Winter weather conditions can be harsh on plants, so the tree needs watering. Additionally, to retain moisture, place a 2-3-inch layer of mulch over the hole. 

Get a pot-grown Christmas tree delivered to you

If settling for a low-quality tree from your local greengrocer isn’t for you, why not take advantage of the Christmas tree delivery service by Fantastic Services? 

With the variety of premium-grade Christmas trees, you will definitely be able to find the perfect pot-grown tree for your household. And when the holiday is over, the team of professional gardeners can plant it outside in your garden.

For those of you who find it too much of a hassle to take care of a planted tree, you can always choose from the fresh-cut Nordmann Firs. No need to worry about the tree going to waste after the holidays – we can recycle it at a green waste centre! Sounds tempting? Then arrange your Christmas tree delivery now!

Christmas is around the corner.

Get a real Christmas tree this year without none of the hassle!

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  • Pot-grown Christmas trees are grown in containers for at least one season and come with a fully developed root system. Once the holidays are over, you can easily transplant them;
  • You can also re-pot your tree in a more spacious pot for the following Christmas;
  • Your pot-grown tree will need regular and abundant watering, as the roots absorb the water fast. An unwatered tree will quickly start losing needles and drooping branches;
  • Avoid heavy ornaments and lights with incandescent bulbs to protect your tree from damage;
  • Don’t place the live Christmas tree next to heat sources. It will make your tree dry out fast;
  • When you plant the tree outdoors, make sure to do it before the frosts. Otherwise, you risk the health of the tree.


Did you find this article helpful? Share your Christmas spirit in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock / BublikHaus

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