Garden Advice

How to Plant a Christmas Tree in the Garden

So you bought a real live Christmas tree this year but you don’t want to throw it away when the festive season is over.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to plant a Christmas tree in the garden, leaving you with a wonderful, healthy new tree for years to come.

Read on if you’d like to learn:

  • Is it possible to plant your Christmas tree outside?
  • The best Christmas trees to plant in your garden.
  • The Christmas tree planting steps.

What Christmas trees can be planted outside

The best Christmas tree to plant in your garden will always be one that has roots or a root-ball still attached. If your tree has been cut through above the roots, you won’t be able to get it to regrow them no matter what you do.

But as long as your tree is in a container and is still a living tree – living trees tend to be better anyway as they keep their needles and last much longer – you might be able to plant it in your garden after December 25th.

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The difference between pot-grown and potted trees

You will usually see two types of “roots still attached” trees for sale over the festive period. It’s important to understand the difference between them if you want the best chance of successfully transplanting one to your garden afterwards:

  1. Potted/containerised trees – These trees have been grown in soil, dug up, and popped in a pot for Christmas. The odds are still good that you can plant one of these in your garden. But the potting process does sometimes cause damage to the roots and the tree will have experienced dangerous stress from re-planting once already.
  2. Pot-grown trees – It seems like growing a tree in a container would be worse than growing it in soil and re-potting it. Yet container-grown trees that have been in the pot for their entire lives will still have all of their roots attached and won’t have suffered re-planting yet. This means you’ve got the best possible odds of turning your Christmas tree into a year-round feature of your garden.

The best Christmas trees to plant outside

There are three popular types of trees that you’ll commonly see available over the festive season. Any of these makes a good choice of Christmas tree to plant outside:

Norway Spruce

The good old Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is the classic variety of Christmas tree that’s been seen on these shores for decades. They come in a variety of different sizes and offer some great branches for decorating.

Fraser Fir

The Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri) is distinguishable from the otherwise fairly similar Norway Spruce by being slightly slimmer and having a very faint and rather pleasant blue tint to its slightly darker pine needles.

Nordmann Fir

The Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana) has recently started to surpass the popularity of the Norway Spruce in festive UK homes. That’s because its needles tend to stay on the tree in a warmer environment, making for a much tidier house over the holidays. The branches of a Nordmann Fir also tend to be a little flatter and closer together, arguably making them both easier and more impressive to decorate.

Check our thorough guide if you are wondering how to remove pine needles from your carpet!

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How to plant a Christmas tree


If you want to successfully plant a Christmas tree outside, you need to do what you can to minimise the shock of transplantation.

This means keeping your tree cooler and very well watered when it’s indoors. Hopefully, this will prevent it from getting the fright of its life when it’s suddenly subjected to January frosts.

You might also want to move the tree to your garage or a cold greenhouse for a little while before planting – if possible – if the weather is particularly cold.


Before planting a Christmas tree in the garden, you need to give the idea some serious thought. Remember – these trees might be a comfortable size now. But they’re not going to stay that way.

Nordmann Firs and Norway Spruces commonly grow to 200 feet in height or more. Do you have room for that in your garden? Might it block light to your home or to other plants? Where are the roots going to go?


Planting your Christmas tree outside needs to happen on a day when the soil is as dry as possible and definitely not frozen.

You may even want to dig the hole in advance when you spot a dry day and store the soil indoors somewhere. Then you can use the warm, dry soil to shelter the tree from outside conditions for that bit longer when you plant.

You also don’t want to leave the tree in your home longer than necessary. Definitely aim to replant before the New Year.


Dig a good hole. At least 30 cm in depth and 100 cm wide. Make sure the soil at the bottom and sides is good and loose, then place your tree in it. You want the tree to be set into the ground roughly the same depth it was set in the pot.

Now replace the (possibly previously set aside) soil and firm it down. Make sure to water your tree well. Then keep it watered through the winter and first year of its new life. You should aim to mulch it for the first few years too.

If you’ve planted in a windy spot, consider planting a post and staking the tree to it. Leave this post for a few years until the tree is properly settled.

No replanting

It is possible to use the same tree next Christmas. If so, you might not want to plant it in your garden at all. You can move it into a slightly larger pot – still following most of the steps above – and then move it back inside next year.

However, big, regular changes in an environment like this – from freezing cold outside winter to your warm house and back again every year – will seriously endanger your tree and mean it’s less likely to survive the process again.

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Contact us for Christmas tree delivery

Are you seriously considering growing a 200 ft+ tree in your back garden? Don’t worry. There’s an easy way to get the full Christmas experience and not worry about what to do with your tree afterwards – book Fantastic Service’s Christmas tree delivery service.

Choose a pot-grown Norway Spruce or a real Nordmann Fir with its special ability to shed fewer pine needles. Get your tree delivered to your door and installed in a water reservoir on request.

After Christmas, don’t worry about planting your tree outside. Simply add a collection service to your order and we’ll come back to recycle it (in the case of the pot-grown Spruces, this means planting it somewhere it can be happy). All trees have been grown organically in England, Scotland, or Denmark, so you know you’ll be getting a good one this year.

Looking for a Christmas tree?

Contact Fantastic Services and get a beautiful Christmas tree delivered to your doorstep!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • If you want to plant a Christmas tree in the garden, you need to make sure it still has its roots attached.
  • If it does, both pot-grown and potted/ containerised trees can be replanted. But pot-grown trees have a greater chance of success.
  • Keep your tree wet and as cool as possible in your house if you intend to replant and try to make the process gentle for your tree.
  • Plant in a 30cm hole, water, and consider staking for wind protection.
  • Don’t replant next year – consider using a tree delivery and collection service that will replant it somewhere else for you instead.


Did you find out everything you wanted to know about planting a Christmas tree in your garden? Let us know! Comment below and let’s see if we can help you further.

Image source: Shutterstock / Konmac

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