Try a Living Christmas Tree this Holiday Season!

There’s nothing better than decorating a tree to get into the Christmas spirit! But what if this year, instead of throwing away your beautiful tree, you kept it in a pot and planted it after Christmas?

Traditional Christmas Tree farms are sustainable in many ways, especially by recycling the trees after the holidays. However, there is one way to take this holiday staple to the next level of “green”, by letting it LIVE! Planting Christmas trees after the holiday instead of recycling promotes the creation of habitats and ecosystems, truly making this an eco-friendly and sustainable way of celebrating the holidays. A Living Christmas tree gives you the opportunity to keep your memories alive for years to come!

The most important step is to keep your tree alive during the month of December and we are here to help! If at any time you have questions or need additional help, please give us a call. In the meantime, use this handy guide to ensure your Living Christmas is a success!

Step 1: Choose your tree! The Garden Center at Johnson Nursery has a wide variety of sizes, shapes and types of trees that are likely to thrive outdoors. Don’t have space in your car for your Living Christmas tree? Ask our staff about delivery!

Step 2: Choose the perfect spot! Place your tree in a cool spot in your house away from fireplaces, heater vents, and direct sunlight. Placing your tree outside or on  your porch is a great spot!

Step 3: Water your tree! Trees should be watered at the top of the pot two to three times per week but not flooded with water. Water until you see it come out of the holes at the bottom. One technique we like to use is to fill the top of the pot with ice cubes once a day instead of using water.

Step 4: Decorate your tree! The branches of some Living Christmas trees aren’t as sturdy as traditional Frasier Fir or Douglas Fir trees, so consider using lightweight ornaments. Get creative! String popcorn or dried fruit, use grasses and branches from your outdoor plants, gather pine cones and acorns, and use colorful ribbon. If using lights, use LED or small, low temperature electric lights rather than older heat-generating incandescent bulbs.

Step 5: Ready to plant? The less time spent inside, the better for your tree. We recommend keeping your tree inside no longer than 20 days. Because your tree has been in a warm environment for an extended period of time, it will likely need to reacclimate to the cold. To maximize the chances of survival, check the weather forecast before bringing your tree outside. It’s important not to expose your tree to freezing temperatures too quickly. Your tree will need to be outside for 6 – 10 days before a freeze. If you have a garage, consider putting your tree in your garage for up to two days to allow it to slowly acclimate to temperatures colder than inside, but not as cold as fully outside.

Step 6: Grab your shovel and plant your tree! Dig a hole twice as wide as the container. Consider using BioTone Starter Plus to help your tree root more quickly. Remove the pot from your tree and place it in the hole. Backfill with natural soil, soil conditioner or potting soil. Mulch the area around the tree for added moisture retention and to protect the roots from the cold. If you don’t have a spot to plant it, give us a call and we’ll plant it in The Gardens of Southeastern North Carolina. 

Allow your holiday memories to live on by watching the tree your family lovingly decorated thrive for years to come – try a Living Christmas tree this holiday season! Visit The Garden Center at Johnson Nursery and ask one of our friendly staff members to help you choose the perfect Living Christmas tree for you and your family! Learn more about Living Christmas and see examples of decorated trees by visiting

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