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Looking for a potted, living Christmas tree with a root ball? Here's how to take care of it.

How to Look After (or Revive) A Potted Christmas Tree

December 18, 2018

Dreaming of a Christmas tree that stays alive–and looks beautiful–all year long?

Well, add a “potted, living Christmas tree” to your shopping list. These trees come with a root ball, so they’re still alive, which means you can plant them in your yard after the holiday!

But it also means the tree is much heavier and needs to be inside a bit less time than usual cut trees.

Learn more about how to give these unique trees the care they need to thrive!

Steps: How to Care for Your Potted Christmas Tree (and Keep It Alive All Year!)

  1. Plan–and then plan some more! Since you’ll be planting this, you’ll want to carefully consider what tree you’ll pick. After all, you don’t just want a tree that will look good for a few weeks. This will be in your yard for decades! More on choosing the right tree for the right place here.
  2. Dig in. Ideally, dig a hole for the tree and cover with mulch before the ground freezes.
  3. Embrace the change. You may have to get your tree later than usual because it should only be inside for about seven days–and no more than 10. If it's inside for longer, the tree becomes acclimated to the warmth and may have trouble surviving when it's outside again.
  4. Keep it fresh. Got your tree? Spray it with an anti-desiccant that’s made for indoor plants. That’ll help it retain moisture. If you don't plan to decorate for a bit, store in a cool place without sun or wind.
  5. Water differently. Place the tree in a waterproof container and always keep 1-2 inches of H2O in it. If that’s not an option, place crushed ice over the soil when it feels dry.
  6. Deck the halls (carefully). Place your tree in a spot away from heating units, fireplaces, excessive sun or drafty areas. You don’t want to dry it out. Speaking of, be wary of string lights! Heat from lights can dry out the needles, so it may be best to skip ‘em. Or opt for LED lights or newer lights with a low wattage.
  7. Move it on out! After the holiday, remove the ornaments and help your tree re-adjust to the cold. For several days, keep it in a cool, shaded spot, like a garage. Then, plant or store until spring.

What should I do if my potted Christmas tree is turning brown or losing needles? Can I revive it?

Trees are slow to show problems. If your tree is browning or shedding needles after being inside for a few days, that likely means the tree’s health wasn’t great when you got it.

You can try the suggestions below, but you should likely contact the business you purchased it from, too!

Keep your tree hydrated, mist its needles, limit its time indoors and see if it rebounds when you transition it outside.

Ready to plant a potted Christmas tree? Click for steps!

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