Decorate with Tiny Christmas Trees
Evergreen care tips
Some balled or potted decorative trees can have a life after the holidays. Follow these tips, then plant when spring arrives.
Pick hardy varieties. Check local nurseries for evergreen trees suited for Midwest growing Zones. (Note: Our Norfolk Island pine is just a houseplant.)
When used indoors over the holidays, water. "The air inside the house is very dry," says Bert Cregg, professor of horticulture and forestry at Michigan State University. "So plants will dry out quickly." Place plants out of direct sun, and keep roots moist. A general guideline: Water twice a week.
Limit display time. "The longer the trees are in the house, the more they'll begin to lose their hardiness," Cregg says. He advises limiting indoor time to 2-3 weeks. After three weeks, trees will come out of winter hibernation and start to grow like houseplants.
Cool until spring. After the holidays, store trees in an unheated, sheltered space, like a garage with windows or a porch. (Trees require partial sunlight.) "Most of these conifers need chilling in order to grow normally," Cregg says. Water once before storing, then leave them alone. Plant outside when the ground thaws.
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® November/December 2009.)