Live conifers instead of a Christmas tree – Beautiful indoor plants

New Years is soon! The counters of our stores are already filled with Christmas trees, pines, junipers and other conifers in containers. Sellers can assure you that the coniferous plant in a pot purchased from them will be happy to celebrate the New Year with you for many years in a row. But, to put it mildly, they are exaggerating. In this article I will share my experience of growing spruce in the garden, which once “worked” the role of a New Year tree in my apartment. And I will also tell you how to choose the right live plants, including conifers, as a New Year’s tree.

Live conifers instead of a Christmas tree

Choosing a coniferous plant for the “role” of the New Year tree

Traditional conifers – pines, spruces, thuja, firs and many others, indeed, can be purchased for the New Year’s holiday. But until the next New Year, they can only survive as a garden plant. I will tell you later how and when to plant a New Year tree in open ground, but for now – how to choose a New Year tree from a huge variety of conifers in containers.

There is no need to strive to buy the largest coniferous plant – a small one will more easily transfer a transplant to the garden and acclimatize, and it will be easier to care for it until spring.

When buying, you need to pay attention to the condition of the needles – there should be no dried or rusty areas on the plant.

The main signs of a healthy plant:

  • clean needles;
  • barrel without potholes, build-ups and resin drips;
  • container without deformations and cracks.

Where to buy?

The place of purchase is very important in this matter. You should not buy a seedling from street vendors whom you see in this place for the first time in your life. After all, some “businessmen” dig seedlings from open ground in late autumn, place them in containers and sell them for the New Year. With a high probability, such a spruce-pine-thuja will live about as long as sawn ones. Therefore, you need to buy a seedling in a container either in specialized stores or in nurseries.

Supermarkets that constantly sell seasonal and indoor plants are most likely to be trusted, especially if you have bought flowers or seedlings from them before and the experience was successful.

You need to buy a coniferous seedling in a container either in specialized stores or in nurseriesYou need to buy a coniferous seedling in a container either in specialized stores or in nurseries. Farmer Borhy Kertรฉszet

Preparing a Christmas tree in a container for the holiday

The purchased plant must be transplanted immediately, since the seedlings are sold in soft shipping containers that are not suitable for growing. The soil in which the seedlings are located, especially those brought from Europe, can only conditionally be called soil, rather it is a special substrate in which the plant should not be for a long time. It is better to buy a soil special for conifers or universal.

We carry out the transplant by the transshipment method, without disturbing the earthen coma – this is very important for any transplantation of coniferous trees, and especially in autumn and winter, that is, during the dormant period.

At the bottom of the pot, be sure to lay the drainage (about ยผ part of the volume). It can be expanded clay, coal, crushed stone, pebbles or broken brick – it doesn’t matter. The main thing is that water does not stagnate at the bottom of the pot.

You do not need to apply any fertilizers – the new soil contains all the necessary trace elements, and their increased doses can only harm the plant at this time. The first feeding can be done in March using a special fertilizer for conifers.

We spray the transplanted plant, put it away from the battery, dress it up (do not overdo it, it is still alive) and … we celebrate the New Year!

Caring for the Christmas tree in a container after the holiday

As soon as the New Year fireworks have died down (no need to wait for the Old New Year !!!), we remove all the decorations from the pine-tree-thuja. If necessary, water and place in the coldest place in the apartment.

Cool content and high humidity are the main conditions for the survival of the New Year tree after the holidays.

Air humidity and irrigation

This does not mean that you need to water the plant constantly – we water as the top layer dries. It is impossible to say how many times a week you need to do this – it all depends on the size and material of the pot, and the temperature and humidity of the air.

You can put a container of water next to the plant or place the pot on a pallet of pebbles, but in any case, daily spraying will be required. Water for both irrigation and spraying needs soft and settled water. That, in fact, is the whole care. Nothing else is needed except a low temperature.

A purchased coniferous plant as a New Year tree must be transplanted immediatelyA purchased coniferous plant as a New Year tree must be transplanted immediately

Air temperature

In winter, conifers need a temperature drop in the range from 0ะพ up to + 7ะพC. Lighting at this time should be bright enough, therefore, it would seem, on a glazed insulated loggia or veranda, you can create favorable conditions. Probably yes, but provided that during the day this room will not be very warm from the sun, since the daily sudden temperature drops will not benefit the plant.

The root system in the container can freeze if the temperature turns out to be below zero, so you need to think about insulating the container itself. In addition, a constant supply of fresh air is required. Here is the catch – if you open the window, it will be cold, if you don’t open it, deprive the plant of fresh air.

So the year-round cultivation of conifers in indoor conditions is more suitable for residents with a mild, closer to warm climate – it is easier to create suitable winter conditions there. For them and all those who, in spite of everything, decided to grow in an apartment, let us clarify that a coniferous plant in a tub should always be turned to the sun with one side, and the soil, even in winter, should not dry out.

In the summer, if there is such an opportunity, it is better to take the ephedra into the garden, in a place protected from the wind and midday sun.

Planting container New Year trees in open ground

I deliberately do not write – to the garden, because not everyone has gardens and summer cottages, but whoever has, perhaps, they have long been completely planted with other crops. But each of us has a courtyard, parks and squares nearby.

So, if you have tried and ensured that minimum for creating winter conditions, most likely, your Christmas trees, pine trees, thuja have survived until spring. As soon as the snow melts and the earth dries out a little, choose a suitable place and dig a hole. Conifers do not like full shade, but the hot sun will not suit them either. It is best to plant the seedling so that it is in the sun for part of the day and shaded the rest of the time.

It is better to dig a hole 3-4 weeks before planting, so that the earth settles a little. We will definitely lay drainage at the bottom so that during prolonged rains or spring melting of snow, the water under the roots does not stagnate. If there is an opportunity to bring at least a bucket of earth from a coniferous forest – great, no – it’s also not fatal.

For better adaptation, you need to try to maintain the orientation of the seedling. To do this, at home, you can tie any lace to a branch located, for example, on the northern side of the plant and, planting it in a hole, turn the plant so that the marked branch faces north.

For planting a coniferous seedling, it is advisable to choose a warm cloudy day or evening. The threat of recurrent frosts should be avoided, since our plant is indoor, not hardened.

Planting stages:

  • We take out the seedling from the pot, without disturbing the earthen coma, and set it in the hole so that after planting it is not buried.
  • Sprinkle a lump of earth on all sides and lightly crush it.
  • We form a near-trunk circle.
  • Watering.
  • We mulch the soil around the seedling with bark, sawdust, coniferous litter or peat.

Thuja in a container, decorated for the New YearThuja in a container, decorated for the New Year

Care after planting and in the early years

Container conifers easily tolerate transplanting and take root well. For greater reliability, you can spray the plant with Zircon or Epin-extra preparations after transplanting. These funds increase the immunity and vitality of seedlings.

In the first two to three years, young conifers will need to be watered, especially in dry times. In the future, they will build up a sufficient root system and will be able to produce their own water. A month after planting, you can feed the seedling for the first time using fertilizer for conifers.

You should not buy ordinary universal mineral fertilizers, since they are created mainly for deciduous crops and their concentration for conifers can be destructive.

Until the middle of summer, nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium mineral fertilizers for conifers are ideal for feeding. Their composition is additionally enriched with magnesium, sulfur, iron and boron. All these elements help the plant to cope with stress, grow well and resist disease and pests.

Starting from August, we exclude nitrogen from fertilizing. This element stimulates the growth of branches, so it can be used only in the first half of summer. Then the seedlings begin to prepare for winter, and they no longer need growth at this time.

In the early years, young seedlings may need shelter for the winter, especially if you live in an area with harsh or unpredictable winters.

For information on how to properly cover conifers for the winter, read article 7 conditions for the successful wintering of conifers.

How I celebrated the New Year with the Canadian Christmas tree “Konica”

I would like to mention separately the Canadian Konica Christmas trees as a New Year tree. These small slowly growing decorative trees (they are small in nature) are more often than others and in large quantities purchased by shops before the New Year holidays. They are not expensive at all, and people are happy to buy them. In much the same way as buying a beautiful bouquet – no matter how long it will stand. Meanwhile, “Konika” perfectly takes root in our gardens and survives even in harsh winters! The only question is how to keep the tree until spring?

I’ll tell you about my experience, since my three Canadian “Koniks” have been living and well with me for the fourth year already. I bought one before the New Year, fluffy and beautiful – about 25 cm high. The other two – in the same store, but after the holidays, on sale, that is, almost for nothing. And they were in a deplorable state. Only the tops of the heads remained alive – the lower branches were partially still green, but some of the needles had already dried up.

Immediately after the holiday, I transplanted all three of them into normal soil and put them on a cold windowsill, away from the battery. Watered rarely – as the top layer dries up, but sprayed it very often. A spray bottle with water was right there, and every time I passed by, I sprayed the Christmas trees. In order not to flood the window glass with water, I substituted a sheet of thick paper.

So we survived until spring. As soon as the snow melted and it was possible to dig the ground, I chose a place in the garden, relatively shaded, and planted all the conifers in a row.

“Konika” are slowly growing miniature spruces, so one should not expect rapid growth from them. The annual growth is no more than 5 cm. This is approximately how we add. I must say a little about natural conditions. I live in the South Urals – this is, who does not know, virgin lands with a sharply continental climate. When the summer is without rain with winds and the temperature is +40ะพC in the shade is a common thing, and in winter hurricanes and frosts happen down to -40ะพC.

Last year, for example, the maximum was -30ะพC, but there was no snow, completely bare ground. All my Christmas trees survived, although I covered them literally in two layers with a thin spunbond, mulching the ground with pine litter. Withstood both spring flooding and summer dry winds.

True, they are planted so that the sun does not fall on them during the day. Yes, I also transplanted them from one place to another, since in the very first spring they were flooded to the very top. In the summer, in the heat, I watered and sprayed them every other day, like other conifers. Are growing. The two who were frozen caught up with the healthy one, overgrown with new needles and now it is impossible to tell which one is.

My Christmas tree "Konika" has successfully taken root in the gardenMy Konika Christmas tree has successfully taken root in the garden. Farmer Galina Maryina

Araucaria and cypress, as an alternative to conifers for the New Year

If you don’t want to mess with conifers in containers for the New Year, but a sawed-down or plastic Christmas tree is not your option, in indoor plant growing there is an excellent alternative to ordinary spruces, firs, cedars and pines. For home maintenance, an araucaria or cypress in a container is quite suitable.

Read more about growing araucaria in the article Live Christmas tree – a delightful araucaria.

Even small ones, they will perfectly cope with the role of a Christmas tree, and today it is not a problem to choose decorations in size. True, they will also need to lower the temperature for winter dormancy, but it is much easier to create conditions in the room for these southern plants.

In summer, araucaria and cypress are grown at a temperature of + 17 … + 22 ะพะก, in winter – + 13 … + 15ะพC. Dry air is the main enemy of any conifers, therefore, spraying is needed both in winter and in summer. If the air in the room is very dry, you can put the pot in a tray with water, after pouring large pebbles into it. We install the container so that the bottom does not touch the water.

A humidifier can be of great help in this difficult task. For the winter, we remove the conifers away from the heating appliances, on the cool part of the windowsill. Good lighting is necessary at any time of the year, given that direct sunlight is not desirable, as it can burn the needles.

Dear readers! As you can see, it is not at all necessary to chop up spruce for a great New Year celebration. Rather, on the contrary – this wonderful holiday can give life – to a pine tree, a Christmas tree or a juniper, it doesn’t matter. Another thing is important – the understanding that it is not difficult to do this. And let it be better to associate the New Year with the appearance of a new plant in the house or garden.

And one moment. New Year is a children’s holiday, and it will be just wonderful if children take a direct part in nursing and planting a New Year tree. After all, all habits are formed in our childhood, so let them be good habits. And if you don’t have your own kids, you can attract neighbors who gladly respond to such events. They will help to water in the future and look after the seedling.

Happy New Year!

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Anna Evans

Author โœ“ Farmer

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