Our handy guide to choosing a real Christmas tree 🎄
There’s nothing quite like a real Christmas tree to decorate a room and fill your home with that nostalgic seasonal scent – but did you know that they’re also beneficial to the environment? Real trees are renewable, recyclable and, while they’re growing, they provide habitats for wildlife and absorb carbon dioxide and other gases.
Popular varieties of Christmas tree
With so many types and varieties of Christmas trees available, it can be hard to decide on the best one for you. We’ve listed the most popular varieties below to help choose one that meets your needs.
Currently the top choice for indoor Christmas trees. The lush, glossy, rich green needles are soft and dense making it easy to decorate and the strong branches will support your lights and decorations to create a stunning display. Excellent needle retention.
Beautiful soft green-blue needles, neat compact branches and a heavenly fragrance make this tree a perfect choice for a festive home. With excellent needle retention and strong dense foliage, this tree truly is a noble choice.
Quite often sold with fir cones still attached, this tree has a gorgeous citrus scent, dark green foliage and strong branches. The Fraser fir tends to grow with a compact, upright habit making it a good choice for smaller rooms. As with other firs, keep well watered to help retain the needles.
The 'traditional' Christmas tree. Strong branches make for easy decorating, although the needles can tend to be fairly sharp and will drop, especially in heated rooms. Keep outside for as long as possible, then bring in to an un-heated or cool room for best needle retention.
As its name suggests, this tree is more of a blue-grey colour creating a nice contrast of colours. Strong branches and a rich festive scent combine with good needle retention to make this tree a pleasure to decorate and display. They quite often have a wide base, making a perfect place to hide presents.
Strong branches with twisted green/blue needles. A superb choice for needle retention, the Scots pine will fill any room with a pine perfume throughout the festive season.
Cut or pot grown Christmas trees?
Most people buy cut Christmas trees, but it is possible to buy potted or pot grown trees.
'Potted' Christmas trees have usually been grown in the ground and then dug up and potted up with few roots. They don’t generally last much longer than a well cared for cut tree, and usually won’t establish in the garden afterwards.
Pot-grown trees have been grown in the pot and so are more likely to be successful for growing on from year to year. But don’t keep them in the house for too long or too warm and make sure the compost is kept moist.
Christmas tree care advice
Here are some top tips to keep your real cut Christmas tree looking great for as long as possible:
- Keep the tree outside for as long as possible, until you are ready to bring it indoors and decorate it.
- Make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk, by removing a circle of wood about 13-25mm (0.5-1in) thick. This will help the tree absorb water, stay fresh and reduce needle drop.
- Stand your tree in a water-holding tree stand - this will provide a good size water reservoir as well as good stability for your tree.
- A cut tree can easily drink 500ml (1 pint) a day, so keep the reservoir topped up.
- Keep your tree as cool as possible - and certainly away from sources of heat, such as radiators and open fires.
- Try not to buy a tree that has been stored netted, and remove the netting as soon as you get home. Heat will build up inside a netted tree and cause needles to drop.
- Remove any unsightly lower branches but don’t throw them away. Tie them together at the base to create fan-shaped decorations.