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Instead of cutting a tree for the holidays, you can plant one, when you choose a living tree. Sold in containers, living trees have their roots intact and can be planted outdoors or grown in their containers following the holiday.


The most important decision to make when choosing a living tree is where it will be planted after the holiday season.

Choose the spot to plant your tree before you buy, making sure that there is plenty of room for the tree to grow.

If you don’t have space on your property to plant a tree, find out about tree-planting programs in your community who would welcome a post-holiday donation. If you decide to make a gift of your tree, be sure to check with the recipient regarding preferred species.

If you have a large yard that needs planting, you can plant a “holiday tree grove”. Each year purchase a tree and add it to the grove. This will become a special place to enjoy year-round, and a reminder of past celebrations.

Once planted, outdoor evergreens can be decorated and serve as a holiday tree for the neighborhood.


If you have limited space, you can plant a living tree in a container and bring it indoors each season. The remainder of the year it can add background greenery to a deck or patio.

You can keep your tree a manageable size with yearly pruning. Our recycled Worldwise EcoPlanter is especially suited for this purpose as it will not break, chip, or crack in cold weather and will last as long as the tree.

Nurturing a tree throughout the year gives it a special meaning during the holidays. Because you participate in its growth and care throughout the whole year, it becomes part of your family, a “friend” who comes to celebrate with you year after year. You could start with a tree seedling and watch it grow, particularly if you start it on a child’s first holiday or a first holiday of a marriage.


The most important aspects of choosing the right species are to choose a species that will thrive in your area, and how fast the tree will grow. If you are planting outdoors, you probably want a tree that will quickly grow to full size. If you are going to keep it in a container, it is best to choose a species that is naturally slow-growing.

These are the most popular species for living holiday trees:

Common name Scientific name Nursery sizes Best climates
Slow growth
WHITE FIR A. concolor 1-6 feet Everywhere
COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE P. pungens ‘Glauca’ 1-6 feet Everywhere
NORWAY SPRUCE Picea abies 3-7 feet Everywhere except south and deserts
DWARF ALBERTA SPRUCE P. glauca ‘conica’ 1-4 feet Everywhere except deserts
NOBLE FIR Abies procera 3-6 feet NE, W, Midwest, Rockies
Average growth
JAPANESE BLACK PINE P. thubergiana 1-6 feet Everywhere
NORFOLK ISLAND PINE Araucaria heterophylla 1-7 feet
Tropical, Subtropical, SW, S, Gulf Coast
SCOTCH PINE Pinus sylvestris 2-8 feet NW, W, Midwest, Rockies
DOUGLAS FIR Pseudotsuga menziesii 3-7 feet NW, W, Midwest, Rockies
Fast growth
ALEPPO PINE P. halepensis 2-6 feet S, SW, deserts
MONTEREY PINE P. radiata 2-8 feet N, Midwest, E, W
MONDELL PINE P. eldarica 1-8 feet SW



Since warm indoor air is not the native winter habitat for evergreen trees, it is important to properly care for your tree to keep it green and healthy through the holidays.

Limit indoor time to two weeks, and place it on the opposite side of the room from any heat sources, including fireplaces and woodstoves, heater vents, and unshaded south-facing windows.
Use “cool” 5-watt lights on the tree, as heat from regular lights can dry out the tree.

Give the tree a good soaking before bringing it indoors. Let it drain for a day or two to prevent ending up with a puddle on the floor. Make sure to put the pot in a saucer and the saucer on a Worldwise SurfaceSaver to protect the floor. Water every three days to keep the soil moist.

For time-release watering, and to keep the tree cool, try watering with ice cubes. As they melt, the tree roots will slowly absorb the water.

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