Caring for your Christmas Greens and Shrubs

  • Container gardens need to be watered when dry as long as the soil is not frozen. If frozen, do not water. Be aware of freeze/thaw cycles throughout the winter.
  • Since plants “shut down” for the winter months, their need for sun is eliminated. Container shrubs like Spruces and Junipers that require sun during the growing season do not need sun during the dormant season. If you have a dark location where containers are the focus, you are eligible to purchase “sun” plants provided you plant them in a sunny location come spring.
  • Be sure to purchase container shrubs that are labeled Zone 4 or below. Since the Greenwich area is a hardiness zone 6, and soil in a container can drop twenty degrees (or two hardiness zones) lower than the soil in the ground, zone 5 and 6 shrubs are more susceptible to winter damage in a container than zone 4 or below shrubs.
  • Using a potted Colorado or Alberta Spruce as a Christmas tree is an alternative provided the tree is only indoors for four days. Either one can then be kept in a container or planted outside after Christmas.
  • Once the bottom of a Christmas tree has been freshly cut, it can only be out of water for 24 hours.  If it is left out longer than 24 hours, dry or frozen, it becomes sealed and will not take up any water from the stand; it therefore needs a fresh cut.
  • Fraser Fir greens have the longest needle retention at indoor temperatures.
  • Soaking Christmas greens in water overnight enhances their life indoors. Spraying them with Wilt-Pruf, sold in our Garden Shop, will also prolong their life.
  • All Christmas greens except English Holly can be exposed to temperatures less than 32oF (American Holly can be exposed to freezing temperatures).
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