How To Care For Your Potted Christmas Tree

Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

It’s the holiday season, and a Christmas tree is a must. This time, why not choose from the variety of container-grown Christmas trees available.

Instead of getting a cut tree from the tree lot, get the ultimate eco-friendly tree from your local nursery or garden centre.

Taking care of your potted Christmas tree — whether they are of the blue spruce variety or white spruce variety — is relatively simple.

Potted living Christmas trees — unlike a cut tree — only need to be bought once every few years, bringing you joy for several holidays to come, if taken care of properly.

Once the living Christmas tree gets too big and outgrows its pot, plant it outside, and it’ll make a memory filled addition to your garden.

A few things need to be considered and kept in mind for the healthy growth of a living Christmas tree. Continue reading for our potted Christmas tree care guide.

Plan Before You Purchase

Picking a living Christmas tree that’ll easily adapt and thrive in your location and local climate and that is well suited for you, is important. After careful consideration of planting sites, choose one that fits your area before taking it home.

Once at home, place the container-grown tree in a sheltered cool spot — especially during hot summers. This could be under a tree canopy or a covered porch. A sheltered location will help the new tree to adapt to its environment.

Before bringing the tree into your house, hose it down and gently shake it. This will help get rid of loose needles which could make a mess in your living space.

Don’t Disturb The Roots

Avoiding disturbance of the root system is crucial for the survival of your tree. For the first couple of months after purchase, keep the Christmas tree potted in the pot that it came in, avoiding transplant shock and allowing it time to grow more roots.

If the plastic container the tree came in isn’t all that pretty, place it into a decorative ceramic container for the festive season. A metal bucket would also work.

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The Great Outdoors

A potted living Christmas tree won’t like being in the house for too long. Avoid placing it in your house permanently as it’ll only tolerate a limited amount of time indoors.

These festive trees enjoy and thrive in cool outdoor temperatures and bright natural light. Over the holidays, bring your Christmas tree indoors, but limit it to ten days at a time.

When bringing the tree indoors, place your potted Christmas tree in a bright and sunny spot away from heating vents or heat sources.

Bring your tree in about 5 days before Christmas Eve. After about a week or 10 days have passed, place it on your porch, doorstep or a sheltered spot in the garden for a few days. A bright garage is also the perfect option to give your tree the short, cool break it needs from indoor heat and limited household light.

Don’t Forget To Water Your Potted Tree

When watering your pine tree, remember that it’ll dry out faster indoors than outdoors.

Water your potted tree every day while it is indoors. Add some reindeer moss or mulch onto the top of the pots’ soil. Top dressing your plant with mulch will slow down the process of evaporation, minimizing water loss, creating lovely moist conditions.

Using ice cubes instead of running water is an efficient way to hydrate your Christmas tree. Simply place a few trays of ice cubes onto the soil. The ice will become water slowly and then seep through the soil without making puddles, giving the roots time to absorb the water, and avoiding the roots from drowning.

What Happens After The Holidays

After the Christmas celebration, move your tree to an outside location. Start by placing it in a sheltered spot. Water the tree thoroughly, soaking the root ball properly.

After 7 days, find a sunny spot in your garden and place your potted Christmas tree there. Here it’ll live for the rest of the year.

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New growth will start happening in spring. When this happens, add a bit of fertilizer. This will boost the healthy growth of your Christmas tree.


After a few years, when your tree has grown bigger, go ahead and replant your tree in a larger container. Also, do this if there are signs of disease. They include sparsely-needled branches, yellowing needles or stunted growth.

Place your tree in a mixture of potting soil and controlled-release organic fertilizer. This aids in healthy new growth.

Prune about 2-3 inches off the sides and bottom of the root ball, using clean pruning shears, before transplanting it.

Once your tree grows to a height of 6 feet and develops a heavy root ball, it’s time to plant it in your garden outside to live out its days there. Plant it in a spot where it will get plenty of sun.

Potted Christmas Tree Losing Needles and Going Brown

Like most potted plants, this living tree can also develop brown needles if conditions aren’t satisfactory.

Continue on to get some tips and learn about the factors that may contribute to your Christmas trees’ needles going brown.

Water Your Living Tree

The wrong amount of water is one factor why your Christmas tree is going brown. Overhydration causes trench foot — aka root rot. This disease can kill your living tree.

Too little water and your Christmas tree’s needles will turn brown and fall off.

Ensure that the container has drainage holes with good drainage and place a tray underneath the pot to catch the excess water. Empty the tray once in a while so that the pot doesn’t sit in the water


Radiators, heating vents and too much direct sunlight are also factors that can cause your potted Christmas trees’ needles to drop. Be careful of string lights & LED lights, even led’s, as they can also dry out the pine needles.

Too much heat or warm air increases the rate at which moisture evaporates, causing excessive moisture loss, thus dehydrating your living tree faster.

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An electrically powered humidifier will help keep moisture for your potted trees.

My Planted Christmas Tree Is Dying

You have now planted your mature container grown Christmas tree on the ground, and its leaves are browning, and you feel like it may be dying. Here’s why!

Winter Frost

During the freezing climate of the year, the ground in your yard may start freezing over. When the ground freezes, water is unable to seep into the soil, drying it out. These dry spells will cause your planted Christmas tree to go brown and may even die.

Apply a plant spray which protects your tree from losing moisture during cold climates. ‘Wilt Pruf Plant Protector Concentrate’ is a polymer which is organic. It consists of hydrogen and carbon and isn’t harmful to trees or plants. It can also be used on garden shrubs to shield them from this so-called winter stress.


When planting your tree outside, some animals may eat the low branches of your tree, causing it to lose vital nutrients and water. This damages the tree and may cause it to die.

Root Rot

The roots are quite sensitive and, therefore, rotting roots are the most serious reason why your tree may be turning brown and dying.

Root rot is a fungal infection of the root ball causing it to become damaged. If not treated, it can spread throughout the living trees trunk and branches.


Time to go ahead and invest with confidence, in an eco-friendly and purse-friendly living Christmas tree indoors this year.

Not only to decorate with the family and enhance your home this Christmas, but for several more Christmases to come. And after that….. a statement tree to grace your yard all year round….

Hopefully, now you have all the information you need to take proper care of your potted Christmas tree indoors.