Caring for Your Natural Holiday Decor

Holiday decorations come in many shapes and sizes. Many are plastic, glass or ceramic, but some consist of natural greenery. From your Christmas tree to evergreen wreaths, garlands and table centerpieces, follow these tips to care for your natural holiday decor and help it last all December long.

Choose the Right Greenery

The decorations you have in mind and where you live determine which greenery you should choose for your holiday decor. Here are some popular options:

  • Eastern juniper grows in the eastern US and Rocky Mountains. It’s especially good for outdoor garlands since indoor heat makes the needles turn brittle.
  • Western juniper is found west of the Rockies. This hardy, fragrant evergreen is ideal for all sorts of displays, both inside and out.
  • White pine is available nationwide. It’s best for outdoor decorations and its soft branches can’t support heavy ornaments.
  • Eucalyptus is found in Western coastal areas. It dries quickly, making it perfect for scented cut arrangements and outdoor garlands.
  • Blue spruce is common in the Midwest and Northeast. It makes for a beautiful, blue-tinted garland, wreath or Christmas tree. Just take care when hanging ornaments because the needles are sharp.
  • Holly is available nationwide. It lasts up to a week indoors (longer when placed in water) and makes a beautiful addition to garlands and wreaths.
  • Fraser fir is common east of the Mississippi. It’s a favorite evergreen for Christmas trees and also makes a beautiful garland.
  • Princess pine is available nationwide. Its soft, versatile needles make it great in wreaths, garlands and cut arrangements.
  • Bay, available nationwide, is a fragrant addition to any indoor or outdoor display.
  • Various types of cedar are available around the country. They are fragrant, versatile and hardy, making them perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

Condition the Greenery

When you purchase plants to make your own wreaths and garlands, it’s worthwhile to condition them first. Conditioning is a process of rehydrating branches, which plants sorely need after sitting in the market for days without water.

Conditioning is a fairly simply process:

  • Fill buckets with room-temperature water.
  • Make diagonal cuts through the stems with a hand pruner.
  • Gently crush newly exposed stem sections with a small hammer.
  • Set the greenery in the buckets of water for a few hours so the branches can soak up plenty of water before you start working them into a wreath or garland.

Keep it Moist

Regardless of whether your natural decorations are hung inside or outside, winter air is harsh and dry. Your decorations, which no longer have a natural source of moisture from the ground, will dry out very quickly if you fail to keep them moist.

The easiest ways to add moisture to evergreen decorations include:

  • Spray them with water.
  • Re-cut the stems of newly delivered greenery to a 45-degree angle so more water can be absorbed once you place the greenery in a bowl of water.
  • Spray anti-desiccant spray (available from your local nursery) on the leaves and bark to seal the plant’s pores.
  • Display natural decorations away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight.

Maximize the Fragrance

When creating your holiday displays, use combinations of especially aromatic evergreens, including pine, juniper, balsam, cedar and eucalyptus. Mix them as you would a bouquet of flowers. Mist the arrangement with water daily to help encourage the scent to permeate the room.

For help making your landscape beautiful for the holiday season, please contact The Grounds Guys®. We can help you ready your property for winter weather so you stay safe and your landscape stays beautiful all season long.

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