For many, a traditional cut Christmas tree doesn’t work anymore. Some folks prefer to multitask and use a tree with other functions after the holidays. Some plant the tree in the landscape or use it on the patio. Such trees are bought in a container or as a ball & burlap and require special treatment for success. Here are a few tips for success when using a different tree for Christmas:
- Wait as long as possible to bring a living tree into the house.
- Choose a location inside that has bright light but not full sun.
- Place the tree inside so that the air vents, whether AC or heat, does not blow on the tree.
- Use small ornaments and only a few lights to prevent damage to the tree.
- Keep the tree watered but not wet while inside.
- Plant outside as soon as possible after the holiday season.
- The real trick is to choose a species that will compliment your existing landscape. Some interesting choices include Southern Red Cedar, Pine – Slash or Sand, Jamaican Caper, and Stoppers.
For the non-traditionalist among us, using a Florida native tree can bring a sense of Old Florida or whimsy to holiday celebrations. There are native hollies with pretty berries this time of year or try a palm for a different tree for Christmas.
A great holly is Ilex x attenuata ‘East Palatka.’ This holly is a medium-sized tree, a cross between American Holly (Ilex opaca) and Dahoon Holly (Ilex cassine). East Palatka Holly is an evergreen with oval-shaped leaves with occasional teeth or spines towards the tips. The flowers are small and inconspicuous; male and female flowers are on separate plants. The fruit, a red berry, is only borne on female trees.
If a palm tree for the holidays appeals to you, try:
- Dwarf Sabal Palm (Sabal minor) – A hardy and tough native palm for partial shade locations in the landscape. Sabal minor this species is typically only 6 feet tall. This palm with beautiful blue-green fan-shaped leaves is very drought and cold tolerant.
- Silver Palm (Coccothrinax argentata) – This Florida native is slow-growing, small, rugged, and durable. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil, Silver Palm is very drought tolerant.
- Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) – A clumping palm with numerous slender stems covered with matted brown fiber and fan-shaped leaves. Lady palms will grow well in full shade and are among the best for use inside.
This article first appeared in the Treasure Coast Newspapers.