Colorful garlands, balls from small to large, shiny tinsel and… they are “Christmas trees” in pots! Green and blue, small and bigger, and most importantly – really alive, unlike cut firs! On New year’s eve, we see them in large numbers on supermarket shelves. How not to get lost and choose a plant that will be a worthy decoration of your holiday?
So, what conifers are offered to us? Classic green Picea abies. Spruce with blue needles, called Picea pungens. Thick dense dwarf-spruce ‘Conica’, and the label may be written differently, and the name of the species-Picea glauca.
This can be soft fluffy “Christmas trees” with a tart-smelling needles, painted with a whitish color on the underside, which are actually firs. Large pines with a characteristic, somewhat rough structure of branches. Junipers are widely represented with green, bluish or silver needles, quite soft, short and sparse. The Christmas tree can be “decorated” with white spray spray, which may add decoration, but undoubtedly harms the living plant, as it clogs the pores of the needles.
Arborvitae with flat green legs of branches and characteristic aroma. Cypress trees, whose needles, like those of thuja, resemble scales, but have a different pleasant smell and, as a rule, are painted in a bluish color, and the shoots are more elegant. Under the name “coniferous mix” sellers usually exhibit cypress and juniper trees.
Healthy appearance. Choosing a “Christmas tree” in the store, give preference to healthy and strong (in appearance) specimens, with a moist substrate, without broken twigs. This does not mean that acquiring a plant with a few broken twigs and a dried lump is out of the question, but the risk that it will not survive is greatly increased.
Good looks. When you choose a “Christmas tree” for temporary home decoration, it is not so important to what genus and species the plant belongs, as long as you are satisfied with its appearance. If you plan to later transplant the tree into the garden, then its species characteristics should think in advance. What exactly needs to be taken into account, I will tell you later. In the meantime, learn how to extend the life of a coniferous plant in the apartment.
How to extend the life of “Christmas trees”
For all the named conifers, the rules of room maintenance are the same-a temperature of about +12…+16°C (in the living room, on the windowsill), moist air (spraying needles and/or installation on a pallet with wet expanded clay) and watering, ensuring the maintenance of the substrate in a moist state.
Of course, the main decoration of the holiday you want to keep in the center of the room (large “Christmas trees” – Pinus sylvestris ‘Fastigiata’, Picea pungens ‘Glauca’) or on the table (compact conifers-Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’, Pinus mugo ‘Mops’, Picea pungens ‘Blue Diamond’), but not on the windowsill. This is quite acceptable, but at night it is still desirable to move the plant in the most comfortable conditions. And never to allow installation of a tree at a heat source-whether it be a fireplace or a heating system.
We all want to extend the holiday longer, for the plant being in the room-an unfavorable factor, so at least 2-3 weeks it is desirable to determine the more suitable conditions.
During the stay in a warm room, such changes in appearance can happen, as the appearance of young growth and yellowing of needles (needles fade, turn yellow, crumble). Both are extremely negative phenomena, indicating too high temperatures, and the second option is also about low humidity.
Young growth even at weak sub-zero temperatures can suffer greatly (when you do move the “herringbone” to live outside). Left warm, the plant can continue to grow and form a weak elongated growth that distorts the appearance. When shedding of needles to achieve the appearance of fresh pine needles (provided that shoots live) is very difficult.
What to do with the plant after the holidays
But now the fireworks have died down, the bells have rung and the traditional reception time has ended… We wonder about the future of the conifer tree.
Potted “Christmas trees” are mostly open-ground plants, for successful growth and development they need cool wintering and moist air. Cool how and where to provide the window sill, cold or insulated balcony (loggia), a winter garden, the cottage?
Now knowledge about the species of the “Christmas tree” is extremely necessary for us, because we can judge the winter hardiness of the plant by it. Often on sale there are thermophilic plants: Pinus pinea ‘Silvercrest’, as well as “Turkish firs”, one of the parents of which is Abies cephalonica. Of course, such beauties from the far South will not survive the harsh winter of the middle zone. The average temperature of their winter content ranges from + 4°C to +10°C, which in residential areas is, of course, impossible to provide.
Salvation for them can be a non-freezing balcony with the possibility of heating or a stairwell. Such a plant needs to take the lightest place and provide minimal watering, preventing drying of the earthen coma.
Quite problematic wintering cypress trees: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Chamaecyparis obtusa and Chamaecyparis thyoides (most often found as a Christmas “Christmas tree” his cultivar ‘Top Point’), Abies nordmanniana and Abies concolor, Thuja plicata ‘Gelderland’, Pinus nigra ‘Oregon Green’, Juniperus chinensis ‘Stricta’, as well as popular in Europe Pinus heldreichii ‘malink’, ‘compact gem’.
My advice – it is better to grow them in the southern regions, but if you want to try to save the tree and plant in the middle zone, then they should be carefully buried in the snow and exclude the possibility of burn in early spring.
Take out to the country
You can take out to the country Abies fraseri, Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica, Pinus sylvestris, Thuja occidentalis, Juniperus scopulorum (‘Moonglow’ and other cultivars), Picea omorika, Picea glauca, Picea abies, Picea pungens. They are simply enough to bury “with his head” in a snowdrift-if there are no serious thaws and subsequent severe frosts, the trees will overwinter well, and in the spring they can be planted.
Note that spring hazards are Picea glauca ‘Conica’, Juniperus chinensis ‘Stricta’ (early spring burns), Abies lasiocarpa and Abies sibirica (damage to young shoots by late spring frosts). To prevent burns, it is desirable to put a pritenochny shield or pre-wrap the plant with a shading mesh or burlap.
Digging in the shade is undesirable – there the snow lasts longer, which means that the vegetation begins later. Any coniferous extremely undesirable temperature changes, so before moving to the country, especially if there are severe frosts, it is better to keep the plant for 3-5 days on a non-freezing balcony.
Leave in the apartment
If this is not possible, you can leave it on a non-insulated glazed loggia with the obligatory shelter of the root part (as a rule, on such a balcony the temperature is 5-8 degrees higher than on the street). The extreme option – the windowsill of the stairwell (the main thing-that the tree no one liked).
Miniature conifers (Thuja plicata ‘Can-Can’, Picea glauca ‘Conica’) can be grown for several years on the balcony or loggia. The best fit non-freezing premises, but you can leave them on a cold glazed balcony (loggia) provided quality shelter, especially the container.
I draw your attention to the fact that only species with greater winter hardiness than necessary for the open ground will grow without problems on the non-insulated balcony. But even if they are very hardy, I still recommend to cover their root system, because in winter on the loggia conifers are in harsher conditions than in the garden. Well, less hardy species (zone 4-5) need shelter without fail.
The soil in which the plant was sold must be replaced in the spring. Completely destroy the lump should not be, and if it is tightly braided with roots, it is necessary to choose a container with a diameter of 4-5 cm more and add fresh soil (either specialized for conifers, or make a mixture of sod land, sand, peat and pine litter). Annually it is recommended to transplant the plant, increasing the diameter of the container by 3-5 cm (depending on the growth rate of the tree).