Five Best Christmas Trees You Can Grow in Containers

As everyone knows, Christmas does not feel like Christmas unless you have a festive tree for the holidays.  Most people fuss over such an important decision by inspecting each tree on the lot; spending time looking for the fullest, most perfectly shaped, most beautiful tree that Mother Nature can supply. Read on to find the five best Christmas tree species you can grow in containers. Enjoy them for the holiday season then plant them outdoors to enjoy for a lifetime. NBC channel 4 news even the 77 foot tall Norway Spruce now at Rockefeller Center started out as a 4-foot tall container tree on someone’s coffee table.

There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold every year in the United States.  Almost all of these come from Christmas Tree plantations. It can take anywhere from 7 to 15 years to grow a tree to a typical height of 6 feet. These cut trees are eventually cut and sold and in a few short weeks end up in a landfill eventually producing methane when they decompose or are incinerated. Many cities collect, chip and mulch Christmas trees which is considered more environmentally friendly. Check with your local recycling center.

There are two types of potted trees, those grown directly in containers and those dug up and transferred to containers. With container-grown trees, their roots are stronger and healthier. You should bring your potted tree indoors as late as possible, the weekend before Christmas is best. Remember to water your tree regularly so it does not dry out and avoid placing your tree too close to a heat source which will cause excessive needle drop.

Instead, the Plant King has compiled a list of trees that can be grown in containers, decorated with seasonal ornaments while being enjoyed year after year.  Let us show you how to pick the best Christmas tree this holiday season while reducing our burden on landfills. Eventually, these trees will need transplanting so we included information on height at maturity, growth rates, light requirements, and growing zones.


Balsam Fir, (Abies balsamea)

balsam fir branch

The Balsam Fir has needles are ¾ to 1½ inch in length that last a very long time. This tree has a dark-green appearance and retains its pleasing fragrance throughout the Holiday season.  Their attractive needles have two colors on top and bottom, adding shades of silver to their dark green appearance.

Height: The balsam fir grows to a height of 45–75′ at maturity.

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a slow rate of less than 12″ per year.

Light Requirements: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.

Growing Zones: 3 – 5


Douglas Fir, (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir trees have soft needles that are approximately 1 to 1 ½ inch in length. The needles are dark green in color and radiate in all directions around the branch. When crushed, these needles have a wonderfully sweet fragrance. Douglas fir is one of the top Christmas tree species in the United States.

Mature Size: The Douglas fir grows to a height of 40–70′ at maturity.

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium rate with increases of 12–24″ per year.

Light Requirements: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.

Growing Zones: 4 – 6


Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)

Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce has needles between 1 to 1 ½ inch in length. Blue spruce trees are popular as a Christmas tree due to its symmetrical appearance and attractive blue foliage. This species has an excellent natural shape and requires little pruning to attain its form. Another positive is that needle retention is among the best for the spruces. Its popularity as an ornamental leads many individuals to use blue spruce as a living Christmas tree to later be planted outdoors.

Mature Size: The Colorado blue spruce grows to a height of 50–75’at maturity.

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a slow to medium rate of 12″ to 24″ per year.

Light Requirements: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree.

Growing Zones: 2 – 7


Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)

Fraser Fir

The most popular Christmas tree species in the country these days. The Fraser fir branches turn slightly upward giving it a beautiful form. Their soft needles are dark blue-green in color and have a pleasant scent. The tree has good needle retention. Fraser firs are known for staying fresh and fragrant throughout the season.

Mature Size: The Douglas fir grows to a height of 40–70′ at maturity.

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium rate of 13–24″ per year.

Light Requirements: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.

Growing Zones: 4 – 7


Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Eastern White Pine

The tallest pine in the northeast United States. White pines have soft, flexible needles that are between 2½ – 5 inches long. White pines have good needle retention but have less aroma than other trees on our list. They have flexible limbs that are not recommended for heavy Christmas ornaments.

Mature Size: The eastern white pine grows to a height of 50–80 feet.

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a fast rate of more than 24″ per year.

Light Requirements: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.

Growing Zones: 3 – 8


 

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