Lifestyle

Make decorating a living Christmas tree family tradition

For a long-lasting living Christmas tree, it's hard to go past the popular Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla).
For a long-lasting living Christmas tree, it's hard to go past the popular Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla). Sarah Keayes

CHRISTMAS preparations are well underway.

Decorating the tree is a big event, particularly when kids are involved.

More and more families are choosing living Christmas trees, which can grow with the family and be a part of the celebration year after year.

For a long-lasting living Christmas tree, it's hard to go past one of our own native species.

The ever-popular Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is a firm favourite, not just in Australia but also in America and Europe, where large numbers are grown for indoor plants.

Not so well-known, but equally suitable, is the beautiful Daintree Pine (Gymnostoma australianum).

A member of the casuarina family, this beautiful small tree is rare and endangered in its native habitat in the forests of far north Queensland.

But don't be alarmed - it's not endangered because it's difficult to grow.

With delicate fine needle-like foliage and a neat conical habit, it will grow 3-6m in about 10 years.

The Daintree pine is perfect for pots, native gardens and formal garden styles.

If the idea of a pine doesn't excite, then there a plenty of other options.

Grafted Eucalypts are very popular, giving a quintessentially Australian look. They usually flower in November/December.

'Summer Red' has magnificent bright red flowers, whereas 'Summer Beauty' is a lovely soft pink.

The blossoms are followed by plump gumnuts.

The grafted Eucalypts are suitable even for small gardens as they rarely exceed 5m in height.

Other popular Christmas trees include shaped or topiaried shrubs such as lilly pillies, dwarf murraya or even rosemary bushes.

A perfectly clipped cone, dotted with tiny red baubles, will look beautifully elegant, especially in a square pot.

On a miniature scale, these make great table decorations too.

Regardless of what tree you choose, there are a few basic guidelines to help you get the best out of it.

Don't overload the tree with heavy decorations or you might damage the branches.

While it's living inside, it won't need a great deal of water.

Keep the potting mix moist and don't let water sit in the saucer all the time.

Terracotta pots and saucers are sometimes porous, so water may seep through and damage floors.

Indoors, you are probably safer with a plastic saucer or a glazed one, maybe sitting up on pot feet to allow air to circulate.

Once Christmas festivities are over, move the tree outside into a shaded position.

Because it has been indoors out of the direct sun for several weeks, it will get sunburnt if you put it straight out into the sun.

Accustom it gradually by moving it into more and more sun over a period of several weeks.

It doesn't need to be in full sun all day - half a day will be sufficient for most species.

If your tree is in a small pot, say anything smaller than 30cm (12inches), then you would be wise to move it into a larger pot after Christmas.

Make sure you use premium potting mix, fertilise it a couple of times during the year, and your Christmas tree will be bigger and better next year.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  christmas tree, gardening, lifestyle, plants




BREAKING: Man accused of indecently assaulting health worker

A view of the Ipswich Hospital from the corner of East and Court Street. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times

It's alleged the attacker threatened the woman with a knife

Woolworths to sack 500 staff, close at least 17 stores

This is despite the supermarket earning $2.5 billion for the year.

WATCH: Shots fired in quiet Ipswich street

One of the shots shattered the windscreen of a gold coloured Holden Commodore that was parked in the driveway, while another pierced the garage door.

Police are investigating after shots fired into a car and garage

Latest deals and offers

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field to expand family?

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field want more children.

Licking incident bars Ariana from performing at White House

Ariana Grande has been blocked from performing at the White House

Taylor Swift's ex throws support behind Kanye West

Calvin Harris shares a sing-along with Kanye West

Michael Jackson's jailed doctor wants his license back

Conrad Murray wants his medical licence back.

Pokemon Go: "Trading" on the horizon as game evolves

No Caption

Pokemon GO players will soon be able to trade with other trainers

Bindi Irwin: ‘I’ve lived 10 lives in one lifetime’

Bindi meets her fans.

SHE'S just turns 18 but Bindi's life has been full of experiences

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles