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



VIDEO: Snake bites city's own 'Steve Irwin' grandfather

WILDLIFE WARRIOR: Antonias Stappas, 76, was bitten on his fingers by a brown snake at his Redbank Plains home. Pictured with his daughter Seva Stappas and granddaughter Jorgina Reihana, 3.

Meet the 76-year-old who chased a snake, caught it and set it free

Nardya Miller honoured by her best friend

Nardya Miller passed away in January.

"She would have wanted something positive to come out of this."

Child safety intervention targets Ipswich families

A boy on bike and a car on the road

Program helps families safely care for their children at home

Local Partners

HUGE OSCARS FAIL: Wrong film handed Best Picture award

IN A monumental stuff-up, La La Land was incorrectly named Best Picture. During the acceptance speech, the real winner was revealed.

Blue Heelers' Ditch Davey joins 800 Words cast

Ditch Davey joins the cast of 800 Words as Terry, the younger brother of George, played by Erik Thomson.

George Turner's brother, Terry, arrives to Weld with a 'few demons'

Oscars winners 2017: Full list of Academy Award winners

Viola Davis accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for Fences at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

WHO won Oscars this year? Here’s a full list of every winner.

Why can’t Nicole Kidman clap properly?

Nicole Kidman's style of clapping has puzzled Oscars viewers.

FOR some reason, it seems Nicole doesn’t really know how to clap.

Muslim actor makes Oscars history

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for Moonlight at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

MOONLIGHT star Mahershala Ali makes Academy Award history.

NO ONE OFF LIMITS: Kimmel burns down the house at Oscars

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

HOST delivers a torrent of abuse on Hollywood’s night of nights.

Oscars guest’s shocking wardrobe malfunction

Blanca Blanco arrives for the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, USA, 26 February 2017.

ACTRESS suffers X-rated wardrobe malfunction.

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!