2020 has given everyone the chance to learn new skills and develop interests that had previously been side-lined. One of the key benefiters of lockdown was UK gardens and plant life. Christmas is synonymous for pine trees, and whether you prefer artificial or real, most households will be soon decorating their chosen tree with lights and baubles.
Less commonly known as alternatives to cut trees are potted and pot grown trees that can be moved back into the garden after Christmas and kept for may years if cared for. These trees can be an interesting focal point of any garden and are perfect options for new gardeners.
Benefits of a pot grown tree
A pot grown tree has many advantages over the other real tree options. Being grown in its own pot means there is less root disturbance compared to that of a potted tree. Potted or containerised trees are grown in plantations and then lifted for potting. Their roots are normally pruned so they can be fitted into a pot which stresses the tree. With a reduced root system potted trees find it difficult to take up water and often only last for one Christmas.
Pot grown trees can be instantly displayed unlike cut trees which require setting up in a stand to hold them upright.
Our pot grown trees start life as a seedling planted in a pot which is plunged into the ground in a field in Scotland. They are then maintained and cared for over several years until it’s time to lift and sell them ready for Christmas. Once lifted the pots are placed inside a Climate Bag which helps to maintain the moisture levels in the pot. Pot grown trees can be kept for several seasons if cared for correctly. After a few years of new growth a pot grown tree may become too large to bring into the house, so left outside and decorated with outdoor lights, it makes a great festive addition to the garden or patio.
Before you buy
First step before you deck your tree with tinsel is to pick the right spot, we would recommend a corner away from direct heat. You should be mindful of young children and pets in the house that might be tempted to claw or pull at the tree.
Every tree needs lighting to bring a glow to the room, so consider an area where connecting to a plug socket will be safe and easy to do.
Now measure the space, that’s height keeping in mind you’ll want a star or angel on top so allow some extra space, as well as the width – think of sight lines in your room, you’ll still want to be able to watch those festive programmes without the branches getting in the way!
Our trees will be priced by the size bracket it falls into rather than marked by its specific size, so you’ll need a tape measure with you when you go to pick up your tree.
Caring for your pot grown tree
Once home your tree is best kept outside in a sheltered position until you are ready to bring it inside, ideally if you wish to keep the tree for next year bring it inside the weekend before Christmas. Whilst outside keep the tree well-watered, this is best done by opening the Climate Bag but still keeping it around the pot and watering into the pot, the bag has drainage holes to prevent water logging.
Pot grown trees are ideal for adding a festive touch to the patio or porch, just don’t forget to water.
When you are ready to bring the tree inside remove the Climate Bag and place the pot inside a decorative pot cover or on to a saucer. The tree will need to be kept watered, so a protective mat or cloth placed underneath the pot cover or saucer would be a good idea to contain any water spillages. Be careful not to over water or splash water onto any electrics.
Pot grown trees prefer a cool position when brought into the home so should be sited away from hot radiators and other heat sources.
They are best kept inside for as short a period as possible if you would like to grow them on for future use.
After Christmas care
If you would like to keep your tree for another year it will need to be reacclimatised to the outside temperature. This can be done by moving the tree into a cooler position, for example a cold conservatory. After a few days in a cooler climate the tree should have adjusted to the lower temperature and can then be put outside unless the weather is exceptionally cold, if so, delay putting the tree outside until the weather is more favourable.
Your tree should be potted up into a larger pot ready for new growth in the spring. It is best potted in John Innes No. 3 compost with some multi-purpose compost and grit mixed in. Water regularly especially during prolonged dry spells.