Christmas trees - A Guide!

At Plymouth Garden Centre we visit our Christmas tree growers every summer after the last flush of growth, to select and mark individual trees ensuring superb shape and quality. It is a real treat to visit some of the most picturesque parts of the UK especially Scotland where many of our trees are grown. Here the growers are passionate about their trees especially their shape and the freshness of the trees when they arrive at the Garden Centre. Most growers now specialise in a particular variety that suits their soil, aspect and climate. We select from a variety of growers to get a good selection. But with so many types of trees, what is best for you?

The Nordmann Fir

This gorgeous tree is the most popular; wide and bushy, forming the perfect tree shape, with deep green, long, waxy needles. A ‘low needle drop’ variety - it is the best tree for holding onto its needles, which themselves are soft to the touch and densely packed on the branches. They have layered branches that are strong and sturdy, making them great candidates to be heavily decorated and will support your lights with ease. The most popular size is the 1.8m (6 foot) tree, come down early before they sell out!

The Fraser Fir

Our next ‘low needle drop’ tree is the Fraser Fir. They have a narrower body but still retain the traditional conical shape. These are great trees for those where space is limited, or perhaps want a more modern, contemporary Christmas tree. The needles are bluey, green colour, with an almost silver sheen to them. They are slightly stiffer than a Nordmann Firs needles but are not prickly. They also have an extremely pleasant scent that will fill your home. The branches tend to be full and dense, giving the tree a full appearance.

The Norway Spruce

The traditional Christmas Tree. This is the good old-fashioned tree that people have been decorating since Victorian times. It has the classic tree shape and the delicious pine scent we all associate with Christmas. It has stood the test of time, are very good value for money and many of our customers will not choose anything else. A beautiful tree it is, it can lose its needles more quickly than others but a cool room and plenty of watering is the secret to retaining needles for longer. The needles are fine and narrow and cover the branches and arms. These are very bushy, full trees and we do recommend you wear gloves when choosing!

New in for 2021: Abies Koreana

A variety we sold as a cut tree years ago and more recently as pot-grown trees. Lovely soft needles with an amazing fragrance - very zesty, particularly when in a nice cozy house. Full shape, yet nice and slim with good needle retention. Good for smaller spaces as they can look quite light and slim, but are nice and full. You might get lucky and find a few cones!

Christmas Tree Hints and Tips

We recommend that you cut half an inch off the bottom of the trunk so it can drink. We can trim the stump for you in the garden centre if you need us to! Christmas trees drink a lot of water, up to a pint of water a day, so make sure it’s topped up regularly.

Once you get your tree home, soak it in a bucket of water outside or somewhere cool until you are ready to take it in the house. This will just guarantee that your tree will be as fresh as it can be for decorating.

Choose a suitable position for your tree in your home. Ideally a place away from any direct heat source like heaters or fireplaces. Placing your tree next to a heat source will result in it drying out and dropping its needles. The cooler the better.

If you have a stand already bring it with you so we can help match the size of the tree and stump to your stand. If you need a new stand or are starting from scratch, we are happy to help you decide which one is right for you. And, if you have a stand that requires the base tree to be drilled, we can also do that for you in-store at the garden centre.

Pot Grown Trees

We will also have a wide range of pot grown Christmas trees in stock, for those who do not want a cut Christmas tree. When you get your potted tree home, I would recommend that you plant it in a larger pot using John Innes No.3 compost and feed with an ericaceous feed. Keep them well watered if you bring them indoors for Christmas and try to keep them away from sources of heat. This dries out their needles and causes them to drop. After Christmas, place the tree back outside and feed it throughout the spring and summer. They like to be in full sun and well-watered, so give them as much sun as possible and don’t allow them to dry out. Re-pot in the spring every year if you wish to keep bringing it in for Christmas or plant it out directly in the garden, where it will grow into a beautiful tree.

Real or Artificial – The Environmental Impact

We pride ourselves on having quality grown British Christmas trees. All our real trees, both cut and potted are British grown and are as fresh as can be. We don’t buy in any foreign trees at all. In fact, many are local, and hand-selected by us to have the best shape and quality for our customers. Once considered to be more environmentally friendly, artificial trees actually need to be re-used for around 10 Christmases (or more) to keep the environmental impact lower than that of a real tree. They are made of plastic, and the production, manufacturing emissions, and the un-recyclability of artificial trees mean it has a greater carbon footprint than a real one. Both have a place at Christmas, but in our eyes, you just can’t beat a British Grown Real Christmas Tree.

Wreaths and Mistletoe

We have selected a range of wreaths from our suppliers. They use only the highest quality Noble Fir from their plantation in Scotland to create the masterpieces you will be proud to display on your front door.

Fresh mistletoe will also be available in-store; bagged, bundled and ready for those special Christmas kisses from your loved one.

Things to do in November

  • Clean paths and patios with a strong bristled brush.
  • Pick up dead leaves and add them to your compost.
  • Start protecting your garden from the cold.
  • Tidy your garden up by pruning and cutting back.
  • Gradually introduce your potted Christmas tree indoors ready for decorating.
  • The sticks can be used to make Christmas garlands and other decorations.

Four plants that will brighten up your garden in November

  • Skimmia
  • Cyclamen
  • Rhododendron
  • Hellebores

Plant of the month

The Moth Orchid If you are the type of person who regularly has problems with houseplants, the moth orchid is for you. Phalaenopsis is an epiphytic orchid it lives in trees. It hates care and attention. They dislike regular sprays of water as many care leaflets suggest. They are often grown in transparent pots where you can see the fleshy roots. A bark compost is used to ensure free drainage.

I bought one on Mothers' Day for my wife 2 years ago and it has only been without flowers for about 3 weeks since then.

Here is how to care for them:

  • Water sparingly when the leaves lose their shine.
  • Allow the water to drain away and avoid getting any in the middle of the plant.
  • Use an orchid drip fertiliser or a liquid feed one once a month.
  • Avoid a sunny windowsill.
  • If all of the flowers die off, leave the flower stem alone and it will continue to bud or it will branch. If it goes straw coloured then cut it off and another will appear. The less attention it gets the better it thrives.
  • Minimum temperature is about 50 degrees f.
© 2022 Plymouth Garden Centre Company Number 780755