Live conifers instead of the Christmas tree
New Years is soon! The counters of our stores were already filled with New Year's live Christmas trees, pines, junipers and other conifers in containers. Sellers can assure you that the coniferous plant purchased from them in a pot will be happy to celebrate New Year with you for many years in a row. But to put it mildly, they exaggerate. In this article I will share my experience of growing spruce in the garden, which "worked out" once the role of a Christmas tree in my apartment. And also I will tell you how to choose living plants, including from conifers, as a New Year tree.
Choose a coniferous plant for the "role" of the Christmas tree
Traditional conifers - pines, spruce, thuja, fir and many others, indeed, can be purchased for the New Year holiday. But until the next New Year, they can only survive as a garden plant. How and when to plant a New Year tree in open ground, I will tell later, but for now - how to choose a Christmas tree from a huge variety of conifers in containers.
No need to strive to buy the largest coniferous plant - a small one will transfer the transplant to the garden and acclimatization easier, and it will be easier to look after it until spring.
When buying, you need to pay attention to the condition of the needles - the plant should not have dried or rusty areas.
The main signs of a healthy plant:
- pure needles;
- trunk without dents, growths and streaks of resin;
- container without deformation and cracks.
Where to buy?
The place of purchase is very important in this matter. You should not buy a seedling from street vendors that you see in this place for the first time in your life. Indeed, some "businessmen" dig seedlings in late autumn from the open ground, put them in containers and sell them for the New Year. With high probability, such a spruce-pine-thuja will live about as long as the sawn ones. Therefore, you need to buy a seedling in a container either in specialized stores or in nurseries.
Most likely, you can trust the supermarkets that constantly sell seasonal and indoor plants, especially if you have previously bought flowers or seedlings from them, and the experience was successful.
Preparing a Christmas tree in a container for the holiday
The purchased plant needs to be transplanted immediately, since seedlings are sold in transporting soft containers that are not suitable for growing. The soil in which the seedlings are located, especially brought from Europe, can only conditionally be called soil, rather it is a special substrate in which the plant should not be for a long time. It is better to buy soil special for coniferous plants or universal.
We carry out the transplantation by transshipment method, without disturbing the earthen coma - this is very important for any transplantation of conifers, and especially in autumn and winter, that is, during dormancy.
At the bottom of the pot, be sure to lay drainage (about ¼ part of the volume). It can be expanded clay, coals, gravel, pebbles or broken brick - it does not matter. The main thing is that water does not stagnate at the bottom of the pot.
No fertilizers need to be applied - the new soil contains all the necessary trace elements, and their increased doses can only harm the plant at this time. The first dressing can be done in March, using special fertilizer for conifers.
We spray the transplanted plant, put it away from the battery, dress up (do not overdo it, it is still alive) and ... we celebrate the New Year!
Caring for the Christmas tree in the container after the holiday
As soon as the New Year fireworks die out (no need to wait for the Old New Year !!!) we remove all the decorations from the pine-tree-thuja tree. If necessary, water and put in the coldest place in the apartment.
Cool contents and high humidity are the main conditions for the survival of the New Year tree after the holidays.
Humidity and watering
This does not mean that you need to constantly water the plant - we water as the top layer dries. It is impossible to say how many times a week you need to do this - it all depends on the size and material of the pot, and temperature, and humidity.
You can put a container of water next to the plant or install the pot on a pebble pan, but in any case, daily spraying will be required. Water for both irrigation and spraying needs soft and settled. That, in fact, is the whole departure. Nothing else is needed except reduced temperature.
In winter, conifers need a temperature drop in the range from 0about up to +7aboutC. Lighting at this time should be quite bright, so it would seem that it is possible to create favorable conditions on a glazed insulated loggia or porch. Probably yes, but on condition that during the day this room will not get very hot from the sun, as daily sharp temperature drops will not do good to the plant.
The root system in the container may freeze if the temperature is below zero, so you need to think about warming the container itself. In addition, a constant flow of fresh air is required. Here's the catch - if you open the window, it will be cold, if not open, deprive the plant of fresh air.
So year-round cultivation of conifers in indoor conditions is more likely for residents with a mild, closer to warm climate - it is easier to create suitable winter conditions there. For them and all those who, in spite of everything, decided to grow in an apartment, we clarify that the coniferous plant in the tub should always be turned to the sun on one side, and the soil, even in winter, should not dry out.
In the summer, if there is such an opportunity, it is better to take the conifer into the garden, in a place protected from the wind and midday sun.
Planting container New Year trees in open ground
I deliberately do not write - to the garden, because not everyone has gardens and dachas, but who has them, perhaps they have long been completely planted with other cultures. But each of us has a yard, parks and squares nearby.
So, if you tried and provided that minimum to create winter conditions, most likely, your New Year trees-pine-thuja survived until spring. As soon as the snow falls and the earth dries out a bit, we select a suitable place and dig a hole. Conifers do not like the full shadow, but the hot sun will not suit them. It is best to plant a seedling so that it is part of the day in the sun and shaded for the rest of the time.
It is better to dig a hole 3-4 weeks before planting, so that the earth settles a little. We must lay down the drainage to the bottom so that during prolonged rains or spring snowmelt, the water under the roots does not stagnate. If it is possible to bring at least a bucket of land from the coniferous forest - excellent, no - also not fatal.
For better adaptation, you must try to maintain the orientation of the seedling. To do this, you can tie any lace at home to a branch located, for example, on the north side of the plant and, planting it in a hole, rotate the plant so that the marked branch faces north.
For planting coniferous seedlings, it is advisable to choose a warm cloudy day or evening. The threat of freezing frost should pass, since we have a houseplant, not seasoned.
- We take out the seedling from the pot without breaking the earthen coma, and install it in the pit so that after planting it will not be buried.
- Sprinkle on all sides with earth and slightly crush.
- We form a trunk circle.
- Mulch the soil around the seedlings with bark, sawdust, coniferous litter or peat.
Care after planting and in the early years
Container conifers easily tolerate transplanting and take root well. For greater reliability, after transplantation, you can spray the plant with Zircon or Epin-Extra preparations. These funds increase the immunity and vitality of seedlings.
In the first two or three years, young conifers will need to be watered, especially in dry times. In the future, they will build up a sufficient root system and will be able to extract water for themselves. A month after planting, you can feed the seedling for the first time, using fertilizer for conifers.
You should not buy ordinary universal mineral fertilizers, as they were created mainly for deciduous crops and their concentration for conifers can be fatal.
Until mid-summer, nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium mineral fertilizers for conifers are ideal for top dressing. Their composition is additionally enriched with magnesium, sulfur, iron and boron. All these elements help the plant cope with stress, grow well and resist diseases and pests.
Starting from August, we exclude nitrogen from top dressing. This element stimulates the growth of branches, so it can only be used in the first half of summer. Then the seedlings begin to prepare for winter, and they no longer need growth at this time.
In the early years, young seedlings may need shelter for the winter, especially if you live in an area with harsh or unpredictable winters.
For information on how to properly cover conifers for the winter, read article 7 of the conditions for successful wintering of conifers.
How I celebrated the New Year with the Canadian Christmas tree "Konika"
I want to mention separately about Canadian “Konika” Christmas trees as a New Year tree. These small slowly growing decorative trees (they are small in nature) are more often than others and in large quantities buy shops before the New Year holidays. They are quite inexpensive, and people are happy to buy them. About the same as buying a beautiful bouquet - no matter how long it stands. Meanwhile, “Konika” perfectly survives in our gardens and survives even in harsh winters! The only question is how to save the tree until spring?
I’ll tell you about my experience, since my three Canadian Koniks have been living and living with me for the fourth year now. I bought one fluffy and beautiful one, about 25 cm high, before the New Year. The other two are in the same store, but after the holidays, at a sale, that is, almost for nothing. And they were in a deplorable state. Only the tops remained alive - the lower branches were partially still green, but part of the needles had already dried up.
Immediately after the holiday, I transplanted all three of them into normal soil and put them on a cold windowsill, away from the battery. Watering rarely - as the top layer dries up, but sprayed it very often. A spray bottle of water stood right there, and each time I walked by, I sprayed the Christmas trees. In order not to fill the window glass with water, I substituted a sheet of thick paper.
So we survived until spring. As soon as the snow fell, and it was possible to dig the earth - I chose a place in the garden, relatively shaded, and planted all the conifers in a row.
“Konika” is a slowly growing miniature spruce, so there is no reason to expect rapid growth from them. The annual growth is no more than 5 cm. That's how we add. I must say a little about natural conditions. I live in the Southern Urals - this, who does not know, is a virgin land with a harsh continental climate. When summer is rainy with winds and temperature +40aboutC in the shade is a common thing, and in winter hurricanes and frosts occur up to -40aboutFROM.
Last year, for example, the maximum was -30aboutC, but there was no snow, completely bare land. All my Christmas trees survived, although she covered them literally in two layers with a thin spanbond, mulching the ground with pine litter. They withstood both spring flooding and summer dry winds.
True, they are planted so that in the afternoon the sun does not fall on them. Yes, I also transplanted them from one place to another, since in the first spring they were flooded to the very tops. In the summer in the heat I watered and sprayed them every other day, like other conifers. Are growing. Two overseas caught up with healthy, overgrown with new needles and now no longer distinguish - where what.
Araucaria and cypress as an alternative to coniferous plants for the New Year
If you do not want to bother with conifers in containers for the New Year, but also a sawn or plastic Christmas tree is not your option, there is a great alternative to ordinary spruce, fir, cedar and pine trees in indoor plant growing. For home maintenance, araucaria or cypress in a container are quite suitable.
Read more about growing araucaria in the article Live Christmas tree - a delightful araucaria.
Even small ones, they will perfectly cope with the role of the New Year tree, and picking up jewelry according to size is not a problem today. True, they will also need to lower the temperature for winter rest, but creating conditions in the room for these southern plants is much easier.
In summer, araucaria and cypress are grown at a temperature of + 17 ... + 22 aboutC, in winter - + 13 ... + 15aboutC. Dry air is the main enemy of any conifers, so spraying is needed in both winter and summer. If the air in the room is very dry, you can put the pot in a pan with water, after pouring large pebbles into it. Set the container so that the bottom does not touch the water.
A humidifier can be a good help in this difficult task. For the winter, we remove the conifers away from heating appliances, on the cool part of the windowsill. Lighting is good at any time of the year, taking into account that direct sunlight is not desirable, as it can burn needles.
Dear readers! As you can see, for a great New Year's celebration it is not at all necessary to chop fir. Rather, on the contrary - this wonderful holiday can give life to a pine, a Christmas tree or juniper, it does not matter. Another thing is important - understanding that this is not difficult. And even better, the New Year is associated with the emergence of a new plant in a house or garden.
And one moment. New Year is a children's holiday, and it will be just wonderful if children take a direct part in the nursing and planting of the New Year tree. After all, all habits are formed in our childhood, so let it be good habits. And if there are no children of your own, you can attract neighbors who are happy to respond to such events. They will help to water in the future and look after the seedling.
Happy New Year!