17 Options for a Live Christmas Tree


by Jennifer Poindexter

Are you interested in having a live Christmas tree? Have you ever considered growing your own tree for the holidays?

If so, you might be wondering which variety of tree is best. You’re in the right place. I’m going to walk you through each popular variety of Christmas tree. I’ll also tell you the height the trees can reach and the planting zones where they thrive. 

Whether you’re trying to decide which variety to buy for a single year of use, or you’re trying to figure out which trees to grow for future Christmas trees, this information should help you.

Here are some of the most popular Christmas tree varieties.

1. Fraser Fir

Fraser firs are some of the most sought after Christmas trees. Even people who buy artificial trees want this style. If you’d like a thick, green tree that produces cones, this could be your variety. 

Fraser fir trees grow in planting zones four through seven, can grow as tall as 80 feet, and live to be around 150 years old. It will take approximately seven years for this tree to reach a mature height.

2. Balsam Fir

Balsam fir trees are another fan favorite when choosing a tree variety. As with most fir varieties, this tree is known for its fullness. It can’t handle the heat, so it’s best if grown in planting zones three through five. 

This type of tree can grow to heights between 50- and 70-feet tall and will take between seven and ten years to reach an adequate height for decorating. If you’d like a full, deep green tree to decorate your home for the holidays, don’t overlook the balsam fir.

3. Grand Fir

Do you live in an area with extremely cold weather? The grand fir variety of tree could be a great choice for you. This tree is hardy up to planting zone six and can handle temperatures as low as negative ten degrees Fahrenheit.

However, this tree isn’t a great fit for every situation as it’s one of the world’s tallest trees and can reach heights over 200 feet. This tree can take approximately 30 years to reach maturity and lives for up to 300 years. Obviously, you can harvest it sooner as most people won’t want a 200 foot Christmas tree.

4. Douglas Fir

Douglas firs make excellent Christmas trees as most people want them in their earlier stages for home décor. This tree must be grown where it has all the seasons. It needs hot summers and cold winters to thrive as intended.

This type of tree is hardy in planting zones four through six. When it reaches maturity, it can grow as tall as 70 feet. However, most people harvest the tree between years seven and ten for use as a Christmas tree.

5. Canaan Fir

This is one of the smaller fir varieties, and it enjoys cold weather. Canaan fir trees are only hardy up to planting zone four.

The Canaan fir only grows to be approximately 55 feet tall. However, most people harvest the tree around the seven-year mark when using it around the holidays.

6. Corkbark Fir

If you’re looking for a unique type of fir tree this could be it. This variety stands out because of its bluish colored needles, triangular shape, and the tree’s bark is white with a cork-like texture. It’s also one of the smaller varieties of fir trees as it only grows to be around 60 feet tall. 

However, these trees grow very slowly and take 10+ years to reach the right height for decorating. They also should be grown in colder climates. Therefore, they do best in planting zones five and lower.

7. Korean Fir

Korean fir trees make wonderful Christmas trees because they’re known for retaining their needles. They also standout for the colorful cones they produce.

If this interests you, Korean fir trees can be grown in planting zones five through seven. They’re smaller and only grow to be 20- to 30-feet tall. It will still take this tree approximately ten years to be ready for use around your home.

8. Noble Fir

Noble fir trees standout because of their unique rounded limbs. They’re also known for becoming another large variety of Christmas tree.

When you need a larger variety, and if you live in planting zones five and six, this could be the tree for you. It reaches a height of around 100 feet and takes around ten years to be ready to use at Christmas.

9. White Fir

To round out our fir trees, let’s visit the white fir tree option. It’s another evergreen variety, making it a wonderful choice for decorating during the holidays.

This tree grows in planting zones three through eight. It also grows to reach heights of approximately 50 feet. However, it’s known for its slow growth rate and can take around ten years to be a good size for a Christmas tree.

10. Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado blue spruce tree is noticeable due to its bluish-green needles. This tree stands tall between the heights of 50- and 75-feet tall. This is a great option for those trying to grow their own Christmas tree in planting zones three through seven. 

This tree variety is known for a slow growth rate as it doesn’t grow more than a foot per year. Therefore, it could take between seven and ten years to be ready for decorative use.

11. Norway Spruce

This spruce tree is another great fit for those living in planting zones three through seven. It has green, bushy limbs and is great for providing a break from strong winds.

Plus, this tree is known for growing much faster than the previously mentioned spruce. It actually grows as much as three feet in a year and can grow as tall as 60 feet. A Norway spruce could be ready to cut for Christmas décor between years eight and eleven.

12. White Spruce

The white spruce tree is full, traditional, and grows quickly. This tree can grow in planting zones two through six, though it does love cold weather.

Once it starts growing, you can’t miss it because of how full it becomes. The tree should be ready for use around the holidays in approximately five years. When full grown, it can be as tall as 60 feet.

13. Black Hills Spruce

The black hills spruce tree is a great choice if you’re someone who prefers a live Christmas tree with little scent and good needle retention, as this tree has both qualities.

It grows best in planting zones three through six, can reach heights of up to 60 feet tall, and grows as wide as 25 feet around. This tree is slow to grow and will barely grow a foot each year. Take this into consideration when choosing to plant a tree, to use for home décor, as this one should take longer than ten years to be ready to cut for a Christmas tree.

14. Eastern White Pine

Pine trees are a traditional Christmas tree, but they aren’t known for being quite as heavy-duty as some of the other trees on this list. If you like a tree with a little more daintiness to its limbs, the eastern white pine tree could be for you.

This tree grows best in planting zones three through seven and is a fast grower as it should be ready for use in a little over five years. It can reach heights of up to 200 feet. The limbs of this tree aren’t as strong as some others mentioned here, so take this into account if you use a lot of heavy ornaments.

15. Scotch Pine

Scotch pine trees are tall and wide trees. They reach heights of approximately 60 feet and grow to be around 40 feet wide.

However, they’re versatile and can grow in planting zones three through seven. From the time your new tree has become established until it’s ready for use as a Christmas tree, it should only take a little over five years. If you need a fast growing variety of tree this could be a great fit for you.

16. Leyland Cypress

The Leyland cypress tree is not only good for decorating, it’s a wonderful way of providing privacy around your home.

These are extremely fast-growing trees that can grow as much as four feet in a year. This makes it a great choice for a Christmas tree because it can be ready to go within a few years. These trees thrive in planting zones six through ten and can become as tall as 70 feet.

17. Eastern Red Cedar

Our final tree to discuss is the eastern red cedar. It’s a versatile tree and can be grown in planting zones two through nine.

This tree has a deep green color and a nice rounded shape. It can reach heights as tall as 50 feet and is a fast-growing tree as well. It grows as much as two feet per year and should be ready for use as a Christmas tree within ten years.

Hopefully this information inspires you as you’re pondering what to plant around your home that’s both useful within your landscape but also when creating traditions for a sentimental Christmas.

If you’d like to plant trees now that you can use for future holidays, pick the tree that best fits your planting zone and needs, and start planting. What you plant today could be a great way to make amazing memories in the future.

More About Christmas Tree Varieties

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/christmas-tree-species

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/living_christmas_trees_another_real_tree_option

https://forestry.ca.uky.edu/christmastrees

Eastern red cedar and balsam fir with text overlay seventeen Options for Live Christmas Trees

The post 17 Options for a Live Christmas Tree appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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