Christmas seems to be getting earlier and earlier each year. And while all of the Christmas trees and decorations going up inside are great, it creates a challenge if you want to keep all that live greenery alive for weeks — maybe months.
Of course you can deck your home out in lights, artificial trees, throw some reindeer on the lawn, and transform your home into a winter wonderland, but there's nothing like live greenery. The way it smells, feels and looks just can't be beat.
No matter how you got your wreath and live greenery, whether it's a decorating workshop, as a gift, or because you bought it for yourself, it's possible to keep it alive for weeks on end. We found out how the pros keep wreaths and greenery fresh for as long as possible. Here are their best tips.
Meet the Expert
- Gemma Harvey is a London-based florist who runs her own wreath making workshops at her company Flheure.
- Calvert Cray is the executive director of FlowerSchool New York and the author of Flower School: A Practical Guide to the Art of Flower Arranging.
Keep Your Wreath Outside
The obvious place to put a wreath is on your front door so everyone can see it when they pass by. “The foliage will stay happy in chilled wintery air,” says Harvey. As long as it’s kept out of direct light, it will do well outside. If you do place it in direct sunlight, it may get a bit crispy around the edges. Dryness is the enemy of live greenery.
Keeping live greenery inside poses a challenge. “It’s a tricky one as when the heating gets turned up in winter, foliage and flowers struggle not to lose water from their leaves and petals,” says Harvey. If you do keep your wreath or any fresh greenery inside, there are a few things you can do to make sure it keeps looking gorgeous throughout the month and doesn’t get crispy or prematurely brown. "I'd recommend moving festive arrangements somewhere cool whilst you're out [of] the house," suggests Harvey, who also recommended recutting the stems of any evergreen arrangements every other day and changing the water.
Removing dead or dying foliage is a great way to extend the life of your wreath visually and keep it looking its best as long as possible.
Keep It Damp If It’s Made of Moss
“If you have a mossed wreath, keep the moss damp or spritz the foliage with a water sprayer every few days,” advises Harvey. “Be careful with dried fruit or dried decorations as they won't like getting wet.” Using moss is a great way to keep your wreath intact (it’s also more environmentally friendly than using floral foam). It helps the foliage stay in its shape and it also helps you keep your wreath alive.
Speaking of foliage, the Christmas season is the time to show it off. “Foliage gets to have a moment at Christmas whilst most flowers aren’t in season, so I love to make abundant foliage wreaths finished with a big velvet ribbon,” says Harvey. “I typically use a mix of spruce, ozothamnus, pittosporum, eucalyptus (baby blue variety is waxy so lasts best). I then decorate with viburnum berries, birch branches, contorted willow or ivy.”
A Spritz Is Your Friend, But So Is Steam
“Evergreens are the best because they are fragrant, the needles stay on for the duration, and they are seasonal,” says Cray. But you don’t want a live wreath that drops all of its needles before Christmas even comes around! “Keep your evergreens and other materials from drying out and becoming a fire hazard by doing two things: mist daily with a spray bottle of water, or if you are serious about hydration try to use a portable steamer to add warm mist."
Adding mist and steam can help the plants stay in a humid environment and thus fresh for longer. Plus, it’ll ensure that your festive wreath will still look pristine for the main event.