Potted Christmas trees are a fantastic eco-friendly way to celebrate the holiday season. If your Christmas tree looks like it is dying with brown or yellowing leaves then you can save your tree in a few easy ways. Soak it in liquid seaweed, add slow release fertilizer, place it in a protected position outdoors and repot it if it is root bound.
Potted Christmas trees are a great way to celebrate the festive season, to bring some green indoors and to have a healthy plant for your garden when it is over.
Indoor Christmas trees can suffer but if you think your potted Christmas tree is dying you can revive it if you follow a few easy steps.
How to know your potted Christmas tree is dying
Your potted Christmas tree can show signs that it is dying if you pay attention. The leaves can turn yellow and then brown if it dries out too much, if it lacks sunlight, if the roots become damaged or if it gets attacked by pests.
To save your Christmas tree and keep it growing for the next year, follow my 6 easy steps below to revive it.
6 Steps to revive a dying potted Christmas tree
Here are my 6 easy steps to help your Christmas tree recover if you suspect that it is dying. If the soil is dry, if the roots are escaping out the bottom of the pot or if the leaves are yellow or brown act now.
You will need:
- Sharp, clean secateurs
- Indoor plant food or slow release organic pelleted chicken manure
- Seaweed solution
1. Trim off any damaged stems
The first step to tidy up your potted Christmas tree is to trim off any damaged stems and leaf tips. Trimming off brown or damaged stems will give the plant more room to grow new stems and for the healthy green leaves to photosynthesize.
2. Soak it in liquid seaweed
The next step to revive your potted Christmas tree is to soak it in some dilute, liquid seaweed. Add water into a bucket so that it is just under the top of the pot. Add a dash of liquid seaweed and let the pot soak in the water for 5-10 minutes.
The liquid seaweed is a root tonic that will help to revive any damaged roots. Leaving the pot soaking in the water will fully hydrate the soil and give the tree the chance to recover quickly.
Take the pot out of the bucket of water and allow it to drain thoroughly. Leave it outdoors for at least 10 minutes to let all of the extra water drain out. This is a great way to rehydrate the soil if you have let your tree dry out too much and the soil has become hydrophobic.
3. Add some organic slow release fertilizer
The next step to help your Christmas tree recover is to add some slow release fertilizer with organic matter or an indoor slow release plant food. Pelleted chicken manure works perfectly well for outdoor Christmas trees as it will feed the soil but can smell for the first day.
If you are bringing your Christmas tree back indoors then use a slow release indoor plant food to avoid any smells in your home. Water it in to start to release the nutrients to the plant.
4. Leave the plant in a protected position for 2 weeks
Ideally, if the weather is mild it is a great idea to move your Christmas tree outdoors. This will give it more light and allow it adjust to the outdoor climate. If you live in the southern hemisphere, Christmas trees will love an outdoor position in part shade to revive it.
If you live in the northern hemisphere and you are experiencing very cold weather you will need to provide your Christmas tree with protection. Moving the tree to a greenhouse might be the best option if you are getting snow. Pine trees or juniper trees are frost tolerant but will not transition well from a very warm indoor environment to outdoors.
If your weather is still very cold, you can move your plant into a protected position under a verandah, as long as it is getting at least 6 hours of sunlight. Very often the cause of damage to your indoor Christmas tree is a lack of light.
5. Repot the plant if it is root bound
The next step to help your Christmas tree to recover is to repot the plant if it is pot bound. If the pot feels firm or if you see roots coming out the bottom of the pot it is time to repot. Trim off any damaged roots and move it to a pot that is 2 inches wider and deeper. Use a good quality potting soil and water it in well.
6. Mulch the top of the soil
The final step to protect your plant is to mulch the top of the pot. Use a fine bark mulch on top the plant to help to protect the soil from drying out. You can also use coconut coir or straw if you have some.
Once you see signs that your plant is growing new leaves then you know that you know you have addressed the problem. You may need to wait until spring if the weather is cold before you see new leaves.
How to Revive a Dying Potted Christmas Tree | Summary
Potted Christmas trees are a fantastic gift for a friend or for yourself. A change in leaf color is usually the first sign that your Christmas tree is dying. If you see the leaves turn yellow and then brown it is time to act fast. Do your best to keep the soil moist and add some slow release fertilizer to boost the plant’s growth.
I love my new indoor Christmas tree and it will be a great feature in a pot indoors once the festive season is over.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.