How to Care for your Holiday Greens

To keep your wreaths and swags looking their best straight through the holiday season, follow these tips:

  • Buy them early for the best selection and ideal freshness.  When choosing holly, look for glossy, firm leaves with no black spots.  If berries fall off easily, the holly isn’t fresh.
  • If you have small children or pets, beware that holly and mistletoe berries are toxic.  One solution is to pick off the holly berries, or use artificial holly instead.  Most mistletoe will likely have lost most of its fruit by December.
  • When you bring fresh-cut greens home, keep them in a protected area (like a garage) to protect them from wind and sun until you’re ready to decorate.
  • Soak them in cold water overnight or up to 24 hours. The needles will soak up the moisture.  A good location for this job is a laundry or bath tub.  (Adding a product like Prolong  to the soaking water will further extend the freshness of your greens.)  Allow greens to drip dry for an hour or so in a shady well-ventilated area.
  • Spray all greens, wreaths, roping, and swags with an anti-desiccant – like Wilt-Pruf or Wilt Stop – until dripping wet.   These products act as a clear and flexible protective coating that prevents moisture loss in stems, needles and leaves.  (Just don’t use them on junipers or berries.)  Allow the greens to dry thoroughly after spraying and before decorating and hanging.
  • Never hang fresh greens between a main door and storm door that receives direct sun.  This will create a greenhouse effect and cause greens to dry out and drop needles.
  • Daily  misting with water will help to prolong the life of fresh-cut greens.
  • When using lights on fresh-cut greens, use the newer LED type – they have a longer life and are not hot like the older incandescent lights.
  • Extend the life of your fresh-cut greens by lowering the thermostat.

What Homestead Carries
Types of greens: Boxwood, Douglas fir, Holly (green or variegated), Incense Cedar, Juniper, Noble Fir,  Princess Pine, Silver Fir, White Pine, Western Cedar, Magnolia, and Oregonia.

For Accents:  Baby’s Breath, Eucalyptus, Birch branches, Caspia, Curly willow, Red Twig Dogwood, Scotch Broom, Winterberry stems, and pine cones.

Photo credit.

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