Fresh cut Christmas greens—pine boughs, holly sprigs, mistletoe, etc.—are excellent for winter and holiday décor, both indoors and out. Extend the life and enjoyment of your fresh greens by following these easy steps:
Immerse greens in cold water overnight or up to 24 hours. The needles will soak up moisture to stay plump and firm. An excellent location for accomplishing this task is in a utility sink or bathtub, but be sure the water won’t freeze while the greens are soaking. Use only fresh, plain water without any additives or chemicals.
Allow greens to drip dry for an hour or so in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Doing this will remove excess water from the branch ends so they do not leak.
If desired, spray Wilt-Pruf, an anti-transpirant, on greens when they are finished dripping. Wilt-Pruf will seal moisture into the needles, extending the life of your greens. Do not use this on Princess Pine, and note that this product may change the color of blue-colored cut greens like Colorado Blue Spruce and Blue Juniper. Test the spray on an inconspicuous area first to be sure you don’t mind any changes.
Allow the greens to dry thoroughly after spraying and before decorating and hanging or arranging. Doing this will ensure there are no water spots on any of your bows, accent pieces, or ornaments that are part of your fresh arrangements.
Keep greens in as cool a location as possible, out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source, including heating vents, ceiling fans, and air ducts. Moving arrangements of fresh greens onto a cool porch or into a garage each night can help extend their vibrancy.
Arrange your fresh greens in dense bundles and bunches, either as wreaths, vase arrangements, or swags. As a group, they will help keep each other fresh with slightly higher humidity between each green.
Keep fresh Christmas greens crisp and clean through the holiday season by dusting them lightly. Use only a clean, lint-free cloth without any sprays or chemicals. Dusting will remove dust that may dim the arrangements, but chemicals could damage the greens or change their colors. Do not brush the greens so harshly that you may damage or dislodge their needles, foliage, or berries.
With proper care, your fresh cut Christmas greens can be stunning holiday decorations for several days or weeks, bringing a touch of nature into your home even when ice and snow cover the outside world.