Any recommendations for Christmas tree for patio container?

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I'd like to grow 1 (or 2 or 3) trees that I can decorate as Christmas trees in the winter (just lights, really), and that will sit on my patio. In a perfect world they would grow quickly to, say, 6' or 8', and then stay that tall (I know, I may be dreaming). And they would have a nice conical shape, but maybe still be a little airy. And look nice all year round. Any suggestions?

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/342/#b

Norfolk Island Pine makes a beautiful houseplant AND can be decorated for all holidays!

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Tough question - most conifers bronze up quite a bit in the winter and lose that nice green color you'd be looking for .....

Al

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the suggestion, Kay, but I don't think that'll work for me. The Norfolk Island Pine is lovely, but I want to leave these outside year-round, and the Norfolk Island Pine won't make it here...

Thanks for your input Tapla -- I so value your thoughts! That's my worry -- that I'd be decorated a sick looking pup!

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

After some looking: "Thuja occidentalis 'Techny': A pyramidal shaped arborvitae with excellent green color year round - virtually no color change / bronzing at all. Techny has also shown very good cold hardiness - good choice for cooler climates. Delicate, fernlike foliage makes Techny a wonderful choice for screens & hedge applications. Often preferred over Emerald Green Arborvitae for its better color retention, and foliage density when mature. Foliage density starts out much more "open" than Emerald Green, but thickens tremendously with age, providing good screening. Has been an extremely popular selection in northern gardens, and is slowly being used in many other areas as well. Originally discovered in Mission Gardens, Techny , Illinois."

It would have a tendency toward airiness as a young plant, but you could trump that tendency by regular pinching.

Al

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Thank you!!! That one sounds great.

I also found a Pinus mugo "Tannenbaum" -- http://plants.bachmanslandscaping.com/12070012/Plant/5220. But it needs full sun, so I'd have to push the envelope on that one!

Or a Picea pungens 'Hoopsii', http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/1954/hoops-blue-spruce.php. Apparently it can take a bit more shade. It will get too big for a container, but maybe I'll just deal with that when the time comes....

This message was edited Oct 23, 2012 2:22 PM

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Or maybe Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica'? http://www.bloomriver.com/home/br2/page_828_7/picea_glauca_var._albertiana_conica.html.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

You can keep any conifer very small and compact with regular (annual/semi-annual) pinching with very little effort. The key to long term health is going to be found in learning how to maintain the root system, if you don't already know.

For more info: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1055230/#postreply

Al

This message was edited Oct 23, 2012 4:54 PM

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

But if I pinch it, will it maintain a conical shape?

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Mmhmm. Pinching evergreens helps you manage their energy flow. All parts of the plant won't have the same amount of energy allocated to them. For instance, the conical plants will be very apically dominant and might have 2/3 of their energy directed toward the upper 1/3 of the plant. That's how they grow tall and narrow. When it comes time to limit the plant's ht, 2/3 of your pinching attention will be concentrated in the upper 1/3 of the tree so you don't lose control of the plant.

The key though, is being able to keep the plant happy over the long term so you HAVE something to pinch. ;-)

BTW - pinching doesn't necessarily have to be done with your fingers. Pinching is a form of pruning, and all it means is you are removing apices (growing points on branches) to either curtail elongation of the branches or force back-budding behind where you pinch. It's how growers who produce evergreens for Christmas trees maintain fullness & a nice conical shape.

Al

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I have so much to learn....

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

What better time then to start than now? ;-)

Most people when asked, what is the true organ of sight, would say the eyes. But wouldn't knowledge give the eyes a run .....?

Learning what you can, when you can, sure beats being bit on the butt by your mistakes (experience/ trial & error) as the preferred way of gaining knowledge.

Al

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh I so agree -- you are preaching to the choir. Just wish I had more time ....

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