, Newburyport, MA

December 19, 2012

Tim's Tips: Live garlands and wreaths are best hung outdoors

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — By now, the last-minute Christmas rush has begun for many people. From gift shopping to last-minute decorating, people are in a hurry to get things done. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about the last-minute decorating.

If you have a cut tree in your home, it is critical to keep the stand filled with water. A tree will drink a lot in the first few days that it is in the house. Then the water uptake will level off a bit, but you should still check the water level at least twice a day.

If you allow the stand to go low enough so that the water level falls below the bottom of the trunk, the cut will seal off and the only way to get the tree to take up water again will be to remove the tree from the stand and cut off about one-half to 1 inch of the trunk. There is probably nothing that is more fun than to take a fully decorated tree out of the stand and try to put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree! ’Nuf said.

There are many different plants that you can have in your home, of which the poinsettia is probably the premier. As I explained last week, poinsettias are native to very warm climates. They don’t like the drafty conditions that occur if you place them near a door. They also don’t like to be kept too wet. The foil or plastic wrap that you find around the pot will act as a saucer. If you don’t drain that water after you water the poinsettia, it will sit in water and the roots will quickly rot.

Another popular holiday plant is the cyclamen. This plant likes soil that is moist, but not soaking wet. It also prefers temperatures that are cooler, so for those of you who have colder homes, it may be a better choice. If you keep the cyclamen fertilized, it is not unusual for it to continue to flower until late March or early April.

One decorating tradition is to place evergreen garland on the mantle or along the stair railings. Evergreen garland does not stay fresh indoors for very long. You would be well advised to put artificial garlands indoors. This is particularly true for areas near any heat source.

There are some very high-quality artificial garlands. These would be a good choice for inside your home and are mandatory for business use. Live wreaths placed inside the home can dry out just like garland. Again, there are some very lifelike artificial wreaths that you can purchase. On the upside, if you buy quality artificial garlands or wreaths you will have them for years to come.

Well, that’s all for this week. I wish you and yours a very happy holiday.

I’ll talk to you again next week.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.