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Keeping Holiday Greenery Fresh

Follow these helpful hints before you deck the halls

Nothing welcomes in the holidays quite like the festive look—and the wonderful fragrance—of fresh wreaths, garlands, swags and centerpieces. 

The downside to fresh greenery is that it can dry out quickly, losing its luster and leaving you sweeping up dropped needles. 

You don’t have to forgo fresh for faux, though. With just a little planning and prep, you can keep greenery lush throughout the season. Here’s how.

  1. Buy greenery as fresh as possible. (In fact, if you can cut your own from your backyard, even better.) The needles should be flexible when you bend them and shouldn’t be brittle and break off. They should also have a good aroma. 

  2. Do a little reconditioning. Once you get them home, recondition them to rehydrate the branches, which will help them last longer. Use a hand pruner to cut diagonally through woody stems, then crush the ends with a hammer.

  3. Give them a dunk. Submerge all greenery (wreaths included) in a bucket of water overnight. (If you don’t have a bucket, a bathtub works, too.)

  4. Seal in the moisture. After dunking and drying, spray the greenery with an anti-desiccant (also called an anti-transpirant) to help them retain moisture; you can find anti-desiccants at garden centers as well as online. (Note: Avoid using an anti-desiccant on juniper berries, cedar or blue spruce, as it can damage the ax covering that gives these plants their unique color.)

Now you’re ready to decorate your home! Just make sure to place your greenery away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. Mist them daily to help keep them from drying out and to keep them smelling fresh.


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