Many different kinds of greenery can be used for holiday decorations. Pines, firs and cedars are good to use for indoor decoration since they dry out slowly and hold their needles best at warm interior temperatures. They may last for several weeks if properly treated and cared for. Hemlock, spruces and most broadleaf evergreens will last longer if used outdoors.
Below are some suggested varieties to use in holiday decorating.
White Pine: This soft, bluish-green, long-needled pine has excellent needle retention but wilts visibly if dry.
Virginia Pine: This native pine has shorter, coarser needles, and is long-lasting, with excellent needle retention.
Junipers: Fragrant, short, green or silver-blue foliage that may be adorned with small blue berries. The needles are often sticky.
Firs: All firs have wonderful scent and good tolerance of hot, dry indoor conditions. The needles are short and flat with excellent color and needle retention. Fraser fir wreaths and swags are commonly available from commercial sources.
Spruce: Wreaths are the main use for spruce greens. The branches are stiff with short, sharp needles. Blue spruce is especially attractive because of its color, and it holds its needles better than other spruce. Needle retention is poorer on spruce than on other conifer greens.
Ivy: This vigorous vine is readily available in many yards. It makes an excellent green for holiday arrangements. The cut ends must be kept in water, or the ivy will quickly wilt.
Holly: This most traditional holiday green comes in several forms, both green and variegated. Female plants display bright red berries. Make sure that holly does not freeze after cutting, or the leaves and berries may blacken.
Mountain Laurel: This is a traditional evergreen in the South for wreaths and garlands. As with other broad-leaved evergreens, however, laurel holds up best when used outdoors.
Magnolia: The large leaves are a glossy, dark green that contrast well with the velvety, brown undersides. Magnolia leaves make stunning wreaths and bases for large decorations. The leaves hold up very well even without water.
Some other excellent evergreens that can be used for holiday greenery include:
* Leyland Cypress
* Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
However you choose to decorate this holiday season, be safe and have a Merry Christmas.
Parts taken from Decorating with Holiday Greenery, Clemson Cooperative Extension