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How To Keep Christmas Greenery Fresh

If you enjoy using fresh greenery during the holidays, you may be looking for ideas to help keep it looking good throughout the season. Keeping Christmas Greenery Fresh is not as difficult as you might think. Although I’m not a professional, here are some simple tips that I use when I start to cut fresh greenery and begin to decorate for Christmas.

These tips and ideas will help to ensure your garlands, arrangements, and wreaths look fresh for as long as possible. There’s nothing worse than having to replace greenery in your arrangements before Christmas day. Follow these simple tips and enjoy your fresh evergreens for weeks.

DIY Fresh Greenery and Feather Christmas Centerpiece for a Rustic chic Farmhouse Christmas Table

What Are The Best Christmas Evergreens?

The easiest answer to this question is any evergreen that you have growing in your landscape or property. Some will last longer than others, but all look beautiful in containers during the holidays.

Basket of Boxwood for Christmas Greenery - Ways to keep evergreens fresh during the holidays.

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Here are some of my favorites to use during Christmas!

  • Magnolia
  • Cedar
  • Pine, Leyland Pine, Spruce,
  • Juniper
  • Holly
  • Boxwood
  • Nandina
Nandina for Christmas Decorating

Nandina is so beautiful during the holidays, and the red berries make it perfect for Christmas arrangements.

Christmas Decorating With Greenery

I love decorating with natural evergreens or greenery for Christmas.

We have an abundance of cedar, magnolia, pine, and boxwood just outside our front door.

In addition, I like to use fresh herbs such as Rosemary and Sage. Both are hardy and are usually still available through the holidays here in the south.

Using a combination of both evergreens and herbs is a budget-friendly way to decorate for the holidays.

Once Christmas is over, the greenery and herbs can be added to a compost, making it a sustainable way to decorate.

Fresh Herbs, Rosemary and Sage for Holiday Decorating

Adding greenery and herbs will make the house smell fresh and infuse your home with the expected fragrances of the holidays.

Christmas garland with fresh herbs and dried oranges for budget Christmas Decorating. Rustic Farmhouse Style
You can see the tutorial to make this Herb and Dried Fruit Garland.

How to Keep Christmas Greenery Fresh

First, you want to hydrate your greenery. This should begin immediately after you cut it.

Immediately Add Fresh Stems To The Water

You can fill containers with water to place the fresh cutting into immediately.

Tin can with foraged greenery.  Place fresh greenery in water to keep it hydrated.

Leave in the water for as long as 24 hours before using the cuttings in your arrangement.

Pine placed in water before arranging.

Submerge Plants In Water

Another method is to submerge the entire plant in cold water and leave for approx. 24 hours. You want your evergreens to absorb as much water as possible.

Submerge herbs and greenery if possible before arranging to make them last longer.

Arrange in Water

It’s easy to add water to most containers. I’ve shared how I add tin cans to baskets and large containers that are not waterproof to hydrate plants and flowers. This method works great for evergreens as well.

You can see how to add containers to a wall basket here and a tabletop basket here.

Insider Tip

If your greenery has been soaking in water for several hours, make a fresh cut at the end of the stem just before adding it to your arrangement. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears and cut the stem at an angle to increase water absorption. Immediately submerge in water.

Here, a combination of Nandina, Cedar, and Rosemary creates a festive Christmas arrangement in a milk glass vase that can hold water.

Christmas Greenery in a vintage milk glass vase with water will last longer.  Free Christmas Decorating Ideas with greenery.

Which Greenery Lasts the Longest?

Obviously, all greenery will last longer when watered properly; however, some greenery will last longer than others.

Magnolia Leaves

Magnolia leaves are excellent for Christmas Decorating because they last so long. Their leaves can begin to curl and turn brown after a few weeks if placed in a hot space or close to a heat vent.

Magnolias will make great fresh Christmas Decor

I made this fresh magnolia wreath last Christmas and used it to decorate the house for over 10 months. You can see how the leaves dried to a greenish-silver color but still look beautiful.


When harvested in the winter, boxwood will last for months without water. The leaves will be brittle but still look fresh. Just don’t touch them. LOL

Basket of Boxwood for Christmas Greenery

Cedar and Leyland Pine

Cedar and Leyland Pine are both long-lasting if you don’t touch them. They maintain an evergreen appearance for some time, although they have become brittle.

How To Hydrate When Stems Can’t Be Submerged In Water

Garlands and topiaries are examples of greenery applications that you can’t add to water. Although you can’t add water to the Cedar & Orange Topiary, there are ways to keep it looking fresh longer.

DIY Real Cedar and Dried Orange Topiaries for Inexpensive Christmas Decorating ideas.

You can prolong the freshness by keeping the stems in water, as suggested above, before arranging the greenery.

Then, avoid placing close to heat vents.

Finally, mist the greenery with water daily.

Mist greenery with water to prolong freshness.

Insider Tip – Caution

Be cautious not to damage your tables or the area around your evergreens. If possible, bring the greenery to a sink to mist.

In addition, some greenery will leave a stain when misted. Be sure to take precautions to protect your floors, railings, tabletops, etc.

Some suggest using a wilt stop such as this one; however, I’ve not tried this, so I can’t say if it’s worth the cost.

What if it’s faded, and you don’t want to replace

This is another great tip for faded greenery as well as faded moss. Just add a drop or two of green food coloring to your water before misting.

This will instantly refresh the look of your greenery. The same precautions should apply to protect your tables and surrounding areas as above.

Insider Tip – Use with Caution

The same precautions should apply to protect your tables and surrounding areas as above.

The green food coloring can stain, and precautions should be taken to avoid damaging walls, floors, etc.

Fresh Christmas Greenery Outdoors

I love to use fresh greenery in existing flower pots and containers.

Just place stems into the dirt to hold them in place.

See The Secret to Making Fresh Cedar Garland tutorial.

Fresh Cedar Garland and pine and cedar wreath on DIY Greenhouse. For free outdoor Christmas Decorating ideas

Mix Fresh Greenery with Artificial Greenery

Another way to make your fresh greenery look better longer is to mix fresh greenery with artificial evergreens.

The cedar and pine wreath is made using a faux pine wreath but adds sprigs of fresh cedar. Now, the wreath is full and still looks natural.

Mix real cedar with faux pine wreath for a fresh look for Free Outdoor Christmas Decorating ideas.

Outside vs. Indoor Greenery

Christmas Greenery used to decorate outdoors will stay fresh much longer than what you bring indoors.

The stems in outdoor planters can be placed in the potting soil, keeping them moist longer. In addition, the cooler weather vs. indoor heating is another reason they will stay fresh looking longer.

Magnolia and pinecones surround a pine tree in a blue planter on Greenhouse porch.  Free Decor

When decorating for an event, such as a Christmas Party, I usually cut inside greenery the week of the event.

If cut too early, you may have to replace it before your guest arrives.

However, I’ve had good success with wreaths and other arrangements that are kept away from the sunlight and heating vents.

DIY Magnolia and Pinecone wreath with Deer Antlers and Antler Centerpiece for a rustic farmhouse look.

Magnolias and boxwood will last for weeks indoors.

The magnolia leaves will stay green but may begin to curl after a few weeks.

Boxwood will dry with a fresh green appearance. You can leave it in containers for months, but avoid using it in a traffic area, as the leaves will drop if they are touched.

Boxwood works will in containers for the Christmas decor. Free Christmas Decorating Ideas with natural evergreens.
Boxwood in recycled tuna can add a festive touch to a side table vignette.

Fresh Greenery Tutorials


Thanks so much for stopping by today! I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

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How to Keep Christmas Greenery Fresh all Holiday long.  Free Christmas Decorating ideas.


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Thanks for sharing these tips on greenery...I will try them


Monday 4th of December 2023

Oh I'm glad you found the helpful.

Va in NC

Sunday 5th of December 2021

Thank you so much for your posts and for including all the how to info. I especially appreciate this post on the greenery. I will be putting to use soon.

Love all your posts...have gone back and read some of earlier ones and enjoyed them all. Don't stop!

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.


Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Oh you are the sweetest. I love sharing and I'm so glad you found this helpful.


Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Wow, thanks for those amazing tips. I’ve been doing my live greenery’s all wrong, I don’t think that will be a problem for me any longer. Thank you so much for sharing. By the way, your Christmas greenery’s are fantastic


Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Ivory, I'm so glad you found this helpful.

Debra Oliver

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Love your ideas for using and keeping the greenery fresh. I have to get outside while the weather is good and gather some things up. Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Debra, I'm so glad you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by.