I had a spectacular Christmas tree last year that, unfortunately, dried out quickly. To prevent this from happening again, I went online to see if there were Christmas tree preservative recipes that I could make.
There are quite a few interesting suggestions for Christmas tree preservatives that you may not have heard of. Fortunately, most can be made with items that are already likely in your pantry.
You can also use some of these solutions with cut flowers.
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Christmas Tree Preservative Ingredients and Recipes
(Yes, I buy the little bottle of premixed Christmas tree preservative for sale at the tree lot, but it doesn’t always work as well as it should.)
The most popular homemade Christmas tree preservatives use common household ingredients. An effective recipe will have the following:
- a food source.
- a disinfectant (to prevent algae, etc.).
- an acidifier to help plants absorb more water and food.
But you can customize your own recipe based on what you have at home and who might be tempted to get into the tree’s water dish.
Most Popular Christmas Tree Food Recipe
1 gallon of water
4 tsp Clorox bleach
2 cups Light Corn Syrup
4 tsp lemon juice or vinegar (optional)
You can store this mixture in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you decide to add lemon juice or vinegar, add it to the water and not to the bleach directly because otherwise, you risk toxic fumes. In light of that, you may want to skip the lemon juice or vinegar altogether.
Christmas Tree Food Recipe with 7-Up
1 gallon of water
1 can of 7-UP (or equivalent) that isn’t diet
splash of bleach
Mix all ingredients together. Some people skip the bleach if they have pets who may be tempted to drink from the Christmas tree water bowl.
Christmas Tree Food Recipe With Sugar & a Penny!
1 gallon of water
4 tsp sugar dissolved in water
1 copper penny
Mix the water and sugar. Add a penny to the Christmas tree bowl and pour the mixture on top. Save any extra for later. The copper from the penny acts as a disinfectant.
The More “Interesting” Christmas Tree Preservative Recipes and Ideas
Here’s where I remind you to use these methods at your own risk.
1. Add vodka to the water. The myth is that the vodka will allow the water to spread throughout the tree faster. I’m not sure about you, but when I add vodka to myself, I tend to dehydrate. I actually overheard a tree lot staff member mention this as an option. Try at your own risk.
2. Add aspirin to the water. This allegedly promotes a better flow of water into the trunk. People claim this works.
3. Run a humidifier near the tree. Some people swear that the extra moisture promotes tree longevity. So give it a try if you have one that can cover a large area.
Storage and Safety Tips
If you make more than you need, be sure to label the bottle so that no one accidentally drinks it.
Be mindful of pets and children. If you think that either may be tempted to drink from or touch the water underneath the tree, skip the bleach. I would stick to 7-UP and water to keep the mixture nontoxic.
Also, bleach can be damaging to nearby fabrics if spilled.
How to Start with the Freshest Possible Christmas Tree
When at the lot, run a small tree branch through your fingers. The pine needles should feel soft and pliable and not hard like they’re about to fall off. You can also lift the tree a few inches off the ground and then release it (drop it) back on the ground to see if a lot of needles fall off. Some interior shedding of a few brown needles is normal, but you don’t want a lot of needles, especially green ones, to fall off.
When Christmas trees are originally cut, sap can ooze over the cut trunk, which seals pores that would otherwise absorb water and food. You’ll want to cut at least another two inches (some say half an inch is okay) off the bottom of the trunk again before taking it home and putting water in its bowl. The lot where we buy our Christmas trees does this automatically for us.
And, finally, once the tree is in your home, ensure its water bowl is always full. Set a reminder if you have to. Trees drink water very quickly especially during the first day or two in your home. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh tree throughout the holiday season.
What are your best recipes for Christmas tree preservatives?