How to keep your live garlands and live wreaths looking fresh throughout the holiday season. Easy guide to keep your fresh greenery lasting longer. Don’t let them dry out!
Decorating with fresh Christmas greenery gives an unbeatable feel to your home that even the best faux finds can’t match. Fresh garlands and wreaths bring the natural spirit of the season in with elegance and an amazing fragrance.
Keeping Live Garlands and Wreaths Fresh
What I don’t love about fresh greenery is having them dry out prematurely, leaving me with a mess of needles and leaves. No one wants to pay good money only to have your beautiful live greenery dry to a crisp, bordering on a fire hazard, even before Christmas arrives!
Over the years, I’ve worked to find the best method for keeping live garlands and wreaths fresh longer so that I can enjoy them throughout the holiday season.
How Long Will Live Garland Last?
When properly cared for, live greens can last indoors for two to three weeks. My individual clippings have actually lasted up to four weeks! Outdoors where it’s cool, live greenery can last much longer. The type of greenery used will also determine how long it lasts.
What Greenery Stays Fresh the Longest Indoors
Some types of Christmas greens last longer than others. For fresh greens throughout the season, look for cedar, pine, juniper, and fir. Non-traditional greens that do well include boxwood, olive, magnolia, and even rosemary.
How to Keep Live Garland and Live Wreaths Fresh Longer
- Purchase the freshest greenery possible (see tips below)
- Store your live greens in a cool area, like a garage, refrigerator, or even outdoors, until you area ready to use them.
- For individual stems, cut them at a 45 degree angle with a sharp pair of hand pruners. Then, gently crush the bottom of the stem to allow for more water absorption.
- Submerge your greenery for 12-24 hours to allow the stems to soak up as much water as possible. You can use a bucket, a deep sink, or even a bathtub!
- Treat your greens with an Anti-Desiccant Spray like Wilt Stop or Wilt Pruf. What is an anti-desiccant spray? It’s a liquid spray that helps prevent wilting by applying a waxy coating that slows the process of water loss. I use a concentrate version of Wilt Stop and simply sprayed both sides of my greenery.
- Mist stems with water every couple of days to allow them so additional water. To avoid big droplets, I like to use an ultra fine water mister.
- Keep your greenery away from direct sunlight or heating vents.
Tips for Selecting the Freshest Greenery
When selecting your live garland, wreaths, or stems, it’s best to choose those that start off the freshest! Look for a nice color, bendable stems, and needle retention. If the needles are already starting to fall off even before you purchase, look for another one.
Stores that keep the live greens outside will be better than ones that keep them indoors because the cool air helps to keep live greenery fresh longer.
Another way to tell how fresh one wreath is versus another is to pick it up! The more water that is retained, the heavier the wreath will be. So for two identical wreaths, always choose the heavier one!
Central Heat vs. Boilers
In addition to how you care for your live greenery, your house’s heating system can affect the longevity of your greens! I know, it seems unfair. But the reality is that homes with boilers that use hot water to heat the home, will allow live greenery to last longer because of the moisture content in the air. Home with central heat…well, you might as well it’s like turning a hairdryer on those precious greens and watching them crumble before your eyes. This is why proper care is so important.
Mix Live and Faux Greens
Another way to extend the live of your live garlands and live wreaths is to mix in a few faux elements. Using floral wire, you can add beautiful elements like berries, flowers, juniper, magnolia, etc. Adding in a few faux elements will give your greenery some color and life even after your fresh springs start to wilt.
You can even add in some dried orange slices like I did with my Christmas wreath. The eucalyptus on this wreath is real and was treated with Wilt Stop. It lasted two weeks instead of its usual two days.
Where to Buy Live Garland
My local hardware store and grocery stores both sell live cedar garland just after Thanksgiving. Florists can usually special order it, as well. But if you’re looking for something particular, here are some of my favorites that can be shipped right to your doorstep!
How to Hang Garlands
Use Command Hooks to drape garlands across mantles, windows, doors, etc.
How to Hang a Wreath with Ribbon
There are here are two options for hanging a wreath with ribbon. You can dangle it from a long ribbon or attach the frame directly.
When I hang a wreath on my front door from a long ribbon, I don’t want the hook to show on the outside of my door. Instead, take a Command hook and turn it upside down on the inside of the door. The ribbon from the wreath will go over the top of your door and hook inside.
Some locations, such as a mirror, don’t offer a lot of options for hanging a wreath. Some wreath frames will have a hook on the back. If not, place a decorative ribbon around your wreath and then a smaller loop on the back. You can then place the small loop around a small Command hook directly on the mirror.