Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
In recent years, tabletop Christmas trees have become very popular. Normally, these are used in addition to the regular sized tree, and are only a couple feet tall.
There are several reasons tabletop trees have attracted a following. First, many people have larger homes. They want to decorate most every room in the house. This wasnít always the case. The bigger the house, the more room there is for additional decorations. Some families may decide to give the children their own tabletop tree to decorate as they please.
Usually, these tabletop trees are living trees in some kind of pot. For the most part, the containers are decorative as well. In some cases, a decorative pot cover or fancy pot wrap is used. Suitable containers include decorative baskets, and tubs as well as large brass and copper holders.
While the tabletop tree is displayed, it will need to be watered just like any other Christmas tree. Do this on a regular basis, especially if your house is kept really warm.
There are several kinds of plants that are used for tabletop trees. One kind that is very popular is the Norfolk Island pine. After the holiday season is over, you can keep this as a house plant.
Tall, upright rosemary plants can also be treated as tabletop trees. Add a bow or a small tree topper, and a few small ornaments. Then you are all set to display the rosemary.
Several outdoor type trees are also suitable as tabletop trees. Aleppo pine is one of these. Native to the Mediterranean, this could be planted outdoors in warmer climates once the Christmas holidays are over. It is tolerant of salt, and is suitable for seaside plantings.
Even dwarf Alberta spruce can be used as a tabletop tree. This dense plant has very short needles. It has a beautiful upright shape. This is hardy in zones two through six.
Swiss stone pine is another hardy species that is used for tabletop trees. It can be planted outdoors in zones four through seven.
Dwarf plants for use as tabletop trees are usually available at local garden centers and nurseries.
The hardy kinds mentioned above can be displayed outdoors on porches, decks, and the like for Christmas. In that case, all I would put on them would be a string of Christmas lights.
Normally, these hardy ones are planted outdoors once the Christmas season is over.
Tabletop trees can be decorated as one would any other tree. Just be sure to select small scale ornaments that donít overwhelm the plant. As you would with any other tree, you can place a Christmas tree skirt around the base. Naturally, this should be an appropriate size for the small tree. Likewise, only small presents should be placed around the base of the tree.
With a tabletop tree, one can also take a minimalist approach and leave it mostly unadorned. In that case, I would wrap the base in some sort of holiday themed fabric and tie this in place with a coordinated bow.
Quite often tabletop trees are already decorated when you buy them. The pre-decorated kinds will generally already have strings of Christmas tree lights if nothing else.
In addition to single tabletop trees, there is another option. For large rooms, a group planting of several miniature trees planted in trays looks just gorgeous. These look sort of like bonsai. For this purpose, you would need to buy three or four trees in staggered heights. Arrange them in the tray so that they resemble a miniature grove of trees. For this kind of arrangement, I would forego the usual tree decorations for these are attractive enough as is.
In addition to living tabletop trees, you can make one of your own using holiday greens. This is really a kind of topiary. You can determine the exact size you want, which isnít always possible with a living tree.
This topiary is created with a cone-shaped piece of Styrofoam, which is then completely covered with stems of conifers, such as Douglas fir, balsam fir, Japanese yew, white cedar, or juniper. These stems can even be pieces you have left over after you have made your roping and garlands. This topiary can also be constructed using boxwood. For best results, apply Wilt-Pruf or other anti-desiccant to the greens. From time to time during the holidays, you will need to spray the topiary so it doesnít dry out completely.