These trees offer up unusual beauty for your holiday decorating.
With its distinctive blue color, Picea pungens stands out in a crowd. The stiff branches easily support the heaviest of ornaments. But beware: the needles are sharp and capable of a painful jab. On the plus side, the tree retains its needles well. This large-growing tree is often chosen as a live tree for planting after Christmas.
This aromatic tree grows naturally in the western U.S., and has a bluish-green tint. Abies concolor retains its 2-inch-long needles -- which curve slightly -- if kept well watered.
Cupressocyparis leylandii is a popular live Christmas tree in the southern U.S. The flat fan-like branches curve upward and forma dense triangular shape. In some varieties, the foliage is blue or gray-green.
With its traditional Christmas tree shape, Picea abies looks great covered with decorations. The 1-inch-long needles can be sharp, however, and are more prone to dropping than other spruces. Keep this tree well watered.
A rich aroma draws many people to Abies balsamea. When young, balsams have a nice, dense pyramid form and make good cut Christmas trees. If you decide to buy a live tree for planting later, be aware that the tree becomes looser and less dense as it grows, losing its Christmas tree appearance.
A newcomer to the Christmas tree lots, Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis shares a lovely scent with the closely related Balsam fir. The beautiful shape and "bottle brush" needled branches create a classic Christmas tree appearance.
Picea glauca is a common cut Christmas tree, and can also be used as a live tree for planting later. The upturned branches are covered with short (1/2- to 3/4-inch) needles. To ensure good needle hold, be sure to keep this tree well watered.