Despite the fact that Christmas is less than a week away, I’m sure there are many people scrambling to find a real tree for the big day. There are many types of Christmas trees to chose from, as seen from the countless lots I’ve driven by in the last month. Today I want to discuss the types of Christmas trees in Southern California.
California is not known for its abundance of Christmas trees, but its mild, Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal place to grow just about any type of plant, including trees. There are also a variety of places to purchase Christmas trees here as well.
Speaking of Christmas, check out my posts about caring for poinsettias and amaryllis plants.
Types of Christmas Trees
Below is a list and description of nine popular Christmas trees in Southern California. If you know of more to add, let me know in the comments below!
Monterey pines are native to Central California. They can be found naturally in San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey. Its bright green leaves, or needles, make it stand out from the rest.
The Pinus Radiata, the Monterey pine’s scientific name, are not only popular here in California, but all over the world. Its huge needles make for a thick and popular Christmas tree. Although it takes a few years for a Monterey pine to reach a height of 7 feet, it is well worth it to have one of these beautiful trees in your living room.
Another popular Christmas tree in Southern California is the noble fir. These trees are known for lasting longer due to the fact that they can keep water for longer amounts of time than other trees. These trees have a blue-green color to them that also looks silver at times.
Noble fir trees are native to Northern California, and mountain ranges in Oregan and Washington. These trees have needles that are four-sided with some spaces between their branches, which make them perfect for adding ornaments.
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, more commonly known as the Douglas fir, is an evergreen conifer tree that grows along the coast of Southern California. These have been popular as Christmas trees in Southern Calfornia since the 1920s. These farmed trees are known as old-fashioned Christmas trees by many people.
Douglas firs have needles that are blue-green or dark green. Despite being covered in needles, this Christmas tree is soft to the touch and when the needles are crushed, give off a very sweet smell.
Grand firs also make wonderful Christmas trees here in Southern California. The needles on this tree grow in two rows, giving it a distinct look. They have one of the most powerful fragrances of all Christmas trees.
They are also one of the tallest fir trees and can grow up to 300 feet tall! These beautifully soft trees originally come from the Pacific Northwest.
Nordmann firs (abies nordmanniana) are originally from the country of Georgia. Nordman fir Christmas trees have a thick covering of needles which make them ideal for decorating with large ornaments.
If you have allergies, then a Nordmann fir is the perfect holiday tree for you. Nordmanns don’t lose much water due to a waxy cuticle in the needles. Overall, these thick trees make for beautiful holiday decorations.
Scotch pines are another popular Christmas tree in Southern California. Their bright green needles don’t fall, which means less of a mess for you to clean up.
Scotch pines come from Asia and Europe. They grow well in the United States, which make them another popular Christmas tree. It can take up to eight years for a Scotch Pine to grow up to eight feet tall, or at least tall enough to use as a Christmas tree.
The Aleppo pine hails from Syria and is also called the Jerusalem pine. Aleppo pines thrive in Mediterranean climates, which make them ideal Christmas trees in Southern California. With careful planning, Aleppo pines can continue growing outside after the holiday season.
Pinus halepensis is the scientific name for Aleppos pines. A fun fact about these trees are that they were the sacred tree of the god Attis and decorated for winter solstice festivals prior to Christmas being celebrated.
Leyland Cypress trees make a great Christmas tree to those who are allergic to sap since the tree does not make sap. The needles are gray or dark green in color and don’t give off a strong smell.
Leyland Cypress trees are not nature made. They are the result of cross-pollinating Monterrey Cypress and Alaska Cedar trees. These trees were named after C. J. Leyland, who was responsible for gathering and planting them.
Fraser firs are known for their pyramid shape. The needles of this Christmas tree are dark green and also have a nice smell to them.
A Scottish botanist named John Fraser (1750-1811) found these trees originally in the Appalachian Mountains. Fraser firs have branches that grow a little upward, giving each tree a compact look.
Christmas Tree Care
Every plant has specific care guidelines, but for today I just want to briefly mention general care for Christmas trees. With careful care and planning, you can enjoy your Christmas tree for the entire season.
Make sure to get a Christmas tree stand that fits your tree and can hold plenty of water. Put the tree in water as soon as you get it home, or at least eight hours after its been cut down.
Make sure the water level stays at the base of the tree. You don’t want to end up with a dead tree before Christmas day.
Don’t place your chosen Christmas tree near any source of heat, including fireplaces, vents, heaters or direct sunlight. If you place lights on your tree, turn them off before you go to bed or leave your home, for safety reasons.
Some trees can be grown back in the ground (such as Aleppo Pines) or used for other purposes after Christmas. Know of other ways to use or care for Christmas trees? Let me know in the comments section below.
Decorate Your Christmas Tree
Don’t forget to decorate your Christmas tree! Some trees are better able to handle heavier ornaments than others, so make sure to do some research or talk to local tree growers before purchasing ornaments for your tree.
Speaking of decorating for the holidays, don’t forget that there are other plants to enjoy this time of year. You can read all about it here at Poinsettia Plant Care for the Holidays and Holiday Blooms: Amaryllis Care.
Enjoy Your Christmas Tree
Now that you found your Christmas tree from the choices above, you can decorate and enjoy your beautiful live Christmas tree, including its incredible scent (if it has one!)
I hope you learned a thing or two about types of Christmas trees in Southern California. Do you know of others to add or want to tell me about Christmas trees you’ve enjoyed in your living room? Feel free to tell me all about it below!
Where in Southern California can you grow Frasier Firs?
I haven’t found any places that grow Frasier Firs around here, although many Christmas tree lots offer them precut for the holidays. Great question!
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa is the Big Cone fir which grows in southern California. Pseudotsuga menziesii is the Douglas fir which grows further north and is more widespread. The Douglas fir does not do well below the high mountains in southern California while the Big cone does much better at lower elevations.
Good to know. Thank you for sharing the difference between the two!