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Living Tabletop Christmas Trees: Indoor Trees to Decorate for the Holidays and Keep All Year

Published by Darrin Fedrick

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If you have limited space or want a miniature Christmas tree as a centerpiece for your holiday table, why not choose one that will add an exotic touch, plus last indoors long after the Christmas decorations are put away. Small decorated trees that become attractive houseplants when the festivities end also make excellent gifts. The following indoor trees can be hung with tiny ornaments for the holidays, then set in a sunny window to enjoy for the rest of the year.


(Rosmarinus officinalis)

The piney scent of this fragrant evergreen gives your whole room a holiday aroma. Rosemary is actually a shrub, but its woody stems can be pruned and trained into a conical tree shape. Many garden shops sell rosemary already shaped for Christmas decorating during the holidays. It can be trimmed with miniature ornaments or a small garland draped in a spiral. When the season ends, place it in a sunny window and clip its savory leaves for cooking. Rosemary requires only minimal watering, usually once or twice a week. If it’s dry, water it, but don’t let it stand in water. In summer, it thrives with four or five hours of sun a day. In warm weather, it can be placed outdoors on a patio or deck.

Norfolk Island Pine

(Araucaria heterophylla)

This rich green conifer with its long, graceful branches is sold widely in garden shops for Christmas. While it can grow quite large, growth is slow and a small table top tree will stay manageable for some time. Branches are well spaced making decorating easy. Be careful, however, to use lightweight ornaments on young, tender trees to avoid damaging the foliage. Lights should be avoided. These trees prefer a cool environment, so keep it away from heat sources. The soil should be kept moist (not soggy) in summer, but it should dry out between waterings in winter. Regular misting and bright, indirect light will keep it looking healthy.

Goldcrest Monterey Cypress

(Cupressus macrocarpa “Goldcrest”)

This evergreen tree is striking for its vivid color and light, lemony scent when the leaves are crushed. As a conifer, it’s a natural as a Christmas tree, but its delicate, feathery foliage makes it distinct. Goldcrest likes to be evenly moist, but not soggy, and does well in either a sunny window or a shady spot. Decorate it carefully for Christmas with lightweight ornaments. After the holidays, it will do well indoors or out, but outdoor growth requires a mild climate.

Once the tree is chosen, shopping for tiny ornaments, or making them can be fun. If you’re crafty, try making paper cutouts, or dip tiny pine cones in glitter and tie them on the tree with bright colored ribbons. If children are visiting for the holidays, try little Christmas candies wrapped in bright paper that they can pluck off the tree.

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