The Grit and Polish · Nov 30, 2020

5 Tips To Keep Natural Garlands and Holiday Greenery Fresh Longer


I’m a big fan of using natural greenery for holiday décor. There’s just no replacing the real thing. But unfortunately natural garlands and greenery don’t usually make it from Thanksgiving to Christmas without getting pretty crispy. In years past we’ve had pine needles littering the floor with two weeks left until Christmas. Well, we’ve wised up and learned some tricks for keeping natural garlands and greenery fresh for longer, and we’re sharing them today.

Cathy’s sweater, flower still life art, more kitchen sources

Every year I pick up wreaths and garlands at Costco or our local nursery (or both this year). I’m not really particular on species, just as long as they’re green, smell like the forest, and bring lots of holiday cheer. Last week on the day before Thanksgiving, Garrett braved Costco to buy a few more garlands for me and we started decorating over the weekend. I’ll share more of our decor later, but for now, let’s talk about how we’re going to keep our natural greenery fresh for as long as possible.

Tips for keeping natural garlands and greenery fresh

One // storage

Homes are dry and warm in the winter, and just not that hospitable for cut greenery. So store garlands, wreaths, and holiday greens outside (or another cool location like a basement or garage) and out of the sun until you’re ready to hang them.

Two // Give them a bath

Over the weekend, I shared a video of my garlands taking a ‘bath’ in our bathtub on Instagram and got so many questions. Yes, you really should soak natural greenery! Set garlands and wreaths in a room-temperature bath for a few hours or up to 24 hours to rehydrate them before hanging. If you’re making your own wreaths, this step is best done before assembling. Bonus: if your greenery isn’t assembled yet or if you have the patience to track down the base of every stem (which I never do), give the stems a diagonal cut just like you would fresh flowers before dunking them in the bath. That will help them hydrate better.

Brass faucet, drawer pulls, brass latches

Three // Placement

Hanging natural wreaths and garlands outside in the cool (assuming you don’t live in sunny tropics) is the best, but second to that is anywhere in the house that’s out of the sun and in a cooler room. Basically you want to avoid positioning these near operational fireplaces, on the hood vent, above heaters, or anywhere that’s particularly drafty (basically all the best places 🤨). Not to say you can’t place them there, but be forewarned that they will crisp up realll quick.

Cathy’s sweater, chandelier, drapes

Four // Spritz with water

Continue hydrating your greens every couple of days using a 100% water spray bottle. I’ll admit, I’m liable to forget this step, but I’m optimistic that I’ll remember enough to make an impact.

Let’s go for five…

Five // use a preserver

There are some preservers out there that will help extend the life of your natural greens (I’ve seen this one recommended on Instagram a lot lately and it meets FDA requirements for edible plants). Full disclosure, I haven’t tried them so have no feedback for you, but if you want to give them a try, spray the preserver on your greenery before hanging them up (spray in a well-ventilated place like outside), after you let them hydrate in a bath and dry.

So how long will natural garlands/wreaths/greens last inside? Well that depends on so many factors - your home, climate, how old and dry the greenery is when it arrives, etc - but in general, a couple of weeks. Maybe three. And if we do everything perfectly, will they last from Thanksgiving to Christmas…? I’ll keep you posted!

Have any more tips? I’d love to hear them!

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