Cryptomeria as living Christmas tree – not for the tiny of yard


Fallcolorsmallby Susan
To a recent post about real v. fake Xmas trees, Elizabeth left a comment about a "puny living tree that would look like hell in my high-ceilinged house AND
planted in my garden."  So I offer as Exhibit A to that very point this Cryptomeria ‘Yoshino’ that served as my tree in 2001 and is shown in this 2006 photo.

[And remember I only know the exact name and date of purchase because I keep records, something I can’t shut up about.]

But let’s go back to 2001 and imagine this plant in a pot and standing about 4′, including the height of the pot.  Decorated, it looked cute in my small living room but I’ve seen Elizabeth’s house and I agree it would look silly there.  After a few days I started worrying that the indoor heat would kill my new tree, which had cost me all of $40. (Anybody know if that ever happens?) So out to the deck it went, decorations and all, where it stayed until it could be planted on the first warmish day of the new year.  Winters here being pretty half-hearted, it didn’t have to wait long.

Sited in this half-sunny spot in the garden, it’ll grow to maybe 35′ tall, according to the sources.  Actual results may vary but in no event would it fit into Elizabeth’s cozy urban garden.

More on the tree wars
This article about the Coalition for Environmentally Conscious Tree Growers is the latest contribution to the controversy, and thanks to Kathy Jentz to sending it our way.

Corvallis, where are you?
Now for a brief off-topic rant about that link.  It takes you to the site of the Corvallis Gazette Times newspaper.  Raise your hand if you know what state that’s in, or even what part of the country.  This Easterner didn’t know it’s in Oregon – sorry! – and I bet there are plenty of other readers like me. (At least I’ve actually visited the state.)  I’m bothering to complain because it’s very common for newspaper sites not to tell you where the hell they’re located in the real world.

That’s okay.  Newspapers are all scrambling to improve their websites and no doubt they will get better.  Or the paper might not be around for long.


  1. Don’t feel too bad about Corvallis. The day people in Portland, Oregon (hell, the entire West Coast, for that matter) realize that is not the first and only Portland in the US — in fact, the other Portland in Oregon was founded and named after the first Portland in Maine by a former Mainer — then, at long last, someone can apologize to Oregonians for not realizing this or that town was in their state.

  2. Susan, lovely tree–but this seems like something that only works in a half-hearted winter climate. Leave an unplanted tree outside on my deck–and it would be dead as a doornail come April, when we get our first hints of thaw.

    When I was a kid, my parents often used a live tree for our Christmas tree, I think out of frugality. Evergreens were big landscaping plants in New Jersey–in fact, the only landscaping plant. I can remember my father heading out after New Years’ to plant the thing, swearing as he tried to stick it into the half-frozen ground.

    Fortunately, I live in the wooded-over Northeast, so feel not a smidgen of guilt about sending my husband out into a snowy field to cut one down every year.

  3. P.S. Susan, that woodland look you have going on is so difficult to achieve. I find it so hard to plant underneath established trees. Roots, bone-dry soil, deep shade, etc. Can you give us a few hints?

  4. Thanks for using my rather ill-natured (and typo-laden) comment to inspire a much more intelligent and interesting post, Susan!

    As usual, I am (ever)green with envy over your lovely naturalistic garden.

    Now here’s a thought. I do have friends who put small strings of holiday lighting in their large houseplants. You know, some of them get quite tall! It gives the festive look and you’re using what you already have. Nothing has to be thrown out or planted outside.

  5. Glad y’all like it. But since I just stuck the plant in the ground 6′ away from the large white oak, on the sunny side, and mulched regularly with leafmold, you’ve got me wondering why it’s been so happy there. It’s sure grown fast and not complained about anything.
    They’re SO much more beautiful than Arborvitae ‘Green Giants’ – too bad they cost at least twice as much.

  6. Michele O wrote >>I can remember my father heading out after New Years’ to plant the thing, swearing as he tried to stick it into the half-frozen ground.<< I feel for your dad - planting in January in NJ! The trick is to dig the hole when you buy the tree, trying the rootball out for size, THEN acclimate it by bringing it into a protected area for a week or so - then inside for as brief a time as possible in as cool a room as you can stand indoors - then reverse the process post-Christmas. BTW Susan I feel you on that newspaper location quandry - a number of times I've gone to a Googled source and searched all over their site to find out where the heck they are published. The smaller the town and paper, the more common to leave out entirely the location. The worst are HOA newsletters and such!

  7. I’m still firmly on the side of a living christmas tree because the plastic (fake!) tree just don’t have that authentic smell. I think sometimes we get caught up in trying to make things convenient and forget about the experience.

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