Many evergreen shrubs and trees are suitable for outdoor winter planters and short-term indoor decoration for planting after the holidays.
Evergreens for outdoor pots and urns should be potted straight from the nursery into fresh potting mix into their permanent containers. Remember to water whenever temperatures allow throughout the winter. Dwarf Alberta spruce are particularly well-suited for use in winter planters due to their tolerance to cold temperatures. Their slow growth rate means they can last for several years if regularly watered and fertilized before being planted out into the landscape.
Potted trees brought indoors for Christmas decorating will do best in a cool spot near a window and will last seven to ten days inside. (Your tree can be brought inside to decorate as early as December 17 if you plan to begin reacclimating it to the outdoors on December 27.) Avoid heat vents! When newly purchased, place the tree in a garage or shed to acclimate it to warmer air. Set your tree in a leakproof container and water enough to keep the roots moist. Never allow your potted tree or shrub to dry out, and use small LED lights to prevent needle injury.
Choose the planting location for your live tree ahead of time and dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball before the first freeze. Cover with mulch until planting time. Make sure to plan for the mature size of the tree you are planting. For example, plant evergreen trees that will grow 20′ wide at least 12′ from any wall or fence.
After the holiday, move your potted tree back to the garage or shed for a few days to reacclimate it to outdoor temperatures. Check the forecast and find a mild day for planting. Backfill with the soil you dug out, cover with mulch, and water generously. Be sure to water whenever temperatures allow until spring rain returns.