How to keep a Christmas wreath from drying out

We asked Interflora’s Karen Barnes and Lindsey Kitchin at The White Horse Flower Company for their tips on keeping a Christmas wreath alive until January.

Pick your materials carefully

Whether you’re buying off the shelf or foraging for your wreath, your choice of sprigs, branches, flowers and finishing touches will be key.

“Blue firs, Douglas firs and Nordman firs, holly and spruce pine are all excellent foliages to use. They are hardy materials and can withstand cold temperatures,” advises Barnes.

“Dried flowers are the perfect addition to any long-lasting wreath. But if you do want to use fresh flowers, that’s ok too. Just make sure that you pick resilient blooms, such as chrysanthemums, to get the most from your wreath.”

Creating your own wreath? Soak any foliage beforehand

“If you are making your own wreath, soaking your greenery in water will really make a difference to the longevity of the foliage. This prevents it from turning brown and decaying too quickly,” says Barnes.

“Do this for a full 24 hours, to make sure that it’s absorbed as much water as possible. If fully submerging it isn’t possible, then at least make sure all the cut ends have had a thorough soaking.”

Hanging it outside? Choose a sheltered spot

Your wreath should survive perfectly well outside, provided you take a few precautions.

“Generally at this time of year, the cold and damp atmosphere means a wreath will last really well for four or more weeks. However, frost and rain may impact its logevity. If you use Spanish moss (which I do) rain may turn it brown. Likewise frost can affect the fruit – if it gets too wet, it may go mouldy,” says Kitchin.

Displaying your Christmas wreath outside in a cool, sheltered spot will make it last longer, as the foliage and flowers won’t dry out as quickly.

Barnes adds, “However, you don’t want the wreath to be left outside in freezing temperatures. So if a cold snap is predicted, move the wreath to a cool, protected place, such as a shed or garage.”

Mixed eucalyptus and green pine wreath on garden gate
Eucalyptus wreath – Spruce, Nordman, Populus, E. nicholii and Cinerea. Image credit: Sarah Raven/Jonathan Buckley

Remove and replace dying foliage

Your wreath will benefit from the occasional touch up over the Christmas period, so it’s a good idea to keep a few extra bits and pieces aside. Or you could forage for fresh materials.

“If you start with a nice, full festive wreath, then sprucing things up and removing any foliage or flowers that are starting to turn will make little difference to the overall look,” says Barnes. 

“Just gently tease out any sprigs that are not looking their best, and if you’ve used fresh flowers, change them altogether.”

Should I spray my Christmas wreath?

It’s a good idea to give your wreath a good spritzing with water every day or two, to keep it fresher for longer. Keep it damp, but don’t soak it. Otherwise, depending on the construction, it could get waterlogged and the leaves will drop. 

“The dry heat from central heating will definitely dehydrate your wreath, so choose its contents with care and spritz it with water regularly,” advises Kitchin.

According to Barnes, using a little misting spray bottle is the best way to do this, making sure that you dampen all the greenery to properly hydrate it.

“Don’t forget to quickly remove any decorations that may spoil with water before you do this,” she adds.