Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches! But before singing this holiday-setting song, just how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree to get to see its lovely branches? Our much-loved nativity symbol may take time to become a fully-sized tree display, but it depends on the species, cultivation practices, and the right conditions. For this reason, our resident botanists are thrilled to feature the slowest and fastest-growing Christmas trees, including some fun facts that might interest you in selecting the best coniferous tree. All set? Know more about some of them below!
How Fast Does a Christmas Tree Grow?
To get a better grasp on how long do Christmas trees take to grow, we must first understand that they have a variable growth increment divided into three phases, mainly:
- Seedling stage – From sprouting to the development of several needles, this stage has a sluggish rate of size stretch, taking up to 4 years before seeing at least a foot (30 cm) high.
- Early development stage – After patiently waiting for 4 long years, you will see a sharp increase in height in the next developmental phase! It can span approximately 4 ft (122 cm) annually under the right cultivation practices.
- Maturation stage – Finally, as a tree approaches its terminal phase, its growth curve will decline. But this would take several years before reaching its final extent!
If your growing objective is to nurse a medium-sized tree, the answer to how long does it take Christmas trees to grow is – not that a lot of time! In fact, most living rooms can accommodate a 5-foot tree, setting it as the standard bar for the tree business. It takes at least 4 years for a tree to get to this point, while a bit longer for slow-growing cultivars.
Homes blessed with a towering, almost cathedral-like ceiling, or business establishments like hotels and restaurants can house a bit larger, 7ft tree to bring the festive season indoors. To grow a 7ft Christmas tree, a farmer may need 8-12 years of tending. This does not include the seedling stage yet! If you are growing from scratch, add three more years to that!
Fastest-Growing Christmas Trees
Planting takes dedication and patience, but if you plan to grow your very own, the list of fastest-growing Christmas trees below should help you decide to start out:
Leyland Cypress is an agile-growing sterile hybrid, evidenced by its 3-4 feet (0.9 - 1.2 m) increment per year. This transatlantic coniferous tree – a cross between Monterey and Nootka Cypress – can fairly go well in virtually any soils. It is more commonly grown in the southern US states. When cultivated with the proper conditions, it can soar to a minimum height of 60-70 ft (18-21 m). But you don’t have to wait that long if you want to enjoy a 5-foot (1.5 m) Christmas tree indoors!
Just how long does it take for a Christmas tree to grow? For Grand Fir species, a 4-foot (1.2 m) increase yearly is a common sight. Native to the wilderness of the northwestern US and southern British Columbia, it can tower up to 140 ft (43 m) or even 260 ft (80 m) – the tallest recorded specimen of its kind! If you want to enjoy its plumate branchlets, provide a partial shade in its initial growth stages when it is more vulnerable to heat stress.
Recording a 3-foot (1.2 m) gain per annum, Jeffrey Pine is a good contender to be on the top list of vigorously growing pine trees. Its home court is primarily nested in California and some parts of Oregon. Also called a North American pine tree, this conical, straight tree can stand 60-80 ft (18-24 m) tall. If you fancy growing this long-bristled tree, expect to see a harvestable, medium-sized Christmas tree within 5 years!
Yes, you guessed it right! As the name implies, Arizona Cypress spans across southwestern US states, including parts of Mexico. With minimal care and watering, this blue-tinged cypress can measure 40-75 ft (12-23 m) high at maturity, with an annual increase of 4 feet (1.8 m). Because it primarily grows in semi-arid to arid regions, it generally resists little watering. However, it would love a generous soak when grown as a Christmas ornament!
Average-Growing Christmas Trees
Christmas tree growth rate can be considered pretty acceptable – neither sluggish nor speedy – in some species, and yet, it is still worth trying!
While its domicile habitat lies in temperate forests of Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe, Norway Spruce crossed the Atlantic Ocean and became one of the popular yuletide evergreen trees in Northern America. Each year, it can add up roughly 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) to its height and can attain a peak of 200 ft (61 m) in the wild. Because of its droopy but tidily positioned short needles, it always has a reserved space in many Christmas living rooms.
Eastern White Pine
What is the fastest-growing Christmas tree? Eastern Pine may not be a good candidate for the height speed race–barely gaining 2 ft (0.9 cm) annually – but it has won the hearts of many homeowners. Well, who can resist its striking ensemble of layered branches, perfect for hanging baubles? Its blue-green needles bearing narrow, elongated cones at the distal ends are also a spectacle. This low-maintenance tree, originating in eastern North America, takes 6-8 years before it's ready to be displayed indoors.
Slow-Growing Christmas Trees
How fast do Christmas trees grow is not the question if you’re growing a sloth-like species, but because of their elegant stance, they still deserve a spot in your garden.
What seems to be a slothful pine is an ingenious strategy to cope with the poor soils. And this is Virginia Pine’s “slowly but surely” biology. Hardly surpassing the 2-foot (60 cm) mark of growth annually in its native range – the eastern half of the US – Virginia pine, surprisingly, can still be a productive tree! When grown in a nurturing environment, it is ready to be harvested in 3-5 years after reaching the desirable 6-foot-size Christmas decor.
Fraser Firs, while categorized under the league of two-footer-annual-growth, is worth the hassle! After 10-11 years of stand-by, with several shears, a 6 to 7-foot (1.8-2.1 m) charming tree is ready to be adorned indoors! Its neatly tucked branches make it look fuller, providing numerous hooks to hang Christmas ornaments. In its natural habitat, where it can stretch to about 50-60 ft (15-18 m), a few populations of Fraser Firs dot the southern Appalachian Mountains shared by the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Are Christmas Trees Hard to Grow?
To grow a Christmas tree to a typical height, while it may take time and planning, is not that hard because of its relatively low maintenance requirements. The key is to select the well-suited species in your zone!
How Old is a Christmas Tree When Cut Down?
For a 7ft Christmas tree, it takes at least 8-10 years from planting before it can be cut and sold in many garden shops. However, this can vary depending on the species and the cultivation method of each tree.
Are Christmas Tree Farms Profitable?
Christmas tree farms are a good way to earn more income and diversify your plants. According to some Christmas tree farmers, about a 30% profit margin is expected during the season.