3 Houseplants That Can Be Used as Christmas Tree Alternatives

updated Nov 16, 2020
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Credit: Denis Donis

This holiday season, that spot where you used to put up the Christmas tree might now be the spot where you conduct your Zoom calls or where your kids attend online classes. If, like many others, you’re starved for space, you might want to consider a tree that’s more low-key but equally festive. 

Here are three houseplants that are the perfect Christmas tree alternatives for small homes:

Norfolk Island Pine

A popular houseplant during the holidays, the Norfolk Island Pine has the cheerful aesthetic of a Christmas tree, minus the space requirement. Although it doesn’t have that fresh pine smell (a scented candle can fix that), its soft needles won’t prick you or fall off and leave a mess. Once the season is over, instead of dumping it out on the curb, you can actually plant it in your garden! You can buy Norfolk Island Pines at Bloomscape, The Sill, Home Depot, and Amazon.

Decorating tip: The branches of a Norfolk Island Pine are not as sturdy as those of a traditional pine tree, so use lightweight ornaments and garlands, as well as bulbs that are not hot to the touch.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce

With its classic triangle shape and dense needle foliage, it’s not hard to see why many use the Dwarf Alberta Spruce as a Christmas tree alternative. Caring for it is simple, too. The little evergreen needs well-drained soil and watering two to three times per week, but it does not require pruning. Keep it in a cool, bright area indoors, then replant it in the yard come spring. You can buy Dwarf Alberta Spruces at Home Depot.

Decorating tip: Known for its color and texture, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce can make any indoor or outdoor setting festive. Add a strand of fairy lights, and you’ll immediately feel the winter wonderland vibes.

Weeping Fig

Although it’s called the Weeping Fig, this houseplant looks anything but gloomy. Its leaves cascade down upon one another, as The Little Botanical describes, making it eye-catching and flamboyant. Sure, it doesn’t actually resemble a Christmas tree, but once adorned with ornaments, it will just be as merry. Added bonus: It’s considered as one of the best air purifying plants. You can buy Weeping Figs at Amazon, Home Depot, and Etsy.

Decorating tip: On its own, the Weeping Fig already has the looks to become the centerpiece of any room. To prep it for the holidays, add a few red bobbles, and you’ll be all set!