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Repurposed old Christmas Tree!

Repurposed old Christmas Tree!

Upcycle a christmas tree to support a climbing plant
It’s now March! Christmas has long been out of mind but I happen to still have a Christmas tree lying about. If, like me, you do too than here’s an idea for repurposing it: turn it into a frame for your climbing plants.


During the last festive season, I found myself living with my parents between houses. While I used  my own little potted tree in my room, my parents went for the classic cut version. I did enjoy the nostalgic scent seeping through the house but, once de-decorated, my tree went back out to continue life in the garden whereas theirs went… out by the bin.


Luckily, though, they missed the obligatory January curb-side collection. It’s  always a sad day, seeing them half-dead, hanging out on street corners, leaning on garden walls looking drunk and tired, waiting for the inevitable. So instead of joining the others in the council truck, my parents’ tree was left with no clear fate.


Today was a typically drizzly, uninspiring February day. On days like this, I find getting stuck into a creative project can be especially rewarding and help to blow away those dragging Winter blues. So I decided to repurpose the poor thing, still looking forlorn outside weathering the storm, it’s wilted branches sticking out at jaunty angles. It deserved a new lease of life!


If you happen to have a climbing plant in need of something to climb, remember this hack which works both indoors or out. I made my new “plant-ladder” for my trendy, tatty-chic “Swiss Cheese” plant (Montsera). In its rainforest habitat, it curls its juicy, luscious leaves around a damp tree trunk. I’ve struggled with its heavy, unruly stalks which flop sideways as it grows. So I decided to acquaint my Swiss specimen with the dejected Christmas tree outside, helping one plant out and rescuing another. Double win! Here’s how I did it:

Repurpose an old christmas tree

You’ll need:
  • Secateurs (if not, strong scissors might work)
  • A saw
  • Some sandpaper or a file (or if you don’t have either of these, just some patience)
  • Some string
  • A climbing plant which needs something to climb!

*Note, this is messy.*


1. First, I chopped the branches off the Christmas tree to roughly 10cm using secateurs.
2. Then I chopped the skeleton left to the desired height by sawing off the top and the thicker trunk at the bottom. *Be careful when using a saw! If you’ve never used one, please look up best practice before attempting this!*
3. Our tree was still covered in pine needles, so I used a file to sand them away. If you don’t have a file, try sandpaper, or shaving them away carefully with some scissors. Or just be patient and pull them off individually.
4. I introduced the houseplant to the Christmas tree skeleton. I did this in the bath to contain any mess and for access to water. I soaked the skeleton under the shower as Montseras like dampness to climb onto.
5. I made a hole in the centre of the houseplant pot and twisted the skeleton in until it felt secure, making sure to avoid damaging any roots.
6. I carefully teased the plant up the frame in a tight spiral around the new trunk. I didn’t actually need to use any string, it held really well, but use string if needed to tie the plant to the trunk.

upcycle an old christmas tree

I’m looking forward to watching my newly “spruced up” (pun intended) plant enjoy climbing it’s new jungle gym. A fab idea for anyone with an old Christmas tree still hanging around and a climber that needs a frame!


On a more general note, isn’t it mad that we chop down entire trees just to adorn our houses for a mere few weeks before being collected, binned, or burned and ultimately forgotten? It’s a ‘single use’, disposable item hiding in plain sight. Especially with growing concerns for deforestation. Just think of the ‘deforestation’ figures in December …… or don’t! Sorry!


Luckily, there are options for doing it differently. Potted and fake trees have been excellent, reusable alternatives for many years now. And for the creatives out there, there’s always the option to make your own using natural, found materials like branches or driftwood, binding them together artistically to make them bauble-ready. (Red willow makes for a particularly beautiful Christmas centrepiece.)


Other innovative solutions, such as Christmas tree rentals, are also available in some places. You pick a potted tree, pay a hire fee to cover year-round upkeep, bring it home and treat it as your own before returning it to be looked after and rehired the following year. These trees often end up being planted out when they become unsuitable for rental too. I love this idea – how romantic that a tree is loved by many different households over it’s lifetime, witnessing all sorts of magical moments (maybe even the odd family punch-up) before eventually finding a peaceful, natural retirement.


Personally, I’m three years into owning my very own potted tree – a petite, perfect pyramid in a jolly crimson pot which fits my ten baubles beautifully (yes, only ten, self confessed Christmas tree minimalist over here). For the rest of the year, it lives happily near the bird feeder, acting as a perch and inconspicuously blending in with the shrubbery.


It just goes to show that Christmas can be just as enjoyable, perhaps even more enjoyable, when replacing our ‘single use’ traditions with more sustainable ones. Remember, these little lifestyle changes, when added together and shared, can make a big difference!


By Kate Jellyman (Credit goes to my mate, Polly, who first gave me this idea.)

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