We have tips to ensure that your outdoor wreaths (and swags, garlands, and other greenery) last through the holiday season.
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Few things make a space feel more festive than a gorgeous live wreath. Whether you hang one on your front door or use them to adorn your windows, wreaths are a harbinger of this most cheerful season. "Nothing is better during the holidays than a fresh evergreen wreath," says Andy Hunter, owner of Lynch Creek Farm, a company that specializes in live wreaths and centerpieces. "They smell like the forest and can naturally brighten any home." But for as beautiful as live wreaths can be, keeping them from turning brown can be tricky. "Wreaths are composed of different types of greens, but some of the more commonly used kinds are conifers from the evergreen family," says Matt Roth, owner of The Magnolia Company. "Premature browning is normally the result of premature drying."

green wreath with berries and floral accents hanging on red door
Credit: Kevin Alexander George / Getty Images

Curious if there's anything you can do to keep a live wreath fresh throughout the season? From what to look for when shopping for wreaths, to watering tips and more, here's what steps Hunter and Roth say you can take to prevent a fresh wreath from drying out too soon.

Buy a freshly cut wreath.

The first step to ensuring your wreath doesn't turn brown too quickly is to buy one that's as fresh as possible. "If you are looking at a wreath and it feels light and appears dry, chances are it's a few weeks old," Roth explains. To determine whether or not a wreath is fresh or not, Roth says to give it a good shake. "If the falling needles remind you of a rainstorm, take a pass because you will probably not be able to bring it back to life," he says. Roth also recommends sniffing the wreath to see if it smells fresh. "Think of what a fresh cut Christmas trees smells like," he says. "Wreaths made of firs and cedars should smell similar."

Hang it in the right place.

If you plan on hanging a live wreath indoors, Hunter says to reconsider. "We always recommend hanging fresh wreaths, swags, and garland outdoors because they will last much longer outside than in a heated home," he explains. When hanging a fresh wreath outside your home, Hunter says to keep them out of direct sunlight, which can cause them to dry and brown faster. "Quality live wreaths can last up to eight weeks outdoors, but will likely only last a couple of weeks in full sun or inside," he says.

Don't forget to spritz or mist your wreath.

Make no mistake about it: Spritzing or misting your wreath regularly is essential to stop it from turning brown. "Spritzing a wreath will help it last longer and bring out the fragrance," Hunter explains. "We recommend spritzing the back of the wreath (where the cut ends of the boughs are) every two to three days. When misting a wreath—as opposed to spritzing which involves gently spraying the wreath—Roth suggests doing it up to three times a day to stave off premature browning. "I use a small (16 to 24 ounce) spritzing water bottle to generously mist the wreath in the morning, around 1 p.m., and then again at the end of the day," he explains, recommending a 16- to 24-ounce size ($15.98, amazon.com).

Cover up the wreath at night.

If you are leaving your outdoor wreaths uncovered at night, Roth says you're doing it wrong. "I recommend misting the wreath and then covering the face of the wreath with a lightweight plastic bag, like a trash bag," he says. "You can just tuck it around the outside of the wreath and keep it hanging." Roth says that covering the wreath in plastic will help keep the misted water on the surface of the wreath at night, so it stays fresh for longer. "In the morning, take the bag off and mist it again," he advises. "Do this every day and you'll see a huge difference."

Try an anti-transpirant spray.

When all else fails, you can always try an anti-transpirant plant spray to help lock in moisture and keep your wreath from turning brown. Composed of film-forming polymers that dry to a clear transparent coating, anti-transpirant sprays, such as Wilt-Pruf Anti-Transpirant Plant Protection Spray ($15.99, amazon.com), are designed to protect foliage from heat, sunlight, wind burn, and other elements that might cause it to dry out too quickly. "Personally, I have not had a lot of success with these sprays, but I've had other people tell me about their success with them," Roth says.


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