One tree I meant to mention but forgot about in my previous post trying to convince everyone to consider alternative, non-pine Christmas trees is the humble olive. The one I bought three or four years ago is still going strong despite my shockingly poor husbandry. (Among other sins, I let two codominant trunks persist the whole time until this year, when we finally cut the smaller one, and since then it has rocketed up and seems bound and determined to climb all the way to the sun. It is quite a handsome little thing, and forgiving. I should have trimmed it long ago.)
Anyway, olives make wonderful little Charlie Brown Christmas trees, with small silvery green leaves that are lovely but not obstreperous. They won’t compete with your ornaments and lights. I suggest all white lights for this one.
Even if you’re going with a more traditional tree choice this year, do remember the olive when the weather starts to warm. They’re really pretty, and they don’t grow too enormous. Besides! What if you actually got olives one day? There are so many things to do with them! (If you do want an olive harvest eventually, you’ll probably want to plant two different cultivars so they can cross pollinate. I learned that on Ask IFAS, of course, from “Olives for Your Florida Landscape.” Consult Table 1 for some advice on cultivar pairings, be patient, and check back occasionally: olives have not been grown in Florida for long, and research is still scanty, but Ask IFAS authors review their publications every three years, so if more information becomes available, it will show up on the site eventually.)
Click here for more of Ask IFAS’s guides to olives and olive trees. They can help you select the right varieties, plant them in the right places, and care for them properly from the start.