You can’t beat the scent of a real Christmas tree

Norway spruce. Picture : Thinkstock/PA.

Norway spruce. Picture : Thinkstock/PA. - Credit: PA

As Christmas trees arrive in stores, Hannah Stephenson looks at the best trees for scent and how to keep the fragrance going.

Christmas trees - a Nordmann. Picture: Wyevale Garden Centres/PA

Christmas trees - a Nordmann. Picture: Wyevale Garden Centres/PA - Credit: PA

You can’t beat the scent of a real Christmas tree - it transports you instantly to a wintry world where Father Christmas could be just around the corner.

And experts at Wyevale Garden Centres agree there are three types to go for if you’re after a fragrant festive tree. Plus, there are plenty of ways to add scent to your tree, too.

Fraser fir (Abies fraseri)

Tim Evans, Wyevale’s buying manager for horticulture, explains: “The tree that has the most scent is the Fraser fir, which is a bit citrussy.”

It’s ideal for those with limited space as it’s slim, so you’re less likely to brush past it and knock off decorations in a smaller room, but it also has a great shape and fresh scent, and its dark olive-green needles don’t drop.

It’s likely to be more expensive than the more popular Nordmann, and there won’t be as many available as it’s a more difficult tree to grow commercially.

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Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana)

The most popular tree, it won’t drop its needles for the duration of the festive season and will give you some scent if you look after it and keep it watered. People love it because of its dense branches, uniform shape and good variety of sizes.

Norway spruce (Picea abies)

While some people are reluctant to buy this type of tree because it is notorious for shedding its needles, what it loses in longevity it gains in scent, emitting a pine resin fragrance.

It’s a good tree if you’re putting it up last minute, or at least closer to Christmas, because it won’t last as long as the more expensive non-drop trees.

Once your tree’s in place, there are other ways to add scent to the branches.

Use scented pine cones

You could either make your own or buy a pack of fragranced cones such as these by Milford Collection which feature a blend of cinnamon, citrus and festive spices (£8.48, Amazon)

Go natural with spice and dried citrus

Secure cinnamon sticks and dried oranges with florists’ wire to create a natural decoration for the tree and add some scent.

You can add living decorations to the tree including scented foliage such as rosemary or eucalyptus. Gold or silver pot pourri could be wired and added to the tree.

Buy scent-infused decorations

There are a few of these on the market, but among the best and most stylish are a set of eight bells from The White Company (£20), infused with notes of cinnamon, clove and fresh orange. The pack comes with a mini winter home spray, allowing you to refresh the scent of each bell throughout the season.

Alternatively, go for a simple Scentsicles stick which you can hide easily within the branches to give a Christmas fragrance (£8 for a tube of six, Wyevale)

Keep the scent fresh with pruning and watering

Keep your Christmas tree fresher for longer by chopping or sawing a few centimetres off the bottom and soaking it in a bucket of water outside, either overnight or for as long as possible, before bringing it inside.

For fresh cut trees, a water-retaining stand is absolutely essential. In an average heated home a Christmas tree can take in several litres of water a day and this is replaced through the trunk by keeping the water reservoir topped up with fresh water. Add Christmas tree food to the water, which comes in a sachet.

Care for your tree

Keep your tree away from direct sunlight, draughts and heat from radiators and fireplaces to avoid drying it out and shortening its life. Ideally, try to use LED tree lights which emit less heat and are better for the environment. A well cared for tree should normally remain fresh at least four to five weeks before drying to an unacceptable level.