Dec. 10, 2021

Alternative Christmas Trees

A small lemon cypress tree in a festive pot.

Cut Christmas trees are nearly synonymous with the holiday season.  Fraser fir, white pine, Douglas fir, and other needled conifer trees are common species used for cut trees in Iowa. 

When a cut tree isn’t feasible, rather than resorting to an artificial tree, there are several living Christmas tree alternatives. These less-than-common tree options are sometimes better-sized, require less care, or live longer than the standard cut tree.  More information about these living alternatives to the classic cut tree can be found below.

Care of Succulents Indoors

Echeveria (Echeveria)

Succulents are a popular group of houseplants but their care looks a little different than the typical tropical foliage houseplant.  Succulents are plants with thick, juicy stems and/or leaves.  Succulents are found in many different plant families.  Popular succulent species are found in the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae) spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) and the cactus family (Cactaceae) among others. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

Master Gardener Winter Webinar Series Continues in December

A beekeeper in protective gear checks on a beehive outdoors.

Join us this winter for a variety of webinars that will expand your knowledge, introduce you to new topics, and allow you to connect with experts from across the field. The three subject areas for this year's series are pollinators, landscaping, and propagation. All events are free and open to the public, so invite a friend to learn more about these exciting topics with you. All sessions will be live and will include a Q&A section at the end of the presentation.

Growing Herbs Indoors


Most herbs have the potential to be grown indoors, though some herbs tolerate the lower light levels, low humidity, and cooler temperatures indoors, making them the best herbs to start with when growing herbs inside your home. Learn how to grow herbs indoors in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from December 10, 2021.

Iowa Edibles Featured in 2022 Garden Calendar