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Live garland tips: How to keep garland fresh all season long

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Want to incorporate fresh holiday greenery into your Christmas decor? Here are my best tips for how to use fresh garland and keep it fresh all season long!

One of the best things that I have done for my holiday decor in the past few years is start decorating with live Christmas garlands and wreaths.

It feels a bit decadent and super fancy, but more importantly – it makes it feel like Christmas.

Why I love fresh garland

We live in coastal South Carolina where it is often 80 degrees on Christmas. There is never snow. Honestly, it doesn’t always feel Christmas-y.

You know what DOES feel Christmasy? Live garlands and wreaths and Christmas trees.

I love the smells, the look, and just the instant burst of holiday cheer that they bring to our home.

Live garlands also have the benefit of being completely biodegradable (they are in fact natural plants) and you don’t have to store them in the off season. Win-win!

Where to buy fresh garlands

My favorite place to buy fresh Christmas greenery is Costco!

They usually put their live garlands and wreaths out right around Thanksgiving.

Act quickly because they are not available for long! Once the Costco fresh garland are gone, they are gone!

Christmas double porches with garland and red bows

How to decorate with fresh garland

I have used fresh garland a lot in holiday decor. My favorite place to use it are:

  • On the stair banister
  • Across the mantel
  • As a table runner/centerpiece
  • On top of kitchen cabinets
  • Along floating shelves
  • In front of the TV on the top of the TV stand
  • Twist tied to our chandelier
  • On our front porch railings
  • Around the front door (on the outside)
  • Place any small “scrap” pieces in a vase or canister!

How long does fresh garland last?

I have found that indoors, my garland looks best for 2-3 weeks. We leave ours up from Thanksgiving to Christmas – it just starts to get slightly browned by then.

Outside, our garland gets crispy and brown pretty quickly, in a week or so. If you live in a cold or snowy climate, however, it will likely last LONGER outdoors than indoors! We just live in the south and often wear shorts on Christmas!

Our Indoor Christmas Decor 2016 - Charleston Crafted

How do you keep garland from drying out?

The best way to keep garland from drying out is to prepare it properly before putting it up on display.

How to make real garland last

Here are my very best tips on how to keep garland fresh indoors and out!

Buy the right garland

Examine your garland when you buy it. Pick through the stack! Buy the freshest, greenest, softest one you can.

If it’s already started to get brown, dry, or crispy, pass on it.

Live christmas garland tips and tricks

Soak it ASAP

As soon as you get it home, soak it. I put mine in the bathtub and submerge it completely for 24 hours.

This is good for a few things.

First of all, a lot of dirt and grease and gunk comes off – gross!

Secondly, it will allow the greenery and the stem to absorb as much water as possible!

Once you are done soaking the garland, drain the tub and let it air dry.

A Coastal Christmas Mantel via Charleston Crafted

Spray it, too!

Once the garland is dry to the touch, spray it with an anti-desiccant spray. I like to use Wilt Stop.

Follow the directions on the spray bottle to thoroughly spray the garland. Let it dry before handling it.

Keep it away from the sun

Choose a place to put the garland away from the sun.

Like I mentioned, the garland on our porch always gets dry and crispy. This is especially true in the parts that are in direct sun. Keep garlands out of the sun to extend their life.

Display them away from windows + vents

For indoor garlands, keep them away from sun and heat like heat vents and sunny windows. These will further dry them out.

Spritz the stems

Garlands like to be misted with water. Use a spray bottle and don’t forget to spray on the stem, which is where they often absorb water.

A Coastal Christmas Mantel via Charleston Crafted

Only pair with LED lights

Don’t use traditional Christmas lights with garland. LED lights let out a lot less heat and therefore are less likely to dry out live garlands.

Mix faux + live garlands

Mix live and faux branches and wreaths for a layered look. Start with a faux garland or wreath and then add sprigs or cuttings of live garland to add texture.

Or, get special picks from the craft store and add those to a live wreath or garland for a textured look!

Any more questions about real garland care?

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