Preserve Fresh Evergreen Branches For Christmas

Last year at Christmas I had a problem.  Well, actually I have had this problem ever since I switched from fake pine branches to real!

By the end of the Christmas Season, all the fresh evergreen branches that I cut and brought into the house to decorate had lost many of their needles.  Besides making a MESS, it also looked terrible!

But what’s a woman to do that likes REAL  and not FAKE?   Prefers FREE and cost-effective?  I tell you what she does, she finds a way to make it work.  The good news is that I did.


I found a way to Preserve Evergreen Branches for Christmas!


What is the key you ask?   One word…glycerin.



Preserve Fresh Evergreen Branches For Christmas



Large plastic bucket


garden gloves


evergreen trees


I personally use multiple varieties of evergreen branches in my Christmas arrangements.  Each kind of evergreen preserves differently.  This preservation process will work on every kind of branch.  I have found it works the best on cypress, arborvitae (cedar), eucalyptus, holly, and boxwood.  It significantly extends the life of every kind of evergreen including pine and spruce!



Preserve Fresh Evergreen Branches For Christmas


Glycerin is available at most grocery stores.  I picked up mine at CVS and it only put me back three dollars!



  1. Fill the plastic bucket up 1/4 of the way with warm water and add the whole bottle of glycerin.  Mix the water and glycerin well.
  2. Put your garden gloves on and prune your evergreen trees.  I usually make my cuts around 24 inches long.  After you cut a branch, immediately put the freshly clipped end into the bucket.   Fill the bucket up with freshly cut evergreen branches.
  3. Soak for 24 hours.
  4. Decorate!


TIP:  To make your evergreen branches last even longer, run a humidifier in your home.  The moist air will extend the life of your BEAUTIFUL displays! 



Preserve Fresh Evergreen Branches For Christmas



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About The Author

Janelle Esker

Janelle Esker is the grateful wife of Michael and homeschooling mother of six amazing children. She lives with her family, 4 cats, 1 dog, 3 ducks and 12 chickens in scenic Ohio. Janelle received her B.A. in Education from Ohio Northern University. She is the author of CHOSEN: One Family’s Journey with Autism.


  1. Shana | 15th Dec 15

    Will these last for the next year???

    • Janelle Esker | 15th Dec 15

      Hi Shana,
      They won’t last until next year but they should stay fresh throughout this Christmas season. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Karen | 16th Sep 16

    Can I use this to water my real Christmas tree as long as I cut it fresh at the trunk before putting it in the tree stand?

    • Janelle Esker | 17th Sep 16

      Hi Karen,
      What a great idea! Yes, this should work very well on the Christmas tree. You have inspired me to do the same!

  3. Debbie | 4th Nov 16

    After the 24 hour soak, the branches don’t need to stay in the water /glycerin solution?

    • Janelle Esker | 8th Nov 16

      Hi Debbie,
      Yes, that is right. Sometimes I totally submerge the branches, depending on if I can find a big enough tub…

  4. Deb | 26th Nov 16

    How many ounces is the bottle of glycerin?

    • Janelle Esker | 26th Nov 16

      Hi Deb,
      I use a 6 oz. bottle…thanks for asking!

  5. Dru | 4th Dec 16

    How long will the branches last?

    • Janelle Esker | 6th Dec 16

      There are several variables to know how long the preserved branches will last. First is the kind of evergreen branches you are preserving. Cypress and Boxwood are the best with Pine being the most difficult. My preserved branches last at least 5 weeks when they are outside in the cold here in Ohio. Inside two or three weeks. If I use Cypress they last four weeks inside.

  6. Alika Crowell | 5th Dec 16

    Hey Janelle,

    Do you think this will work on a real Christmas wreath?

    • Janelle Esker | 6th Dec 16

      Yes, absolutely. If the wreath will be outside it will last longer than inside. The cold weather is also a wonderful preservative. Cypress preserves much better than Pine.

  7. Gary Johnson | 1st Apr 17

    Absolutely love this! Thanks for sharing! I’ll be back for more.

    • Janelle Esker | 4th Apr 17

      Hi Gary,
      So glad you found this post helpful…thanks for stopping by!

  8. Jennifer | 16th Sep 17

    After they have soaked for 24 hours can you cut them again for fitting particular arrangements or does every cut require a 24 soaking. Is the glycerine sealing the cut edge or is it soaking up into the branch?

    • Janelle Esker | 18th Sep 17

      Hi Jennifer, Yes you can cut them for individual arrangements. If I am making arrangements I try to submerge the whole branch so it is all covered with the glycerin water. You can add a little more glycerine depending on the type of evergreen you are using. Pine and Spruce are the hardest to preserve. The glycerine is soaking into the branches. Thanks for stopping by The Peaceful Haven and have fun with this project!

  9. Theresa roberts | 22nd Oct 17

    Hi! I’m going to try and mix some blue spruce in with my boxwood branches this year. A friend told me I have to spray the spruce branches with some kind of clear acrylic after glycerine of they will turn brownish. Do you agree… thanks for your info

    • Janelle Esker | 23rd Oct 17

      Hi Theresa, I personally have never used a spray on my blue spruce branches. I do soak them longer in the glycerine mixture. The spray could make them last longer… I would be curious about what the ingredients are or brand name of the spray? Would you let me know? I am always up for improving my techniques! By the way, I think the combination of blue spruce and boxwood will look LOVELY!

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