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Top 5 Fragrant Christmas Trees

With so many varieties to choose from, there's a reason why these 5 make the cut as the "perfect" Christmas trees.

Nothing says Christmas quite like a fragrant, real tree. And many families who choose real over artificial will be selecting the perfect one sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, approximately 25-30 million live Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year.

But which tree makes the perfect Christmas tree? There are many varieties to choose from—35 different species of trees are grown especially for Christmas—and many things to consider: size, shape, needles, branches, fullness, and fragrance. While a Charlie Brown Christmas tree is cute, it’s not what people usually select to make memories during the holiday season.

Although many types of evergreens grow in different regions across the country, here is a list of the five most popular Christmas tree varieties:

1. Balsam Fir

The Balsam fir is the most fragrant of the trees, making it the most popular Christmas tree variety. They’re durable and have short, flat, dark green needles. They do dry out quickly so be sure to check their water levels often. Fun Fact: The tree was named for the balsam or resin found in blisters on bark which was used to treat wounds during the Civil War.

Balsam Fir

2. Douglas Fir

A very common variety, these trees are favored for their perfect conical shape and fullness. Great for filling big rooms. Their needles are soft and flat with a blunt tip. Best to use lighter-weighted ornaments. Fun Fact: The tree was named after botanist David Douglas who studied the tree in the 1800s.

 

Douglas Fir Photo By Walter Siegmund, Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3795733

3. Fraser Fir

Recognizable by their needles, which are dark green on top and silver underneath. The branches, which curve slightly upward, are stiff so they hold ornaments well. And they last a long time — it’s not uncommon for these trees to last as long as 6 weeks, and they retain their needles well. After Balsam Fir, Fraser Firs are especially fragrant. Fun Fact: It takes 7—10 years to grow a 6—7 foot Fraser Fir!

 

Frasier Fir

4. Scotch Pine (or Scots Pine) 

This tree makes the list because it rarely sheds its needles, and has excellent water retention when cut. A Scotch Pine’s sturdy branches curve upward making it great for holding ornaments. But wear gloves when handling! The needles can be sharp. Fun Fact: The Scotch Pine is the most widely-planted pine tree in the U.S.

 

Scotch Pine. Photo courtesy of F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Colorado Blue Spruce

This evergreen is hard to miss with its beautiful blue hue. It’s a popular Christmas tree because it rarely sheds its needles. But they are sharp, so be careful (but they’re a good pet deterrent!). Stiff branches hold ornaments well and they have a perfect pyramid shape. Consider the tree’s color when selecting decorations. Fun Fact: A Blue Spruce is the living Christmas Tree planted on the south lawn of the White House!

 

Colorado Blue Spruce

Bonus Fun Fact:  The tree variety selected for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City is a Norway Spruce. These trees can be identified by their needles which radiate equally in all directions around the branch, like a bristle brush.

Norway Spruce

Which type of Christmas tree is your favorite? Wondering if you should go with a live or fake tree? There are pros and cons to each!

Check out the great story behind this year’s Rockefeller Center tree!

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Deborah D Statler-Ferguson

Concolor!!! Prettiest! Bit hardest to find

Aaron Bauman

The Noble fir is the most widely used tree in Western US by a wide margin. The Grand Fir is by far the most fragrant tree. Almost nobody uses Scotch Pine anymore. Keith Con Color is Concolor or White fir. No matter where you live the native trees tend to be more Charlie Brown because they are not tended like they are at tree farms. Just ask your local Nursery what the local tress are Rose Marie

Pamla Hunter

The tree I’m looking for will have a fragrance that will cover the whole house Rena small one. They also have a lot of sticky sap on them. I live in Alabama but will drive anywhere at Christmas to get one!

RoseMarie Whitman

I LOVED the tree we had when I was a child upstate NY, you found them in the woods, you could see threw the branches, long needles, like Charlie Brown tree, what are they called??? When you hung decorations and lights you could see them! Not Full of needles.

Carmen

I’m trying to find out if I can plant a Frazier fir tree in my yard. I live in Amite county Ms.

Keith

I’m guessing the name is Con Color ? Beautiful tree, with a citrus smell to it.

Gary D

I’m not sure what variety of trees we had back in the 50’s and 60’s as kids growing up in Mobile Alabama, but they were all “Christmas trees” and we loved all of them. Never never never did we have a fake tree.

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