Lemonade for Christmas tree hack that will help your fir thrive

Is lemonade good for Christmas trees? Gardener David Domoney and other experts weigh in...

Your real Christmas tree is hopefully thriving by now, and looking fabulous decked out in all its glorious decorations. Real Christmas trees are the preferred choice for many because of the natural pine scent they fill the home with, but they do require a little more TLC than their artificial sisters.

But did you know that real Christmas trees love a drink of full-fat lemonade alongside their water? Gardening expert David Domoney, as seen on This Morning, revealed that the secret to a long-lasting, flourishing fir is the lemonade for Christmas tree hack. 

And it's not just him - other gardening experts have tried and tested this method and confirmed that it works. Hopefully you've got a bottle of lemonade knocking around your fridge somewhere, because after reading our tips you'll be keen to give your tree a taste of the fizzy drink.

'If you’ve had past problems with your Christmas tree drying out before the 25th then the answer could lie within a product we more commonly associate with kids’ parties rather than plant care', says Samantha Richards, Garden Gazebo Expert, Gazeboshop. 'That’s right, full-fat lemonade is a great alternative to tree fertiliser when it comes to looking after your Christmas tree.'

So if you've been wondering is lemonade good for Christmas trees, you've come to the right place - keep reading to find out why you should be feeding your firs more than just water, plus other top tree care tips.

Real christmas tree with lights and presents underneath

(Image credit: Beards & Daisies)

Lemonade for Christmas tree: everything you need to know

Picking the perfect Christmas tree is never easy, but we're sure by now you've landed on a fir that fills you with joy every time you look at it. That's why giving your tree what it needs is so important, so you can help it to thrive throughout the festive period. And who knew that lemonade was one of the best things for it? Keep reading to find out why.

Why is lemonade good for Christmas trees?

When David Domoney revealed the lemonade for Christmas tree hack on This Morning, Phillip Schofield had to double check he'd heard him correctly. 'You can use florist's cut flower food, or you can just mix up some sugar water or full-fat lemonade to feed your tree', David said, to which Phill replied 'Lemonade?!' 

'Yes, it's the sugar really Phillip. There's an element of food within', he explained. 'You'd be surprised just how much water the tree takes up within the container, so adding a little bit of food keeps them looking fresher.'

Gardening expert Samantha Richards agrees. 'Once the tree is cut from its roots it no longer makes food for itself. The sugar in lemonade provides the tree with nutrients and nourishment which it otherwise wouldn’t get. This therefore helps to keep your tree fresh throughout December.'

Anything that maintains our real Christmas trees for longer is good news to us. Some garden centres sell food sachets specifically for feeding Christmas trees, but lemonade is a cheaper and easier alternative, and something many of us tend to have in the fridge around Christmas anyway. 

Does lemonade for Christmas tree work?

Small fir Christmas tree in white pot

(Image credit: Beards & Daisies)

If you're still wondering is lemonade good for Christmas trees, it's understandable as it may seem a bit bizarre that an artificial fizzy drink will give your tree a nutritional boost. But like other cut flowers, cut Christmas trees will benefit from a bit of a sugar alongside their water every now and again.

According to Samantha, lemonade is the perfect drink to do this. 'The high sugar content and citric acid in lemonade also helps the tree to maintain its cell structure which keeps the tree looking fresh for longer and reduces the risk of pine needles falling.'

'You can keep your tree looking extra healthy by feeding it a little lemonade to give it a sugar boost and support growth', agrees David Mitchell, Horticulture Buying Manager at Homebase

But the lemonade for Christmas tree hack is essentially optional. If you're following the proper care tips, and regularly topping up your tree's water pot, lemonade isn't really necessary for the tree to last the whole festive period. It's ideal to add once your tree starts to droop and it's shedding more needles than it was before.

How often should feed the tree lemonade, and how much?

lemonade and straw bottles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Future)

'The best time to feed the tree lemonade is in the week leading up to Christmas or when it starts to droop and shed its pine needles', says Samantha. 'One can of lemonade mixed with a watering can worth of water will do the job.'

By no means should you replace the tree's daily water intake with lemonade. Feed the lemonade to the tree when it looks in need of a pick-me-up, like Samantha said, and it will help to slow down drooping.

How often should you water the Christmas tree?

The lemonade for Christmas tree hack is genius, but let's not overlook the importance of giving the tree regular H2O. The base of the tree should always be fully immersed in water, but it's important to top this up as the tree will drink up a lot of this each day.

'You should top up the water for your tree every day to keep it looking healthy, plump, and full,' says Fiona Jenkins, Gardening Expert, MyJobQuote. 'It’s best to add at least 500ml of water each day. A real Christmas tree is capable of absorbing around 1-2 litres each day, but a cut tree can remain hydrated on less than that.'

Then you can add some lemonade to the container every so often just to give the tree an extra boost.

Alternatives to lemonade

If you haven't got any lemonade in the house, you don't necessarily need to go out and buy some to keep your tree looking fresh. You can simply mix up some sugar and water and pour this into the tree's container instead. As David explained, it's the sugar in the lemonade that feeds the tree and gives it an influx of nutrients, so sugar and water will do the job just fine.

Stick a ratio of one cup of sugar for every gallon of water, to reduce the risk of overfeeding the tree. You can also add some vinegar to increase the acidity of the solution and give the tree an extra boost.

Whether you're using lemonade or a homemade solution, remember not to overdo it. This isn't a daily requirement by any means, and should only be done occasionally when the tree needs reviving. 

David Domoney's Christmas tree tips: looking after a real tree

Aside from the occasional drink of lemonade, your Christmas tree will flourish if you stick to the following advice from gardening guru David.

room with grey wall and decorated christmas tree

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

1. Treat real trees like cut flowers

'You've got to treat these cut trees as if they are cut flowers', David says. 'Because the roots have been removed, so the magic is making sure they are regularly watered.' Forgetting the water your tree once you've decked it out is a sure way to see it wither before Christmas Day.

2. Cut the end before placing in water

Small potted Christmas tree with blue and silver baubles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'When you get it back to your home the one thing to do, like cut flowers, you put them in water. But of course it's sealed at the end', he explains. 'So what you really want to do is take about a centimetre, taking a slither of the stump off  – which exposes fresh tissue.'

He goes on to say, 'What I normally do is sit it in a bucket in the back garden for a night and a day, to let it soak up as much moisture as possible. That way it's fully hydrated before I bring it inside.'

3. Make sure your stand is suitable

When the tree is brought inside David emphasises how important the right stand is. 'Make sure you've got a stand that can hold water, and regularly water your tree once it's in there.'

4. Don't place near the radiator

'Of course, don't put the tree anywhere near the radiator. That has no benefit at all,' David finishes. 'That just dries them out even more.' More than being cut from their roots he means of course.

Anyone else now singing the R Whites lemonade song now, or is that just us?

What is the best thing to put in the water for a Christmas tree?

Farm of korean fir Christmas trees

(Image credit: Christmastrees.co.uk)

Adding a small amount of lemonade to your Christmas tree's pot is best for helping revive it. 'Using lemonade can keep your Christmas tree alive because the sugar in it provides food and nourishment, while the water keeps your tree hydrated', says Mark Rofe, Founder, Christmas Trees. 'It acts in a similar way to the flower food you would typically get from a florist.' 

Mark adds, 'alternatively, you can make your own homemade flower food by adding one teaspoon of sugar, and one tablespoon of vinegar to one litre of water, and giving it a good mix. The sugar provides nutrients, while the vinegar makes the water slightly more acidic which can help to slow bacteria growth.'

It should be noted that some experts advise steering clear of lemonade and sticking to plain water. 'The best thing to put in the water is quite simply natural plain water', says Les Kenny, Founder, BuildEazy. 'I've seen various suggestions in the past few years about adding bizarre ingredients to help the tree, but they don't help the tree or the wood itself.'

We advocate for sticking to a consistent daily watering routine, then adding lemonade after you've had the tree for a few weeks and it's starting to look a little droopy. If you feed the tree a healthy amount of water every day, you might not feel the need to use lemonade at all - it's your call.

'Water your real Christmas tree every day to keep it hydrated to reduce needle drop - we recommend adding a minimum of 500ml of water a day', says Mairi Devlin, Head of Horticulture, B&Q. 'Fresh water is enough for your tree to grow and remain healthy, just allowing nature to take its course.'

Can I spray my Christmas tree with lemon juice?

'I wouldn't recommend spraying the actual tree with lemon juice, however you can add a small amount to the water itself to raise the acidity of the water', says Les. 'Corn syrup or even vinegar can also have a similar effect, but in my experience a normal still water still proves to be the best.'

'Adding lemon juice to the water you are feeding your tree with can help to raise the acidity of the tree', says James Williams, Gardening Expert, Rezigo. 'However, this can only really help on a freshly cut tree, so adding this to a tree purchased from a lot that has been cut down for a while may not benefit from this hack. Your best bet is to water your tree lots and ensure it never dries out.' 


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street. 

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