For many of us, picking out a Christmas tree is a family tradition. And, since the tree is the centerpiece of your home’s holiday decor, it is important to find the perfect one. There are many types of trees to choose from, each with a different appearance, texture, and smell. To help you find the perfect tree this year, we’ve prepared a guide to the 19 most common types of Christmas trees you will come across online or at tree farms and lots throughout the country.
Types of Christmas Trees
About half of all the Christmas trees grown in the United States are Douglas firs. This tree will make a statement with its dark green to blue-green color and pyramid shape. A Douglas fir has soft, inch-long needles that go in every direction from the branch. The tree has a strong, rich, sweet, citrusy fragrance and powerful branches that will hold a ton of ornaments.
This large tree is native to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and it has bicolored needles with yellow-green hues and a silver stripe underneath. It has a heavy ‘Christmas-tree’ fragrance, thick foliage, and strong branches for decorating. It tolerates colder climates and is very easy to transport.
This style is native to South Russia and is the bestselling Christmas tree in the United Kingdom. It is a tough species that retains its needles for a long time, and it has a low fragrance, a shiny deep green appearance, and a beautiful, dense, and symmetrical shape. The branching patterns really shine in a Nordmann fir, and it is great for large decorations.
The soft and glossy foliage is kid-friendly and extremely low-maintenance.
This exotic tree has recently become the bestselling tree in the United States. It has a dark blue-green color; a lovely, aromatic fragrance; and strong branches that turn slightly upward, making it perfect for decorating with heavy ornaments. It is relatively easy to maintain, since it does not drop its needles too quickly, and its narrow base makes it perfect for tight spaces.
Because of its longer growing cycle, this tree is one of the most expensive options you will find. It is an excellent option for ordering online, since it is easily shipped.
This dark green tree has a strong, spicy fragrance that will remain throughout the Christmas season. It has a conical shape and dense leaves that are flat and needle-like with hints of silver and white. Its leaves are perfect for holiday wreaths and greenery. The branches will hold lighter ornaments, and they hold their needles well. If you want a tree that lasts for a long time, this tree would be a great choice
The Canaan fir has a rich green color and a medium fragrance and is a hybrid of the Fraser and balsam firs. It has such fantastic needle retention that it will not shed while you have it in your home. This tree is native to the mountains of West Virginia, has strong branches for decorating, and is one of the newest styles in the Christmas tree market.
Known for its beauty, the noble fir is native to Washington and Oregon and has dense, stiff branches that are evenly spaced along the trunk, making it perfect for heavy ornaments. It has a dark green-gray color and a strong fragrance, and its needle retention is excellent. The needles tend to turn upward, exposing the lower branches, and they are also a popular choice for garlands and wreaths.
Also known as the white fir, this tree is native to the Western United States and has a bluish-green color and small, narrow needles that are pointed at the tips. As it gets older, the tree takes on a duller green hue. It has a spire-like crown and a straight trunk, a medium fragrance, and decent needle retention.
Colorado Blue Spruce
This bluish-silver tree has a symmetrical form with attractive, dense blue foliage and waxy needles that tend to curve upward. Native to the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado blue spruce has strong branches for decorating and a conical, symmetrical shape, which many believe make it the perfect Christmas tree.
It has a strong fragrance and decent needle retention, but the needles do have an unpleasant odor when crushed.
The white spruce has a bluish-green color and short, stiff needles with blunt tips. The needles are excellent for lights and ornaments. The tree has a medium fragrance, but like the needles of the Colorado blue spruce, the needles of the white spruce do not smell good when crushed. The white spruce has the best needle retention among spruce trees and a good, natural shape.
It is also called the Canadian spruce, the skunk spruce, and the Western white spruce.
This dark green tree is common in the United States, but native to Europe, and it is a traditional style in the UK. The Norway spruce has needle-like leaves with pointed tips and a medium fragrance. This tree is extremely spiky and quickly drops it dense needles, which makes it extremely high-maintenance and not the best option for families with young kids. If you really love this style, it is best to wait until late December to buy it because it is so messy. And, with this tree, you’ll need to water it regularly and keep it away from radiators.
This tree is a lot like the Norway spruce, but it has slightly better needle retention. The branches work best with simple, light decorations or strings of lights, and the slender shape makes it a good option for smaller homes or spaces.
It is best to purchase this tree later in December to keep the needle drop to a minimum.
Eastern Red Cedar
Also known as the pencil cedar or aromatic cedar, this tree is technically a juniper and has a pyramid shape because of the compact, dense branches with leaves that point upward. It has a dark green color and a strong, pleasant fragrance, and it is the most commonly used style in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
You can easily spot a Virginia pine because of its short and twisted needles that grow in pairs. It is a small- to medium-sized tree that is extremely popular in the South and has short branches, dense foliage, a rich green color, and a medium fragrance.
If you are looking for perfect needle retention, look no further than the Scotch pine. The sharp needles don’t even fall off when they are dry, and this tree will stay fresh throughout the entire holiday season. Also known as the Scots pine, the tree has dark blue-green foliage, a lovely medium fragrance, and sturdy branches for decorating with lots of ornaments and lights.
Even though it is called the white pine, this tree is bluish-green in color. It has almost no aroma and soft, flexible needles with pointed tips that can grow up to five inches long. This tree also has excellent needle retention, but the branches are not strong and aren’t good for heavy decorations.
Legend has it that the Native Americans used lodgepole pines as the central poles for wigwams because of their straight stems. This tree is bushy and has yellow-green needles, a pine scent, and excellent needle retention. However, you must have a high ceiling for this tree, so make sure to measure your room height before picking one up.
Native to the Southwestern United States, the Arizona cypress is a medium-sized tree with a steeple shape and a bluish-silver color. The leaves are tiny but plentiful, and this tree has an extremely pleasing aroma that won’t overpower you.
This style is a very popular choose-and-cut option at tree farms in the South and Southwest, and it also shows up on the East Coast.
The Leyland cypress is the most popular tree in the Southeast. It has a dark green-silver color but very little fragrance. If you have an allergy to sap, this is a great option, because unlike firs and pines, cypress trees do not produce sap.
This tree has feathery leaves that grow upward and make a pyramid shape, but you probably won’t find it in a tree lot — you will have to go to a choose-and-cut tree farm to find this popular style.