The Best-Smelling Types of Live Christmas Trees

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So, you’ve decided to bring a live tree into your home for a few weeks. How festive! Now, it’s time to determine what type of Christmas tree you’d like—or, more accurately, what qualities you’re looking for in an indoor evergreen. A particular look? A certain price point? A robust fragrance?

For many people, the woodsy aroma of pine is the main draw of getting a live tree. If you’re one of them, here are the best-smelling Christmas trees, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.

The most fragrant types of Christmas trees

With 35 different species of trees grown in the United States specifically for Christmas, it can be hard to narrow it down. These five are a great choice for those who are in it for the natural pine fragrance:

Scotch Pine (or Scots Pine)

Also known as a “Scots Pine,” it’s the most widely-planted pine tree in the U.S., per the Farmers’ Almanac. Along with its pleasant aroma, these trees remain popular year-after-year because they doesn’t shed much, their upward-curving branches make hanging lights and ornaments a breeze, and they retain water well after being cut. One potential downside: The needles can be sharp, so wear gloves when handling it, and maybe pick a different tree if you have young kids.

Balsam Fir

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, Balsam firs are the most fragrant Christmas trees, as well as the most popular variety in the United States. On the plus side, the trees are usually symmetrical and durable, and their needles are soft. But, their branches are also soft, so they’re not ideal for hanging heavy lights or ornaments.

They also dry out faster than some of the other trees, so make a habit of checking their water levels. As far as shedding, Balsam Firs usually remain intact for about four weeks before dropping their needles—so if you plan to keep your tree up longer than that, you might want to pick a different kind.

Douglas Fir

Named after David Douglas, a 19th century botanist who studied the tree, Douglas Firs are ideal for filling large spaces, thanks to their conical shape and fullness. While the tree’s needles are soft, so are its branches, so you’ll need to avoid trimming it with anything heavy.

Fraser Fir

In addition to being the second-most-fragrant tree, Fraser Firs are a perennial favorite because they’re long-lasting (surviving indoors for up to six weeks) and low-maintenance (rarely shedding). The trees’ needles are their trademark feature: Dark green on top, and silver underneath. Plus, their stiff, upward-curving branches can handle all types of ornaments.

Colorado Blue Spruce

Like the Scotch Pine, this tree smells great, doesn’t shed much, and has stiff branches (with sharp needles) good for hanging lights and ornaments. They differ most in appearance: Colorado Blue Spruce trees have more of a pyramid shape, and, as the name suggests, have a blue-ish hue.

No matter what type of tree you decide on, be sure to thoroughly check it for bugs and other pests before you bring it inside your home.

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