Fresh Greenery, Wreaths + Garlands 101

Since revealing our 2020 holiday home tour over on Rue Magazine and right here on the blog, I’ve received so many questions, comments, and DMs about one design element in particular: our fresh holiday greenery. It comes as no surprise that I’m “team fresh greenery, wreaths and garlands” all the way, and this year I went with an olive branch garland from Lulu & Georgia.

While faux options have certainly come a long way, there’s nothing like the look and feel (not to mention the aromatic elements!) of fresh greenery in your home. Admittedly, there’s a little upkeep involved to help your greenery last indoors, but it’s totally worth the effort. Whether you’re brand new to fresh greenery or have worked with it in years past, consider this your guide to keep those garlands looking their best all season long.


Design and Styling: The Identité Collective | Photography: Madeline Harper


Tip No. 1 | Buy Quality

Decorating with fresh holiday greenery is all about embracing simplicity and sustainability. It’s about bringing natural, seasonal elements into your home, and the best way to set yourself up for success is to work with the freshest products you can get your hands on. Start by checking out your local nurseries, farmers’ markets, and garden centers for their current inventory. Or, search trusted online retailers like Lulu & Georgia, Terrain, Williams Sonoma, and Ballard Designs, all known for their commitment to quality.  When ordering greenery online, look for products that are “fresh-cut” and pay attention to shipping times. The less time your product has to spend traveling, the better.






Tip No. 2 | Soak Overnight

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a photo of our olive branch greenery taking a soak in the bathtub on IG Stories, and my DMs suddenly went wild. People were shocked to see this simple trick in action, and I’m telling you — it works wonders! Whenever you’re designing with natural wreaths, garland, or loose greenery, it’s important to trim the stems and soak them in room temperature water overnight. This gives your live greens one good final drink after their travels and prepares them for an extra week or two on your walls. Once your greens have finished their overnight soak, let them air dry and decorate to your heart’s content.



Tip No. 3 | Mist Regularly

With all your fresh holiday greenery now perfectly in place, it’s time to extend the life of your live greens even further. Plan on misting your greens with water about every other day to help prolong their freshness. Your greens might need less frequent waterings, but we’ve had a particularly warm fall season here in Austin, so I’ve been misting mine on the regular. Just remember: fresh greenery placed indoors has a limited lifespan and can last around three to four weeks with proper care. At the end of the season, snip off the wire and compost the greenery – no bulky storage bins necessary.


Bonus Care Tips

*Avoid placing your fresh greens in direct sunlight or on heat sources, such as heat vents or radiators. 

*Once your greenery has been placed, try not to move it around to minimize shedding. 

*After an overnight soak and air dry, consider using an anti-transpirant or anti-desiccant spray to help delay the drying out process. This one comes with rave reviews.

*Don’t be afraid to intermix your fresh holiday greenery with the faux options. This gives you the best of both worlds and can keep your garlands looking more lush and full towards the end of the season.



Speaking of faux holiday greenery, we’ve also rounded up a few options that could trick even the most well-trained eye! As much as I adore fresh greenery, faux options always have their time and place.





Looking for more holiday inspiration? Here are a few posts we think you’ll love:




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  1. Patti Buckley says:

    Love the simple fresh greens. Your house looks beautiful and Madeline’s photos are stunning. Want to make a comment about the use of olive branches. I’m lucky to have many olive trees on my property and use them all year long in arrangements and on their own,. Olive, even with your excellent tips for extending their cut life, do shrink…a lot! So use way more than you think you’ll need and remember that olive branches dry beautifully in place. If you have the option, use older, stiffer branches as soft, new growth wilts quickly.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all those at IDCO and their followers
    Love, Mom

    • Stephanie Weers says:

      Hi Patti! Thanks so much for sharing your excellent tips and tricks on working with olive branches. We completely agree that while they can wilt pretty quickly, they dry beautifully in place. There’s something about using fresh greenery that we’ll always love!

      Wishing you a very Happy Holiday season!


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