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I was gifted a small pine tree of unknown species, around 30 cm tall. I don't know how to take care of it, so with not much fantasy I just moved it into a larger pot, added some soil, and watered it till I saw water in the plant saucer. I do not have any balcony or garden, so I placed it in front of the only window of my studio, that points to west.

Am I doing anything wrong? What should I do further? When should I water it?

I also added glasses for size comparison

  • If its actually a pine, its unlikely to do well indoors, unfortunately... can you add a photo please? – Bamboo Dec 17 '19 at 21:58
  • Hi, just added. I guess I will need to find a place where I can let it grow safely, what would you suggest? – marco Dec 17 '19 at 22:04
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It is a pine (or more specifically, Picea abies, often known as spruce rather than pine, but a member of the Pine family) an old fashioned Christmas tree in fact - it will be okay for the Christmas period if you keep it away from heat sources and make sure it's watered. Unfortunately, though, these trees do not make good houseplants - they need to be outdoors, in the cold over winter. All you can do is keep it in the coolest, brightest spot in your home and maybe find someone to take it who can keep it outside later on.

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  • Thank you very much for helping with this. I guess the tree is also thankful. I have two more questions: i) I live in London, where weather is getting quite cold. Isn't the tree a bit young for such temperatures? ii) My building has a courtyard where I could leave it, but I am a bit scared of people and animals hurting it. Is it something I should actually worried of? Or is it just me not being used to plants and vegetables? – marco Dec 17 '19 at 22:22
  • Sorry, just noticed you said you're in London - if you mean London, UK, it'll be fine (that's where I am) but you will need to harden it off over a period of days now that its been indoors for a while. The only risk is if temperatures fall to zero deg C night AND day and remain there for a week... that will cause the pot and its contents to freeze. Luckily, its not that cold right now... I can't speak for people who might damage it though it might be at risk of theft before Christmas.... – Bamboo Dec 17 '19 at 23:27
  • Do you think maybe it was given to you so you could use it as a little christmas tree indoors for a week or two? Someone gave me a tiny one too.... its outside on my balcony with lights and small baubles on, but it would be okay indoors for a week or so. – Bamboo Dec 17 '19 at 23:39
  • It was a gift, so yes it may be a christmas tree, but in any case I would like to treat it properly, I would like it not to die out .. But, if you think that now it's still not too cold, I could just place it outside maybe with some fencing around, if other residents are OK. I am afraid that the more I wait, the more temperatures will drop, and the tree will suffer even more when I will move it outside. – marco Dec 17 '19 at 23:59
  • if its been indoors for a few days, you must introduce it to the outdoors gradually - leave it out tomorrow, move it back in overnight somewhere as cool as possible, then put back out on Thursday - you could probably risk leaving it out all night on Thursday, temperatures look as if they're going to be pretty mild for the time of year, but make sure it doesn't blow away - its going to be windy on and off. Don't leave it in that outer tray outdoors, just check its not dry every few days instead – Bamboo Dec 18 '19 at 0:22
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How much root did it have on it? Rule of thumb is the roots should be at least half the weight of the shoots. If there is less root then you need to reduce the shoots accordingly. With a little spruce like that, you could cut out alternate shoots close to the central trunk, but do not prune back the leader at the top. This is only necessary if the root was small and weak. If it is strong then simply maintain water in the trough at the bottom, making sure that it is being taken up.i.e. the top shouldn't be bone dry.

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