Staking plants Vegetables

Turn Your Christmas Tree into A Bean Tree

Scarlet runner beans turned into a bean tree. Photo:

If you store your cut Christmas tree outdoors over the winter until its needles all drop off, you can easily turn it into a large branching plant stake: a bean tree. 

In late spring or early summer, stand it up in the vegetable garden, inserting the base of the trunk into ground, using a few tent pegs to hold down the lower branches for better support. Then simply sow seeds of climbing vegetables, like pole beans, runner beans, peas or squash in the ground all around the outer branches. 

Plant climbing vegetable seeds around the Christmas tree carcass. Ill.: &

As the seeds sprout, their twisting stems or tendrils will wrap around the tree branches and hoist themselves up, completely covering the bare tree with leaves. 

By midsummer, you can astound your friends with your bean tree. Or pea tree. Or squash tree.

The “tree” will eventually begin to rot and can then be composted, but should last 7 or 8 years. 

Sometimes gardening is sooo simple!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

7 comments on “Turn Your Christmas Tree into A Bean Tree

  1. That is so cool! I will try this. Not only with a christmas tree, but with a bush that didn’t make it from the winter. No bean poles needed. 🙂

  2. What a great idea!

  3. John Wilson

    I had never seen this, or even heard of it before now, but it is so GENIUS and simple! I purchased a Balsam Fir tree this year that was bigger than I wanted, or needed – it touched the eave of my house when stood upright. I cut a couple feet off it to get it inside, but still had to prune the leader another six inches so it didn’t hit the eight foot high ceiling. It should make a fine support for my peas and beans this season. Thanks, Larry!!

  4. Love this!

  5. Seven or eight year?! That is a tough Christmas tree!

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