Australian Native Alternatives to the Christmas Tree

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If you celebrate Christmas, then decorating and placing presents under a tree may be part of your tradition. We wanted to bring you some Australian native alternatives that can be decorated with ribbons, baubles, lights and whatever else makes you feel festive.

A real tree brings an extra special element to your holidays, with the added bonus that the trees can be potted in your garden for use year and year again. Plus – no assembly required!

Norfolk Island Pine

If you’re looking for a traditional Christmas tree, then this is very similar in appearance to those that you might find in the pages of Dickens Christmas Carol. Conical with evenly spaced branches. Young trees work well indoors as a potted houseplant. 

Wollemi Pine

You can’t get any more native than the ‘Dinosaur Tree.’ They once covered the whole of Australia and were widely believed to be extinct until 1994. Not just one of the rarest and most ancient species of tree on the planet, they’re also perfect for hanging decorations. They’re easy to care indoors and outdoors.

South Esk Pine

An endangered species threatened by habitat loss. With dense, upward-angled branches this small evergreen tree looks a little different from the ‘traditional’ Christmas tree but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be helping to secure the longevity of the species for future generations. A fully grown tree will reach about 6m so you don’t need a huge garden to plant it once the festivities are over.

Woolly Bush

With grey-green foliage resembling a light snow covering this might be the ideal option if you are aiming to bring to mind snowier festivities! It’s a small shrub growing up to 5 meters tall and works well in a pot as an indoor plant. If you’re short of indoor space, plant it outside and watch the red-orange flowers attract native birds.


Also known as the Australian Christmas tree it has pine-tree-like leaves and blooms around Christmas with yellow flowers. With some regular pruning you can ensure that a potted or planted Geebung remains at your desired height for years.

Callitris Pine

Also known as the Southern Cypress. With dark green foliage and a classic pine tree shape, it grows well in areas with rocky soil and low rainfall. It does well potted, but plant carefully as they can grow up to 15m tall.

Bush Christmas Lilly Pilly

This is one for the folks who aren’t looking to recreate a Dickensian Christmas. The Lilly Pilly thrives potted in sunny locations, can be clipped into any shape and with plenty of glossy foliage and dainty violet-pink berries won’t necessarily need a lot of decorating.

As well as the native alternatives for Christmas trees don’t forget the wonderful opportunities for smaller, decorative touches. We’d recommend considering Christmas bells, Christmas bush, Holly-leaf grevillea, Sturt’s desert pea or Bottlebrush.

For professional advice on which native plants you can grow to help you celebrate the festivities, and all through the year, contact The Greenscape Collective.