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Ideas & Inspiration

Join Us For This Season’s Tree Top Pot Classes

Curious to see the process behind how our team builds our lovely holiday tree top pots? Sign up for one of our two tree top pot classes with our designer, JP, to learn all the secrets for yourself!

tree top pot sunny special
tree top pot sunny special

Join us at 4 PM either Thursday (11/30) or Friday (12/1) for a fun course as we show you how to construct your own 10″ tree top pot in a plastic container.

Class free is $150 and includes container, fill material, spruce tops, all accent greens, twigs & berries, as well as refreshments, red & white wine for sipping! JP will teach you how to make our most popular design we call the Sunny Special with birch and red winterberry.

We guarantee you’ll have a great time and will learn tree top pot design tricks you can use for years to come.

[REGISTER HERE] Tree Top Pot Class – Thursday, Nov 30 – 4PM

[REGISTER HERE] Tree Top Pot Class – Friday, Dec 1 – 4PM

What Is the Difference Between Fraser, Balsam Fir, and Canaan Fir Christmas Trees?

Though the debate between fake Christmas trees and real trees continues to rage strong, anyone who’s serious about Christmas cheer knows that investing in a real, live, fresh tree is the best way to set the mood in any home.  Real Christmas trees smell nice, look nice, feel nice, and they’re better for the environment. Hard to beat that, right?

It’s deciding on which type of tree to invest in, though, that’s really the hardest part of this annual dilemma. Understanding the differences between the main three types of trees you’ll come across this holiday season – Fraser, Balsam, and Canaan firs – can help you make the best decision for your home.

Fraser Firs

Fraser fir Christmas trees are the perfect option for those looking to get the biggest and best out of their tree. It’s one of the strongest and long lasting options out there, making it ideal for décor-lovers who have endless amounts of ornaments to fill the branches with. The branches angle slightly upwards, giving the tree a perky, cheery look that’s sure to impress. Fraser firs:

  • Grow up to 50 ft. tall
  • Have bluish-green needles
  • Give off a mild fragrance
  • Are some of the most common Christmas tree finds

These trees lack the strong fir smell some people look for in a tree, but make up for it with thick, strong branches and a fullness that’s hard to find anywhere else. They’re easily available and fit well with any décor.

Balsam Firs

The Balsam fir Christmas tree is likely the first option that comes to mind when you begin thinking about holiday trees, even if you’re not aware of it. These small-to-medium-sized trees are immediately noticeable for their conical shape, marking them as the iconic Christmas tree that they are. Their dark green needles are also interspersed with natural hints of silver, which bring a bigger sparkle to your Christmas décor. These hints of color and the tree’s beautiful green shade are why branches of these trees are so often used for wreaths, garlands, and bouquets. Balsam firs:

  • Grow up to 82 ft. tall in the wild
  • Have dark green, thin needles
  • Give off a strong, sweet-spicy fragrance
  • Have an iconic look and feel that complements any décor scheme

These classic trees have the perfect conical shape and fragrant, deep green needles most people want from a tree. However, they’re usually somewhat smaller than both Canaan firs and Fraser firs, and its branches may not be quite as sturdy.

Canaan Firs

Canaan firs are closely related to Balsam firs. They look much the same in some aspects but are bigger, heartier, and stronger than their Balsam counterparts. In this way, it’s much like a hearty Fraser fir, effectively making this tree a hybrid of the two other options. Unlike the other two, though, this tree is relatively new to the Christmas tree market, making it difficult to find in some areas. Canaan firs:

  • Grow up to a whopping 98 ft. tall in the wild
  • Have bright, rich green needles
  • Give off a medium fragrance
  • Feature an ideal combination of both Balsam and Fraser firs

Canaan firs are the best of both worlds. They have the heartiness and branch-strength of a Fraser, but the conical shape and rich green needles of a Balsam. However, their smell is milder, and in most areas, these trees will be more difficult to find than both other options.

Find Your Perfect Tree

Canaan, Balsam, Fraser, or something else entirely, you’ll find the perfect tree when you shop at Sunnyside Gardens. Contact this established gardening retailer to learn more about what these tree varieties have to offer your home this holiday season and find the perfect color, shape, height, and fragrance that appeals to your holiday plans.

Sip & Shop at Sunnyside for the 2023 Holiday Season

Kickstart your holiday shopping & decorating with a Sunnyside sip & shop! November snuck up on us, just like it always does. We’re transitioning from pumpkins to winter greens and making a list and checking it twice for the holiday hosting & gifting season.

We want to reward you for getting a head start on your holiday shopping and decorating. Join us for one of our two Sunnyside Sip & Shops! On Tuesday, Nov 7 and Thursday, Nov 16 from 5-7PM, stop in to browse and shop and grab a complimentary glass of prosecco on us. It’s really that simple.

Feel free to share these events with your friends and invite them along. If you’re able, let us know you’re interested or attending on the Facebook event page so we can ensure we have plenty of Prosecco to go around.

Tuesday, November 7 | 5-7PM
RSVP Here!

Thursday, November 16 | 5-7PM
RSVP Here! 

Succulent Pumpkin Care

Succulent Pumpkin

The perfect autumn centerpiece is here! These Pumpkin Succulent Gardens will add beauty to all of your fall celebrations, but the best part may be that the succulents can last much longer. With proper care, you can replant these little beauties and enjoy them for months, if not longer.

First, you must mist the Pumpkin Succulent Garden daily with clean water. The succulent roots will begin growing into the moss, and eventually into the pumpkin itself as the shell softens.

Once the pumpkin starts to deteriorate, carefully cut off the top of the pumpkin containing the succulents. Plant the succulents, including the moss and pumpkin, into the right-sized pot with soil.

That’s it! Easy and fun. Enjoy your succulents this fall and beyond.

Tree top pot time!-CARE INSTRUCTIONS

The temperatures are just right for assembling your outdoor containers! The winter season is the longest here in MN, so keep in mind that these pots will sit the longest on your doorstep….without water or care! (That’s a bonus!)


South facing? Add a spritz of wilt stop or wilt pruf to your pots to keep them extra green.

Tree Tops and Living Evergreens-Tips to prevent WINTER BURN
Stop your greens from browning out. Spritz on your living arborvitae, boxwood or other evergreens in the landscape, or use on your cut seasonal stems of greenery.
Wilt Stop/ Wilt Pruf is an all natural product that will protect evergreens through the sunny winter days when they are busy photosynthesizing.
Additionally, keep watering the base of your landscape plants until the ground freezes solid. This helps to give your landscape plants enough moisture to make it through the winter. If you have cut greens and the temperatures are above 40 degrees, sprinkle some water over the tops of the greens to keep them from drying out. (For tree tops we use a watering can or a hose on spray mode.)

Best Use of Straw Bales

The best use of straw bales-

Straw is traditionally used to add a protective layer to perennial beds for winter. MN can have a mix of winter extremes from harsh cold to sunny thaws, and depending on the depth of snow, your perennial plants can experience extreme temp fluxes that will damage roots and could kill the plants. Ideally we have several feet of snow for an insulation layer that will keep perennials uniformly cold through freeze and thaw. History tells us that snowfall isn’t necessarily reliable, so we have turned to adding a layer of straw to our beds for some plant life insurance.

When should you apply straw to a garden bed? When night time temperatures are below 30 consistently add a layer of straw a couple inches thick.

When should re remove straw? When night time temps are no longer below the freezing point rake off straw and discard. This is a great time to mulch and add preen to discourage weeds in the coming season.

Other uses for straw are more obvious. Decorating for fall. Additional seating around the fire pit. Soaking up a muddy corner of the yard so Fido doesn’t track in. An archery target. Use intact, wet bales to grow potatoes when spring comes.


Ficus elastica ‘Shivereana’

Ficus elastica ‘Shivereana’

Nicknamed “Moonshine,” this Ficus variety can be a fun addition to your indoor plant collection. If you know Ficus, this one does not behave differently than its relatives the Ficus Burgundy or Tineke. These plants grow upright, putting on new leaves from the top, they prefer very bright light and ask that you water them well when dry (letting the plant get fully dry will result in leaf drop). The Ficus Shivereana can acclimate to full sun, but start slowly. In Minnesota, the best placement of the Ficus Shivereana indoors would be a south or west window, with an added emphasis on turning the plants a quarter turn every couple weeks in the darker winter months (otherwise you will start to see a mean lean as the plant reaches for the sun). Feed monthly in the active growing months, March-September.

The Ficus Shivereana is known for its unique coloration, speckled green on ivory leaves. The fantastic newer growth will have pink sunrise/sunset tones with a significant pink vein running down the middle.

Repot your Ficus when the plant needs a larger base for stability, when you are struggling to keep it watered or soil volume seems to be depleted. In general, most Ficus like to be a bit root bound, so let her grow!

This plant is toxic to pets, as are all Ficus.

Ficus elastica 'Shivereana'


Thank You & Rock the Sunnyside Gardens Recap

Why We Love Perennial Mums: Mammoth & Minnesota Mums

Not all mums are lucky enough to be true perennials, but both Mammoth mums and Minnesota mums are hardy enough to stand in that category! Here are a few reasons that we love perennial mums in particular:

  • A truly perennial mum is one that can withstand temperatures as cold as -30°F (just like us hearty and colorful Minnesotans!).
  • You’ll be amazed when you see hundreds of beautiful, brightly colored flowers that butterflies just love!
  • Plant them in full sun to partial shade and then enjoy their spectacular fall beauty.
  • They are so easy to take care of—no pinching, pruning or deadheading required!

Look for MN-hardy Minnesota & Mammoth mum varieties in the garden center now — they’re only around for a short time. These two varieties of mums are perfect for places where the weather gets a little colder than most other blooming plants would like. Their hardiness and bright, bold colors make them a must for any cold-weather garden design.

minnesota mammoth perennial mums in orange
minnesota mammoth perennial mums in orange

Mammoth Mums

Mammoth mums were designed by the University of Minnesota to handle the age-old curse that lingers over gardeners to this day: the average cold snap. When winter rolls around, even normal mums crumple under the weight of ice and cold, but not the mammoth mums. These bad boys are planted in spring, rather than in early fall, giving them several extra months to establish their roots. This not only gives them the security to survive the winter and become a true perennial but helps them accrue more energy to grow and bloom, making them bigger and better than your common, garden-variety mums. When planting, keep a few things in mind:

  • Plant in well-draining soil
  • They’ll grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, so space seeds or young plants accordingly (they’re called “mammoth” for a reason)
  • They overwinter well all the way up to zone 3
  • Don’t break off dead growth in the winter, leave that until the weather warms in spring
  • Plant between early March and mid-April for best results
  • Plants do well in full sun but keep away from around-the-clock artificial lights to promote better blooming
minnesota mammoth perennial mums in purple
minnesota mammoth perennial mums in purple

Minnesota Mums

Though they’re not quite as big as their mammoth counterparts, Minnesota mums are just as reliable when it comes to shaking off the cold of the namesake state’s harsh winters. They’ve been in the works since the 1920s, and that longstanding dedication to bringing longevity to this plant definitely shows. It’s a cushion habitat mum, meaning the plant itself is dome-shaped and covered by flowers on its outer surface. They come in a huge variety of colors, ranging from pale gold to vivid autumnal red, making them the perfect addition to any garden. When planting and caring for your plant:

  • Plant any time in May, after the last frost has passed
  • Don’t remove dead growth in winter – wait until spring
  • They overwinter well in zones four to eight but benefit hugely from leaf coverage during winter
  • Plant in full sun or part shade, away from round-the-clock artificial lighting whenever possible
  • Plant in well-drained soil
  • Height and spread expected to reach 12 – 18 inches

If you’ve been checking out mums for sale Minneapolis, rest assured that there are no better mums to spruce up your garden than these two frost-resistant options. For additional questions or for more information contact SunnySide-Gardens Online or over the phone at 612-712-3054.