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Sunday, December 25, 2022

Grump Tree

Nate's Notes: This review was originally posted Christmas Day 2020. I mentioned that the tree could be planted outside but never followed up to let people know the fate of our Grump Tree. See below for additional info.

We usually don't post on Christmas Day here. I guess the assumption has been that people are doing, you know, Christmas stuff. And I still assume that this year. But just in case you're lonely, locked down, or down and out, here's a special post just for you.

The Grump Tree. Heard about 'em for the past couple years. Saw them at Trader Joe's last year. To my surprise, the wife showed up at home with one this season. This would have been perfect for RV living. I mean, we had a little Charlie Brown tree for when we traveled full time. But this would have been just as good. 

The other day Sonia offhandedly remarked that she'd have to water the Grump Tree. I was like, "Wait, why would you water that little decorative tree? Unless..." 

Probably most of you are well aware of this already...but this is a real tree. Mind = blown. You can plant it in your yard in the spring time and it will grow "up to 30 feet tall." It's a Lemon Cypress from California's Monterey Peninsula. Sonia and I stopped there on our honeymoon on our way up to Napa Valley, so it's even more special to us. 

Apparently, it can thrive in temperatures ranging from 0°F to 105°F. It comes with a Grinch-inspired red and green sack, a red ribbon, and a red Christmas ball decoration that you can use on your big Christmas tree once you've planted your Grump Tree outside. It retails for either $7.99 or $8.99, probably depending upon your proximity to its origin in California. It just screams, "This is a great Christmas gift!"

The font they chose for the info card, the color scheme, and the skinny, frumpy appearance of the tree all seem so perfectly Dr. Seuss-ish. When Sonia and I hit the road again and live as nomads, we'll probably pick up another one of these for our RV or camper van. I doubt it will be as soon as this time next year, but someday it'll be time again to wander and explore, and a Grump Tree will be perfect for our home on wheels. 

Hopefully this one we already have will thrive in our yard and won't fall victim to our "black thumbs." Can't really think of a reason not to purchase this product, unless you lack the space to plant it after the holidays are over. You could always just transfer it to a bigger pot or give it to someone who does have the space. 

Anyway, even if you're Mr. Potter, Ebenezer Scrooge, Hans Gruber, the Krampus, the Grinch, or a Grump, we wish you a very merry Christmas!

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Hey, at least we got to keep the ornament.
Hey, at least we got to keep the ornament.

The Exciting Conclusion: Through the first few months of 2021, we kept the Grump Tree in our living room. After the Christmas season, we removed the ornament and ribbons from the tree to let it breathe and stretch as it pleased.

Neither Sonia nor I was keeping track of whether the other was watering the tree or not. Turns out we were both watering it. Though the soil was just damp on the surface, not saturated or muddy, I think we still over-watered it.

Throughout those winter months, about once a week or so, tiny black worms or millipedes would crawl out of the Grump Tree pot and wind up on our hardwood floors. Yuck! Apparently this is common with many houseplants..?

As March rolled around, the tree wasn't looking particularly vibrant. It was getting brown and drooping over even more than when it had the ornament attached to it. We tried talking to it and putting it in areas with more sun, but to no avail. I told Sonia hopefully, "As soon as April rolls around, it'll be warm enough to plant it outside. I'm sure it will recover once it's out in nature."

Well, April rolled around and I planted Mr. Grump Tree with soil right up to its base in an area with nearly full sun. I made sure it was secure and steady in well-drained earth and we crossed our fingers.

Our male dog, Alfred, decided that the struggling little tree was his new favorite place to do his business, so I'm not sure if that played a role in its demise or not. The tree steadily declined and eventually keeled over and gave up its last breath by the end of April 2021. I won't change our score or anything like that since any problems with the poor plant were most likely due to our aforementioned "black thumbs." Hey, at least we got to keep the ornament.

The moral of the story is: don't over-water your Grump Tree.

And on that cheerful note, I bid you all yet another very merry Christmas! Thanks for reading.


  1. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for bringing humor into our lives each morning when I read your post. I check your site daily hoping that there is a new post. I wish you and your family, and your readers, health and happiness in the new year!

    1. Same to you, HM. Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!

  2. Replies
    1. It's a lemon cypress tree and it doesn't even grow lemons!


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