Image by Robert Simmons
By Heather Rhoades
The Christmas holiday is a time for beauty and good cheer and nothing helps bring beauty and good cheer like beautiful flowers for Christmas. There are a few standard Christmas plants and flowers that you may like for your home this holiday.
Care of Christmas Plants
Surprisingly, many holiday plants are tropical plants. This means that the care of these Christmas plants is more like caring for a houseplant than a plant meant for the cold and snow. All of the Christmas plant types listed below should be treated as tender plants and should not be left where cold drafts could blow on them.
Christmas Plants and Flowers
Poinsettia – Perhaps the most recognizable flower for Christmas is the poinsettia. Originally sold with bright red and green leaves (the “flowers” are actually leaves on the plant), poinsettias today are sold in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They naturally grow in a range of colors from white to pink to red with solid or speckled leaves, but sellers now dye or paint them many other colors and may even add sparkles.
Amaryllis – Amaryllis is another popular holiday plant. Tall and graceful, this holiday flower bulb can make a statement as a centerpiece on the table and its trumpet like huge flowers look like they are harking the Christmas holidays. Typically, the red varieties of amaryllis are sold for the holidays, but they come in colors ranging from red to white to pink to orange and petals that are solid, striped or speckled in all of these colors.
Christmas Cactus – The Christmas cactus is so named because it is thought to naturally bloom at Christmas time. If you own this holiday plant for many years, you will actually find it prefers to bloom closer to Thanksgiving. Regardless, these lovely cacti have lush flowers that hang down like lovely Christmas ornaments from the ends of the leaves of the plant.
Rosemary – While the rosemary plant is a lesser known holiday plant, it is making a comeback in stores as being sold as a holiday plant. A few centuries ago, rosemary was part of the Nativity story in that Baby Jesus’ clothes were dried on a rosemary bush. Christians then believed that smelling rosemary at Christmas brought good luck. Today, rosemary is sold as a Christmas plant pruned in the form of a Christmas tree.
Holly – Holly is not typically sold as a live plant at Christmas, but the bright red berries of female holly bushes against its dark green pointed leaves are a popular decoration at Christmas. Surprisingly, while holly is a traditional Christmas plant, its origins date back to Druids, who thought the plant represented everlasting life. Christians adopted the plant as a symbol of Jesus’ promise of everlasting life.
Mistletoe – Another holiday plant that is used as décor more than a live plant, this common Christmas decoration also dates back to the druids. But, unlike holly, the Christian church did not adopt it as a tradition, but rather frowned on it. Despite being forbidden as a decoration at one point in time in the Christian church, this holiday plant is still commonly seen. Originally a symbol of fertility, now it is simply a sneaky way for boys to get kisses from girls.
Christmas Tree – No list of Christmas plants would be complete without mentioning the centerpiece of any Christmas celebrating house. The Christmas tree can be either cut or live and common Christmas tree varieties are:
- Douglas fir
- Balsam fir
- Fraser fir
- Scotch pine
- White pine
- White spruce
- Norway spruce
- Blue spruce