Using Greenery Indoors: Evergreen Plants For Indoor Décor

Christmas Floral Decoration
Image by marilyna

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Deck the halls with boughs of holly! Using greenery indoors is a holiday tradition that extends back many hundreds of years. After all, what would the holidays be without a sprig of mistletoe, a graceful garland of holly and ivy or the scent of fresh pine? Of course, you can still use this indoor décor long after the holidays have gone too. Let’s learn more.

Evergreen Plants for Indoor Décor

Many types of greenery are suitable for indoor decorating, but the best choices are types that dry out slowly at warm indoor temperatures. Possibilities include:

Most of these retain their freshness for up to a month if they are kept cool.

Greenery Décor Ideas


Decorating with fresh greenery is a fairly simple process. Here are a few ideas on creating some greenery décor:

  • Swags and garlands are easy to make with wire and a pair of garden shears. Similarly, make garlands by tying greenery to lengths of sturdy cord. Wreaths take a little more effort, but a Styrofoam base or a piece of florist’s foam makes the task easier.
  • Embellish the greenery with pinecones, nuts, seed pods, dried flowers or sprigs of textural plants such as wisterialilac or willow branches. You can also add colorful accents such as ribbon, bells or small ornaments.
  • Table centerpieces are fun to make and all you really need is a foam base. Alternatively, just arrange the greenery in a bowl or vase.
  • With moist sphagnum moss and twine, you can wrap greenery around a foam ball to make an old-fashioned evergreen ball (sometimes known as a “kissing ball”).

How to Use Evergreen Plants Safely

Don’t harvest evergreen plants until you’re ready to use them for decorating. If you purchase greenery, keep it in a cool location outdoors until you bring it inside.

Keep greenery away from sunny windows, heating vents, candles and the fireplace. If you want to weave lights through the greenery, use only cool LED bulbs.

Check the greenery every day or two and discard sections that are dropping needles or turning brown. Misting the greenery lightly every day may help keep it fresh and green for a bit longer.

Keep in mind that some greenery commonly used for indoor décor may be toxic to children and pets. This list includes mistletoe and plants with poisonous berries such as crown of thorns, yew or holly.

Trimming Evergreen Plants for Indoor Use

Don’t be over-zealous if you want to harvest evergreen plants for indoor décor; you may negatively impact the plant’s health and natural shape.

Trim shrubs and trees selectively and never cut more than one-third of the plant, or even one-third of a single branch. Take your time and trim in a way that doesn’t detract from the overall shape and appearance of the plant.

If you are unsure about how to go about trimming evergreens, you can always purchase sprigs or boughs at garden centers or nurseries.

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