Best Christmas Houseplants And Plants For Winter Holidays

A potted zz plant decorated with string lights and ornaments sits next to boxes, clementines, and cinnamon sticks wrapped in twine
(Image credit: colnihko)

With the approach of winter, decorating for the holidays with live plants is one way to bring the look and refreshing feel of the great outdoors to your interiors. Whether you're adding a Christmas cactus houseplant or looking for that special gift for a plant-loving friend, you can't go wrong with one of these traditional, or not-so-traditional, holiday houseplants.

Traditional Holiday Plants

  • Amaryllis – What better way to celebrate the holidays and bring in the New Year than by forcing one of these huge flower bulbs to burst forth in bloom? Proper care after flowering will ensure Amaryllis bulbs are ready for forcing again next fall. Choose a white variety for Hanukkah or use red Amaryllis to accent Christmas decorations.
  • Christmas Cactus – Native to South America, this thornless succulent is readily available in the U.S. during the holiday season. Related to the Thanksgiving cactus but with a later bloom period, Christmas cactus will continue flowering into the new year. Plant the cuttings of stem segments to create cactus gifts for friends and family.
  • Dwarf Alberta Spruce – The natural cone-shape of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce makes these mini Christmas trees a popular plant for the holidays. Hardy to USDA zone 2, these trees can be planted outdoors in the spring. Just be sure to remove the decorations first!
  • Norfolk Island Pine – Like the Dwarf Alberta Spruce, these plants make cute mini Christmas trees to accent holiday décor. However, Norfolk Island Pines are a tropical species and must remain as houseplants in cold climates. With proper care, these potted plants can reach 5 to 8 feet (1.5-2 m.) tall.
  • Poinsettia – Perhaps the most iconic of Christmas indoor plants, Poinsettia makes a beautiful addition to the home. The colorful bracts, which surround this plant's true flowers, are not always the result of plant breeding. Vivid colored poinsettias often have painted or dyed bracts and will bloom white in subsequent years.

Inspiring Holiday Plant Gifts and Décor

If you're thinking of something less traditional, consider these bright and lively plants to accent your holiday décor or as trendy gifts for plant-loving friends:

  • Azalea – The beautiful blooming azalea bushes are often a forced evergreen species which bloom in vibrant shades of reds, pinks, purples, and white.
  • Calla Lily – Try adding pine boughs and cones around the trumpet-shaped bracts of white calla lily houseplants for an elegant holiday ensemble.
  • Coleus – These multicolored foliage plants provide the perfect holiday accent colors. Use black foliage coleus for Kwanzaa and red and green ones for Christmas.
  • Gloxinia – With a variety of colors and shapes available, the velvety flowers of Gloxinia plants create a focal point for home interiors.
  • Hyacinth – Although it's often considered a spring flower, a forced bowl of blue and white Hyacinth makes an excellent choice for colorful Hanukkah plants.
  • Jerusalem Cherry – Sometimes called the Christmas Cherry, the fruit of the Jerusalem Cherry turns brilliant shades of red, orange, or yellow around the holiday season.
  • Kalanchoe – Even though it can be tricky to get these cheery flowers to rebloom, a beautiful pot of multicolored Kalanchoe makes the perfect centerpiece for ringing in the New Year.
  • Lemon Cypress – Wrapped in ribbon and weighed down into a curve by a large ornament, Lemon Cypress are often marketed as Grinch Christmas trees during the holidays. Just be sure to release your tree from its bondage when the season ends.
  • Miniature Roses – These delicate beauties never go out of style. Match your holiday décor scheme to one of the many gorgeous Miniature Rose flower colors.
  • Orchids – Phalaenopsis orchids sold in stores can bloom for up to four months, making these delicate flowers a holiday plant that lasts the winter.
  • Ornamental Peppers – Choose 'Black Pearl' to incorporate Kwanzaa colors into your décor scheme or 'Prairie Fire' to stick to the traditional reds and greens of Christmas. Keep ornamental peppers away from young children as the non-toxic fruit can be very hot.
  • Rosemary – Trim this woody herb into a cone shape and enjoy the aromatic fragrance of a Rosemary houseplant Christmas tree.
Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.