The berry-reds and tree-greens of Christmas have begun to emerge and with the magical day just around the corner, we’ve started to see our households wonderfully transformed with glistening lights and fire-side glows. As decorations begin to fill our homes and cover our Christmas trees, I want to tell you about some ways in which we can bring garden colour inside this Christmas, with five festive plants to brighten up your home.
Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia)
A festive favourite to take centre stage this time of year is the rich, red Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia).
This deep colour sings with Christmas cheer and, with Christmas being a time for entertaining, these plants also make great hostess gifts instead of bringing the traditional bottle of wine.
Have a few in stock to give to loved ones and it makes for a nice break from oodles of sweet treats we have this time of year.
A poinsettia is a tender plant and prefers temperatures between 16C and 22C, so you will need to identify the perfect spot for it with no draughts. Be careful not to over water them, in order to keep this bloom bright and beautiful right through to the new year. For more tips on how best to keep your poinsettia prosperous all Christmas long, take a look at my blog.
Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus)
The Christmas cactus is a fabulous addition to your home during the season. Naturally flowering in December, they are almost indestructible and boast broad, bold blooms.
This plant comes from Brazil and prefers a semi-shaded spot. It’s ideal for humid environments like kitchens and bathrooms because in the wild they grow in the trees of tropical rain forests or jungles, so as well as ensuring humidity, they need to be somewhere warm—at least during flowering from September to January.
I suggest keeping the pot in a gravel-filled tray and adding water until it touches pot’s base. Then, keep it topped up for a striking display. There’s no doubt that the cactus, with its longevity, plentiful personality and low-maintenance requirements, makes for a very appealing purchase as a gift or for your home.
Cyclamen (sow bread)
Cyclamen are stunning upright plants in a huge range of colours, with swept-back flowers sitting above layered leaves.
Displaying a variety of large or small flowers, some cultivars have silvery or patterned foliage and a sweet scent.
Grow them in a bright spot away from hot sunlight and radiators. Allow the compost to dry a little before watering again, as over watering can be more damaging to them.
These winter beauties will deliver marbled foliage texture coupled with soft delicate petalled flowers—adding some personality and panache to your potted parade this year.
Rhododendron simsii (azalea)
Azaleas are one of my all-time favourites, they’re such cheerful plants. Usually a sign that spring is coming, these classic colourful-numbers can be brought inside and enjoyed in the cold season. In fact, they’ll make a delicate and distinctive Christmas contribution.
You can purchase varieties such as the aptly-named ‘Christmas Cheer’ which winter flower in arrays of pretty pink, rosy red and soft white—making them great gifts. Christmas azaleas will need a cool spot away from direct sunlight. It’s important to keep the compost moist, as the plant will wilt if left to dry out.
I recommend keeping the pot on a gravelled tray half-filled with water, to maintain a humid atmosphere. I also like to give them a drink of cold tea (without milk, obviously) as the tannins and slight acidity help support the plant’s growth.
Phalaenopsis (moth orchids)
One of the most popular ornamental houseplants, orchids look really decorative at this time of year.
In their natural habitat they’re either epiphytic by growing on trees or lithophytic as they grow on rocks, using them as a support and feeding from plant debris accumulated around the bases.
Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) are great all-rounders, producing long-lasting flowers and growing well in heated homes.
Alternatively, the Christmas-flowering orchid variety Cymbidium will find you some festive cheer. With cultivars needing slightly cooler temperatures than other winter houseplants, find it a sunny spot and water once every few weeks for highly-ornamental flower decoration. Read more orchid growing tips in my orchid care blog.