While many plants arrive over the festive periods as gifts it seems in recent years they have not been well enough looked after
Flowers and plants at Christmas are part of the whole festive ritual whether given as presents or bought to brighten up homes.
Recent horticultural research has shown however that Christmas plants suffer from being poorly looked after and cared for and now more advice is being offered on the easiest festive house plants to care for over the holidays.
Popular varieties and traditional festive foliage choices like poinsettia, holly, and rosemary, all the way to unusual blooms like the Christmas cactus, desert roses and African violets., all need proper care.
Festive families looking to take an organic approach to their Christmas decorations can also take inspiration and deck their halls with pretty plants.
With growing concerns about plastic use, they’re much more eco-friendly options and are reusable year after year with the right care.
There are some fantastically festive plants and flowers which are easy to care for during the chillier months and will add the spirit of Christmas to any room.
Many of these blooms also make for beautiful presents, so are worth bearing in mind when buying for green-fingered friends or family members.
Whilst these varieties are easy to care for, they can be pretty picky with heat and light. A windowsill might seem like a good idea, but the temperature really fluctuates in front of the glass in the winter, especially if there’s a radiator underneath,
Avoid draughts and hot spots near radiators or fires too. Instead, display them somewhere that’s bright yet maintains a steady temperature.
Red Lion (Amaryllis)
The massive, six-pointed amaryllis bloom makes an impressive festive decoration and a support stake will be handy for keeping big blooms upright. Plant the bulbs no later than the beginning of November and keep the soil moist, but not drenched. When flowering, the bright red blooms will enjoy a semi-cool, humid spot in the home with bright, indirect light and plenty of moisture. In spring, return the plant to a sunny area and water well.
Although amaryllis are typically only sold around the holidays, they can be grown successfully year-round and bloom again if they receive proper care
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Poinsettias are a pretty, bright plant that is widely grown indoors over Christmas for their beautiful, red bracts. They should only be watered once the compost has begun to dry out. Overwatering poinsettias can really damage the plant, instead, regularly misting the plant with a spray bottle is beneficial, especially when flowering. Indigenous to Mexico and Central America, the poinsettia was first described by Europeans in 1834.
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)
The Christmas cactus is nothing to do with either the Christmas tradition or the story of Christ’s birth, but they are easy to maintain during cooler months. They look amazing too, flowering from late November all the way to late January. They will live happily in humid environments like kitchens and bathrooms, as they grow in tropical rainforests in the wild. During the summer months, when the risk of frost has gone, they can be placed outside. This will help to ripen new growth and encourages flowering. Keep them in a shady spot and protect them from slugs.
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary is the most authentic Christmas plant about, as it’s thought to be one of the plants in the manger where Jesus was cradled.
The plant is an attractive evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves, and it is super easy to care for. Provide the herb with well-drained, sandy soil and a solid amount of sunlight. These plants thrive in warm, humid environments and should be moved into a cosy spot in the home over the winter months.
Rosemary has become a universal symbol of remembrance. Today some still use sprigs of rosemary at funerals and sometimes brides wear rosemary at their weddings as a symbol of love, happiness and loyalty.
Desert Rose (Adenium)
These strong plants are native to regions with warm climates, so should be kept out of the cold at all costs. When kept as a house plant, they are the perfect specimens for nervous or novice gardeners. A fat trunk is an indicator of health on this plant, whereas a skinny stem is the plant screaming that it needs watering.
This Christmas classic is a symbol of eternal life and fertility. Back in the day, people believed that hanging the plant in homes would bring good luck and protection. When grown in the home, holly will thrive in moist soil positioned in slight suntraps. However, they aren’t just limited to December along with the decorations, they make a lovely year-round houseplant.
African violets (Saintpaulia)
Whilst these aren’t the easiest plant to look after, they are blooming gorgeous. They take up a small amount of space in the home and can make a delightful display when a few are bunched together. African violet plants should be watered when the soil doesn’t feel moist with lukewarm or tepid water which has been left to stand for 48 hours. These fussy flowers will be well worth the beautiful blooms that come during colder climates.