With Christmas just around the corner, we know you are already thinking about how you would like your house to look during the holidays. And when you have so many options to choose from, it can become quite difficult to decide which plants will be your partners in décor this year. But we will make things a bit easier for you!
Ornamental plants are the most marvellous decorations that will fill your home with life and colour. The best thing about container plants is that they will stay by your side throughout the year even after all the holiday spirit has passed. Plus, they require little to no effort on your part to do so and will be with you for more than one Christmas.
Here are our top container Christmassy ornamentals that you can choose from:
Holly (Ilex Opaca)
In ancient times, Holly plants were considered a symbol of good luck thanks to their resilient nature. People used to send Holly wreaths to family members and friends to wish them good. The unkillable feature of these bushes still makes them one of the most popular picks among plant lovers, especially during Christmas time.
Holly shrubs will remain green all year round and will have a wonderful time in some of your favourite pots. In winter, when Christmas is just around the corner, they will complete their mesmerizing appearance with a profusion of bright red berries. If you would like a variety of yellow fruits, we suggest you opt for the ‘Canary’ cultivar.
The beauty of Holly bushes does not require lots of attention and care to maintain. All these plants will ask from you include a particular type of growing medium, constant moisture, and the warmth of your home. Plant your Holly shrubs in acidic, well-draining soil and water them whenever the substrate feels dry to the touch. When it comes to lighting, anything between full sun and partial shade is more than fine.
English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
If you are looking for a plant that can complement any other ornamental companion you already have in your Christmas collection, English ivy is the perfect option! With its elegant woody stems filled with festive star-like leaves, this plant has all it takes to fit in the holiday decor of your preferences. It is also a symbol of new growth and good luck, with some saying that it can ward off evil spirits.
English ivy keeps green throughout the year and will adore growing in the roomiest pot you can find. This is a showy and vigorous plant that tends to occupy the space of its nearby plants in the blink of an eye. If you want to keep your English ivy in its place, we recommend you provide it with a structure for vertical growth.
Since English ivy spreads like crazy, a good part of its caring routine will consist of you pruning it back to where you like it. Besides this, the plant will grow fantastically with anything from partial to full shade, well-draining and constant slightly dry soil. And, who knows? With enough luck, your English ivy might even surprise you with some insignificant greenish-white to greenish-yellow blossoms!
Hellebore (Helleborus Niger)
You might ask yourself what a Hellebore and Christmas holidays can have in common. Interestingly enough, another common name for Helleborus niger is the Christmas rose, as it typically blooms during the winter months. Thus, we want to give you the chance to have these spectacular flowers in your home for the holidays. Especially when they are so low-demanding!
This Hellebore species is an exquisite ornamental to have around, with its peculiar dark purple blossoms lasting for a long time. They are great flowering plants for indoor container growing and will give your Christmas design a dash of mystery.
Helleborus niger likes partial to full shade throughout the summer months, but more sunlight when the winter comes. It will perform well indoors in a container filled with well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Even if this plant prefers some moisture, you should not allow it to have its feet wet for a prolonged period.
Mistletoe (Viscum Album)
We all know by now about the most popular tradition for lovers during the holidays – kissing under the Mistletoe. If not, however, there is always a start to it! Mistletoe is a must-have for any Christmas decoration, no matter where you live around the globe.
The foliage of this plant is evergreen, so it will keep you company for the entire year if you plant it in a container. It is a parasitic species, attaching to any plant host it can find through its root-like structure known as haustorium. It would be good for the plant if you manage to find a host for this plant, as it survives mostly with what it can get from it. The most interesting part of Mistletoe is that the female specimens will come along with numerous white berries.
Mistletoe has the greatest time out there in sunny or semi-shaded locations, but it will also cope with shady mediums. Water-wise, pay attention to its host’s needs since Mistletoe gains water from it. If you do not want your Mistletoe to grow like crazy, you will have to prune it regularly to maintain the size of your dreams.
Our list would not be complete without the beloved Poinsettia – one of the most popular Christmas plants that you will find in any flower shop around the holidays. This plant is widely used for Christmas decorations around the world and it will make a perfect centrepiece for your Christmas table.
Poinsettias are usually dark green but they change colour in response to shorter winter days and become bright red. The flowers of Poinsettia plants are actually made up of bracts that resemble petals and all yellow blooms. Although the most popular type of Poinsettia is red and green, these plants come in many different colours and will fit into any decorative scheme. Poinsettias can also be creamy white and pink and even bright orange.
Once you choose the perfect Poinsettia, it will be useful to know how to care for it and how to maintain its beautiful foliage for as long as possible. But it is important to know that oftentimes, this plant will not survive for a very long time and even the most experienced gardener might be unable to save it. This happens because more store-bought Poinsettias are in shock after being repotted too quickly, undergoing temperature changes, and being exposed to cold temperatures. Most Poinsettias are sold within just a few hours after being potted, so these effects are not visible when you purchase the plant. Most Poinsettias are sold within 24 hours of being potted and you will only see the effects a few days after you bring the plant home. It is best to avoid buying Poinsettias that were kept outdoors, in cold temperatures, or that have wilting leaves.
You can’t always save a ‘shocked’ Poinsettia, but you can surely try. The best environmental conditions for this plant consist of plenty of bright, indirect light, watering when the soil becomes dry, regular misting, and temperatures between 13-15°C.
Cyclamen (Cyclamen Persicum)
Prized for their ravishing blooms that make an appearance over the Christmas holidays, Cyclamen has gained popularity among plant growers around the world. The winter cannot get more festive than with this ornamental, making for beautiful centrepieces on the Christmas table.
Cyclamen is a pretty small plant, becoming so cute and lovable that is almost impossible to resist it. It blooms year after year with an abundance of flowers, containing delicate butterfly-shaped petals in shades of white, red, or pink. And, besides blooms, what gives Cyclamen the spotlight is its superb evergreen but silver-frosted foliage.
To bloom, Cyclamen needs overall cool temperatures and goes dormant during the warmth of summer. When you meet this particular cold-weather demand, your plant will bloom for six months or even longer. In winter, make sure you spoil your Cyclamen with plenty of bright and indirect light. Likewise, well-draining soil and constant moisture are keys to healthy and happy Cyclamen plants.
The best thing about Yew plants is that they can make for an excellent alternative Christmas tree with no extra effort on your part. These buddies are a wonder to look at, showing up with lots of evergreen needles, attractive cones, and eye-catching contrasting red berries. With all this colour around, you can leave any ornamental globe for another Christmas.
There are many varieties of trees and shrubs in the Taxus genus that are super friendly and very easy to care for. Yew plants can do just fine in a wide range of growing and environmental conditions. They are suitable for containers as long as you manage to meet their few particular demands. Which, between us, is a piece of cake!
To keep their foliage healthy and lush, find a spot for your Yew plants where they can get several hours of sunshine daily. In terms of soil, they can tolerate many types but only when the substrate features sharp drainage. While Yew plants have moderate watering preferences, they can also withstand overwatering or short periods of drought.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
We, cacti owners, know that winter is the most boring season, as we cannot do much for our beloved cacti when the weather is not on their side. Luckily, there is a cactus out there for us, waiting to find a place in our collection during the holidays – the Christmas cactus. This might be a surprise plant for Christmas since it does not have the common needles and berries we are used to. But it surely is more than that!
There is nothing that can compare with the evergreen pseudo-leaves and lovely flowers of the Christmas cactus. This plant will bring any dull corner back to life in little to no time thanks to its cascading overall appearance. Its blossoms can appear in various shades of pink to red.
Unlike most other succulent species, the Christmas cactus will demand a generous amount of water to keep its health at optimum levels. It does best in partial shade or diffused light, but it can adapt to other lighting conditions. Soil-wise, it does not matter in which substrate you plant it as long as it is more on the acidic side.
Yuletide Camellia (Camellia Sasanqua ‘Yuletide’)
Without a doubt, Camellia is already a well-known flowering plant worldwide due to its gorgeous looks and easy-going nature. This ornamental captivates our senses with dark green foliage and, in some climates, it can also bear flowers during the winter. We have chosen the ‘Yuletide’ Camellia cultivar, particularly for its bright red blossoms. The dark green leaves mixed with vibrant red blooms look very festive for Christmas.
‘Yuletide’ Camellia is an evergreen ornamental that knows exactly what it needs and how to get it. If you want it to produce its adorable flowers, your plant will demand supplemental fertilizing before the winter. You can feed it with a slow-release fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen three times a year: early spring, late spring, and lastly in mid-summer.
This shrubby friend will have the time of its life if you provide it with partial shade or some dappled sunlight daily. It would be wise to plant your ‘Yuletide’ Camellia in loamy, well-drained soil, and keep it consistently moist with about one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week.
Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus Papyraceus)
You might be surprised by this plant suggestion but if you think about it, white flowers will complement any Christmas decor. You can grow these flowers in containers or keep them in a flower vase. A few pure Paperwhites will balance all that hypnotic green and red mix. These plants are some of the most popular flowering plants to grow indoors over the winter. And you cannot miss the opportunity to be super trendy among your friends or family this year!
As with all the plants from the Narcissus genus, Paperwhites enchant us with many clusters of blossoms that emerge atop alluring green stems. The flowers are relatively small, snowy white, and feature a delightful fragrance while in bloom. Their sweet perfume will combine nicely with the characteristic freshness of the holidays – piney and citrusy. If you want to have in-bloom Paperwhites around Christmas, you must start them in November, as they take about six weeks to produce flowers.
While Paperwhite bulbs do well in pots filled with soil, it is better to grow yours in containers of water with some marbles or stones to secure them in place. The blooms will last longer if you place the container in a cool spot where the plants can get indirect to diffused light.
Frosty Fern (Selaginella Kraussiana)
The Frosty fern is one of those ornamental plants that hit the garden shops just in time for the Christmas holidays. Although it contains the word ”fern” in its name, this fellow is not a fern at all. It is an evergreen plant that produces numerous small leaves, forming an overall fern-like view.
The most amazing feature of the Frosty fern is, obviously, its foliage. This plant exhibits green leaves with dazzling tints of white at their tips, making it look like it has been frosted with snow. A very curious appearance for a tropical species, but it is a fabulous addition during the winter months.
Being a tropical plant, the Frosty fern thrives with high humidity levels. The easiest way to achieve its demanded humidity is by growing yours on pebble trays or in a terrarium, as these mediums will help you keep the humidity around the plant above 70%. You can also mist it regularly if the air in the room is too dry. Beyond this, the Frosty fern prefers medium to low light and warm temperatures.
Other Examples of Festive Plants
- Silver Bush
- Cotton Lavender
- Curry Plant
- Lamb’s Ears
- Dusty Miller
- Polka Dot Plant
- Rex Begonia
- Jerusalem Cherry
- Euphorbia Milii
- Coral Bead
- Blue Fescue
- Lipstick Plant
Choosing the perfect Christmas plants can be a challenge, especially since there are so many options available in supermarkets and flower shops. Whether you opt for Poinsettias, Ferns, Christmas cacti, or Mistletoe, your home will surely look amazing and the plants of your choosing will match any Christmas decor perfectly. Bringing in seasonal plants is a great way to spruce up your home and make it feel cosier and more alive while also giving it a festive look. Potted plants are always a better option than cut flowers and plastic ornaments, and the best thing about them is that you will be able to enjoy them throughout the seasons, not just during the holidays.
What are your favourite Christmas plants? Share your thoughts in the comments!