Winter may have driven you back indoors, but you need not let the cold keep you from enjoying a full array of blossoms and greenery. With Christmas right around the corner, let’s take a closer look at some of our most popular holiday plants.
Besides the Christmas tree, there may be no plant more popular for the holidays than the poinsettia. Nor is the link to Christmas any less time-honored, with some traditions tracing the association back to 16th century Mexico. The most popular variety features clusters of bold red bracts, but can also be found in a variety of other colors, including purple, cream, green and marbled. Read up on the history of the poinsettia here.
For a more delicate touch, flower-lovers may also force paperwhites to bloom indoors in time for the holidays. In most cases, these bulb-grown perennials, belonging to the Narcissus family, have a fragrance so delicate as to be imperceptible to humans—though bees will likely take note if you plant them outdoors during the spring. Learn to force bulbs in winter here.
Image: Cheryl Casey/Shutterstock
Like a timely gift, the bright, trumpet-shaped blooms of amaryllis often arrive just in time for the holidays. Moreover, with a little sun and water, they’re easy to grow in small containers, making them ideal for apartments and windowsills. Learn more about amaryllis here.
Image: Lynn Whitt/Shutterstock
Another Christmas tradition from South America and the Southwest, Christmas cacti are gaining popularity across the U.S. While many varieties of cactus have stood in for it, the classic Christmas cactus is any of several species of Schlumbergera, known for their daisy-chained pads and bright flowers, often in pink but also blooming yellow, orange, red or purple. Read more about Christmas cactus traditions in our Growing Up series.
While you may be tempted to think of rosemary principally as the sort of thing you’d put on roasted potatoes, this aromatic perennial also happens to be evergreen, making it an obvious candidate as a holiday plant. Potted rosemary shrubs can be shaped to miniature Christmas trees, complete with delicate blooms as ornamentation.