How to Grow Holiday Flowers & Plants

What does the holiday season look like to you? For some, it’s lights and glitter and tinsel. Or maybe it’s candles and fireworks! Around here, it looks like Poinsettias and Cyclamen and fluffy little ferns and trees. Holiday flowers & plants are joyful little natural expressions of the season, and they force us to pause for a moment. Here’s how to bring them into your home, for a more mindfully minimalist way to deck your halls.

Poinsettias
Poinsettias say “we’re festive in here!” in a natural way.

They’re the persistent herald of the season. Poinsettias have been popular symbols of Christmas in North America for almost 2 centuries! With that kind of staying power, there must be something to this plant, right? Poinsettias are bright, tropical plants (Euphorbia) with colours that come from bracts rather than flowers. What does that mean? It means that unlike a flower, which generally blooms for just a couple of weeks indoors, bracts will maintain their brightness for months on end with some basic care.

To learn all about how to care for Poinsettias at home, read our post here.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus bloom in a range of colours, and are a popular plant for the season.

These easy care, free-blooming plants are in demand these days. It’s understandable! Christmas Cactus (or Zygo cactus) are simple and beautiful, and remarkably easy to grow. When in bloom, Christmas Cactus prefer a spot in bright, indirect light, with regular watering and a free-draining soil. When they’re no longer in bloom (usually more than a month later) these plants adapt easily to varying light conditions in a home. Zygo are great candidates for bringing outside onto the patio for the summer months, and will often put on significant growth over a season outdoors. When light conditions begin to change in the Fall and the plants come back indoors, they generally re-bloom easily. Christmas Cactus benefit from regular feedings with plant food, and prefer a light, warm space.

Cyclamen
Cyclamen in pretty ceramic pots are excellent simple gifts.

These charming plants offer bold clusters of blooms, held high like a crown above tidy little mounds of pretty, unique foliage. Cyclamen blooms for several weeks to months, given morning sun and a not-too-hot location. Place Cyclamen on kitchen counters and powder room windows, side tables, dressers, and shelves where they can be noticed and enjoyed up close. Try watering Cyclamen from the bottom – place the grower pot into a dish or bowl of water, allowing a few minutes to saturate the soil without wetting the leaves, and then allow it to drain and dry completely before watering again. Feed Cyclamen every 3-4 weeks while in bloom by adding a liquid plant food to water.

Amaryllis
Amaryllis add effortless drama to a room, and they’re fun to grow indoors with bulb kits.

Chunky, odd-looking bulbs somehow miraculously transform into giant, jaw-dropping flowers in time for holiday celebrations. Amaryllis are surprisingly easy to grow, and make an ideal gift for plant-loving friends, family, and acquaintances. You’ll commonly find Amaryllis bulbs in boxed grow kits in October and November, or as pre-sprouted potted plants in November and December. In recent years, you can also grow them as waterless & soilless waxed bulbs for a unique, modern display. To grow a traditional Amaryllis from a bulb, plant pointy-side up in a pot with drainage holes, and place it in a warm, bright location. (Pro tip: these blooms are big, so a heavy pot is helpful to keep it sturdy!) Grown as a forced bulb, an Amaryllis will usually bloom in 4-8 weeks from the time it’s planted. November is the perfect time to plant for Christmas blooms in late December.

Anthurium
Anthurium offer long-lasting colour in a unique form.

Another easy-growing, long-lasting, flower-that-isn’t-a-flower plant! Anthurium are the ideal indoor plant for beginners. With waxy, heart-shaped spathes in red, pink, or white, Anthurium mix well with any plant collection, and make a great low-key holiday plant. Place them in bright, indirect light and protect them from cold and drafts. Water infrequently, allowing the soil to mostly dry between waterings.

Tiny Trees & Fluffy Ferns
Miniature evergreens or trimmed herbs like lavender and rosemary add fragrance to your space.

It’s not Christmas without the tree… and tiny, potted versions of trees that are made to grow indoors are very cute as living decor! Try bright Lemon Cypress or traditional Cypress on a table, mix Frosty Ferns into mixed indoor planter displays, or revel in the incredible fragrance of a Rosemary Tree or Lavender Tree. Most indoor trees and ferns prefer the same care conditions – give them bright, indirect light, and keep them moderately moist. Water when the soil surface dries, ensuring the plant never dries out completely, but avoiding having the roots sit in water.

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