Lots of us use festive plants in and around our homes to bring some seasonal decorative flair, but it’s important to get the best looking ones and the ones that are going to last. You don’t want a dead Christmas tree standing in your beautifully landscaped garden!
The Christmas Tree
Starting with the most obvious and popular of Christmas plants, the Christmas Tree is all around us throughout December (and sometimes even earlier!), be it in your living room or out in the garden with some fairy lights on it, but picking the right one can be tricky. There are many different types of real Christmas Tree and timing is everything. The second week of December is generally considered the best time to get yours and there are a few things you need to look for before you make your choice. It should have a vibrant green colour which will signify how long ago it was cut. After determining that, you should shake your tree to test how easily the needles fall off. If you end up with needle covered shoes, put down the tree and move on to the next one. Also check that the base of the tree is straight. No one wants a wonky Christmas Tree!
Ah Mistletoe, the Christmas plant that has prompted many a kiss between lovers, but did you know it’s actually poisonous to humans and pets? So be careful if you’re handling it, bringing it into the house or growing it in your garden. If you choose to grow it yourself, be prepared for your host plant to suffer. As Mistletoe is a parasite it will end up weakening the host tree it attaches to, and your tree may not recover. If you’re buying it, look for plants with fresh green foliage and ripe white berries that are not withered. It will usually last about 2 or 3 weeks after it’s been gathered, so buy it as fresh as possible and keep it outside in your garden, or in a cool part of the house. Pick up falling berries or leaves, so that pets or children do not come into contact with them.
These beautiful brightly coloured plants are usually an indoor plant this time of year, but you can grow them in the garden as a perennial plant. If you live somewhere with mild winters, you can grow Poinsettia in your garden and it will get larger every year, producing bright red leaves (bracts) that will brighten up your landscape. As an indoor plant they do begin to fade after a while, but don’t throw them away. All they need is a little bit of care and they will brighten up again as Christmas comes around. Just make sure they are kept somewhere with a relatively constant temperature, but not too cold. Water them sparingly and hard prune the plants once they’ve started to fade in colour. All of these things should help achieve a good display for a second year.
These pretty early flowering narcissus can be forced in a glass container or pot. Plant about 8 weeks before Christmas, add some sparkly twigs for support, and you’ll have a fragrant and delicate centrepiece for the Christmas table.
Whatever you choose, the addition of festive foliage will add another dimension to your home over the Christmas period! Merry Christmas!