Although some plants go dormant in winter, we don’t want our gardens to follow suit. We’ve selected a few of our favorite Christmas plants and flowers for the holiday season. Stock up on these plants to create a garden that will weather the cold and look good doing it.
7 of the best flowers and plants for Christmas
These winter plants and flowers are evergreen shrubs and December bloomers, some of which even thrive indoors during the cold season. From amaryllis to Christmas daffodils, they promise evergreen foliage, lush needy branches, and a touch of scarlet for pots and plantings indoors and out.
Browse your local garden center for the prettiest poinsettia pots and find some Christmas flowers and plants that make great gifts.
Snowdrops are delicate winter flowering plants
7 Christmas plants at a glance
Amaryllis is a popular flowering plant for festive Christmas decorations. It grows from a bulb and blooms about six weeks after planting. Some varieties, such as the ‘Ferrari’ amaryllis, are grown in greenhouses to encourage flowering in December – just in time for Christmas. If you plant amaryllis in October or November, you can be sure that they will produce bright red or white trumpet-shaped flowers at Christmas.
Care: For a lush Christmas bloom, you should either plant the amaryllis in the fall or buy bulbs already planted in pots. Once planted, the beautiful flower should receive enough bright, direct sunlight daily and, in well-drained soil, should be watered regularly.
Amaryllis with bright red flowers
This festive plant comes with a warning. Evergreen mistletoe is an essential part of any holiday scene, but is not usually grown intentionally. American mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) is native from Florida to the mid-Atlantic and west to Texas. Its calling card is that it grows parasitically on the branches of host trees. The host trees are not usually harmed, but once mistletoe has established itself in the bark of a deciduous tree it is almost impossible to remove.
Care: Cutting off the mistletoe for a flower arrangement or hanging it on a ribbon in the house entrance does not lead to permanent removal from the host tree. In order to permanently remove the mistletoe, the affected branch must be removed at least 30 cm below the starting point. However, since this process can disfigure the tree and reinfestation of nearby trees is likely, it would be best to leave the tree alone.
Chic and somewhat stubborn is this winter plant
The deciduous plant Viburnum bodnantense, or in other words snowball, grows up to three meters high and three meters wide. The best-known variety is Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, which bears delicate red fruits and flowers in winter. The flowers, which appear during the cold months, are fragrant pink flowers that fade from deep magenta to pale pink with age. The color change continues in fall as the green leaves of the viburnum turn a deep scarlet.
Care: Viburnum species tolerate most soils, including those that are too heavy or too calcareous for other plants. They appreciate some shade in hot southern summers and require minimal annual pruning. They are also reasonably resistant to the damage often caused by roaming deer, so they do well in southern gardens even in the fall and winter.
Snowball flowers are so beautiful
These deliciously crunchy fruits ripen from late autumn through winter. Once plucked from the tree, they develop a honey-like sweetness that pairs perfectly with winter dishes and desserts. Kaiser pears are excellent winter fruit trees that you will look forward to harvesting every year.
Care: Plant imperial pears in containers or gardens with full sun and plenty of water. They are relatively hardy, but certain cultivars are better suited to pot growing. It can take several years before they bear fruit.
Something delicious to consume during the fall and winter months
Blooming from late fall through winter, this festive cactus species makes a colorful addition to Christmas gardens. Schlumbergera x buckleyi (also known as S. bridgesii) has a striking combination of bright green, wavy stems and long red flowers. S. truncata is another Christmas-flowering cactus species with deep scarlet flowers. It’s known as the Thanksgiving cactus because it blooms a little earlier in the season.
Care: The Christmas cactus grows best with regular watering in partial shade or bright, indirect light. It also thrives in rich, well-drained soil. To encourage flowering in December, the plant should be kept in a cool place (10-12 degrees) at night and receive 12-14 hours of darkness daily in November.
This winter plant blooms just before Christmas
A regional favorite, cyclamen blooms in shades of white, pink, and red in winter. It has beautiful Christmas blossoms and gives the garden a subtle color. Some cultivars develop crimson flowers in winter and have stalks four to six inches long with deep green leaves. Some species flower within a year, while others take many years to mature. Almost all species go dormant in summer.
Care: Cyclamen make good container plants and should be planted in full, indirect sunlight or partial shade. They thrive in rich, well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline. Hardiness depends on the species. Before planting, mix coarse sand and organic matter into the soil to create an ideal environment.
Cyclamen give your home a colorful accent in the gray winter
The evergreen fir tree (aka the classic Christmas tree) comes in all heights and girths, so take stock of your living room and buy one that fits. During the season you can buy them potted or precut, or you can cut down your own tree at a nearby Christmas tree farm.
Care: To place the tree in the stand, you must first saw off a quarter inch from the base of the trunk (this will allow the tree to absorb the water better). Then place it in the stand, fill it with water to keep it watered throughout the season. Usually until the needles indicate the end of the holidays. If you have a potted tree, move it outside at the end of the holiday season and plant it in deep, well-drained soil. Planted out firs do not always thrive in the south, as they need afternoon shade and a moist, cool environment for their root system.
Christmas is impossible without a Christmas tree!
See below for winter berries and other Christmas plants