Poinsettia

As the season of giving, family gatherings and holiday events approach, I hark back to a simpler time. As a child, I remember the cornfields of central Illinois giving up their bounty and then, lying silently as the cold wind sweeps over the frozen tundra. The trees and shrubs have all settled in for the long winter’s nap.  Mother Nature has embraced and accepted fall and winter.  The holiday tune ‘Over the river and through the woods,’ creeps into my mind.  The nostalgic season with all its sights and smells has begun.

This memory comes with visual aids. Blooming plants have always been a staple of the holiday décor. Even our holiday songs include references to all types of flora. Colorful choruses include, frankincense, myrrh, ivy, boughs of holly, mistletoe and, of course, O’tannenbaum.  Not to mention a partridge in a pear tree!

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

The most popular of all the seasonal plants is the poinsettia. Who doesn’t love to receive and unsleeve this amazing euphoria, and enjoy it all the way into the New Year.  Red is hands down the most desired color, but over the years new varieties of orange, yellow, purple, ruby frost, red glitter and even dyed plants have gained popularity.  Their form has changed from mini pixie plants to topiary types.  You can enjoy them in a traditional basket with bow or as a cut flower, a hanging basket or in a Euro Garden.  Their use as a decorative plant is only challenged by your imagination. (More info on my favorite holiday bloomer and its history is available on my past blog, The Poinsettia… The Most Beautiful Misunderstood Holiday Plant.

To care for your poinsettia, avoid cold drafts or hot and sunny locations. They love humidity and hate sitting in water.

Here are a few more wonderful plants to enjoy for the holidays:

Azaleas: Place in cool locations, keep moist and never allow to dry out.  They enjoy humidity but not hot sun. Azaleas come in shades of red, white, pink and purples.

Red, pink and white cyclamen

Cyclamen

Amaryllis: This bulb plant should bloom about  6-8 weeks after planting in a pot with good well-drained soil. Leave 2/3 of the bulb above the soil line in a pot just a little bigger than the bulb itself. Place in a well-lit spot at 70 degrees and water sparingly until new leaves develop, then water regularly.

Christmas Cactus: This succulent plant is native to the warm, humid rainforest. It requires easy care with good (but not direct) light and really enjoys cool nights. Water when dry.

Cyclamen: Look for plants that have healthy green leaves and lots of flower buds coming up. They prefer a bright location, but no direct sun or heat. Never let sit in water and remove spent flowers to encourage and prolong flowering.

Your local florist or greenhouse can help you select the plants just right for you. Now, go and “spruce-up” your holiday home and make good memories with the fragrances and sights of blooming plants and flowers. May your holidays bloom.

What is your favorite blooming plant?