During the holiday season, we’re always excited to see the new collection of colorful holiday plants appear in the greenhouse again – poinsettias, cyclamen, Christmas cacti, and Norfolk Island pines. Their seasonal colors, textures, and scents help create a festive mood in our homes and complement the beautiful décor that surrounds us this time of year.
Once the seasonal decorations are put away, Norfolk Island pines continue to be beautiful houseplants all year long.
Of course, the most famous of the holiday plants is the poinsettia. The classic poinsettia with its dark green leaves and bright red bracts represents the traditional colors of the season. These days, poinsettias can be found in a range of decorative colors including pink, white, and even orange, with speckles and patterns included too. Poinsettias are native to Central America, and in the wild, they’re large and shrub-like with widely-spaced red flowers. Careful, selective breeding has developed the more familiar compact form and the brilliant colors we see in poinsettias today. Our poinsettias – many of which are grown by our own team in Gretna – come in sizes from 4.5” containers up to 12”, including hanging baskets. Barb Marsh, who brings in many of the annual plants we have at the store, said the poinsettia called ‘Premium Picasso’ is one of her favorites. Its bracts are a speckled combination of red and cream – like they’ve been airbrushed – and no two plants look exactly alike. Barb also pointed out a new poinsettia for us this year called ‘Love U Pink.’ This unique poinsettia has multiple layers of smaller, pointed bracts in a jewel-like hot pink. It’s a fun hybrid that grows in a slightly irregular habit, so like ‘Premium Picasso,’ no two are exactly the same.
Another colorful holiday plant is cyclamen. Their blooms come in a range of colors including red, white, pink, and purple. Some are even two-toned. The flowers stand above a rounded mound of silvery-green leaves with striking stripes and patterns – the foliage is almost as pretty as the blooms, actually. Cyclamen enjoy cooler household temperatures, so they should steer clear of heat sources like a furnace vent or fireplace. And being near a window in the winter won’t bother them at all. You’ll want to water your cyclamen when the top of the soil is just slightly dry to the touch and let the pot drain away any excess water. We offer cyclamen in sizes from 2” to 10” pots.
The extraordinarily long-lived Christmas cactus perfectly symbolizes the importance of tradition and family ties. Individual plants can thrive for decades, and in some families, several family members all own plants started with cuttings from a beloved grandmother’s cactus. Their exotic pendulous blooms hang down from flattened, leaf-like stems and come in several colors including red, pink, white, and yellow. Like the cyclamen, we have them in sizes from little 2” pots to 10” pots, as well as hanging baskets which really show off those hanging blossoms. Christmas cacti like bright, indirect light, and they’ll do best if you let the soil dry out on top before watering thoroughly. And be sure the pot drains well too.
Although they look a lot like an evergreen tree, Norfolk Island pines aren’t really pines at all. They’re a tropical plant, and as their name implies, they’re native to an island near Australia named Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island pines make perfect additions to wintery décor because of their Christmas-tree appearance – many people even decorate them with small ornaments or bows for the holidays. Once the seasonal decorations are put away though, Norfolk Island pines continue to be beautiful and interesting houseplants all year long. They do like their water, so be sure to maintain a consistent moisture level in the soil, and find a nice bright spot for your Norfolk Island pine to sit.
Of course, indoor plants bring beauty and life to our homes in all seasons of the year, but the festive feeling that holiday plants provide around Christmas time – and the traditions they represent – make them even more special. Whether you choose a favorite for yourself or as a thoughtful gift for that plant-loving person on your list, be sure to stop by our Seasonal Plants desk before you leave the greenhouse. Just like us, poinsettias and other tropical plants need a warm coat to shield them from the cold, so one of our team members will wrap your plant in a protective paper for the trip outside.