It may be grey and miserable outside, but Christmas indoors should be filled with colour. Bringing the garden into the house keeps you in touch with nature. So here’s five great festive plants to brighten up your home.
This is perhaps the houseplant most associated with Christmas. Its rich red star shapes are often mistaken for flowers. But look closely – they are bracts! Their bright colour is to attract insects to the small flowers that lie in the middle.
Poinsettia are easier to grow than many people think. Shield the foliage from harsh winter winds as you take the plant home and keep it warm but not hot. Allow the compost to dry out between watering and then give it a good soak with warm water.
Cyclamen are lovely upright plants with swept-back flowers sitting above a cloud of leaves. They come in a huge range of colours like pinks, reds and white. Many varieties have have silvery or patterned foliage and a sweet scent.
Grow them in a bright spot away from hot sunlight and radiators. Allow the compost to dry a little before watering again. Do not over watering cyclamen.
They are such cheerful plants. Azaleas also make great gifts and come in pink, red and soft white.
Christmas azaleas need a cool spot away from direct sunlight. It’s also very important to keep the compost moist, the plant will wilt and die if it dries out.
Did you know? you can give them a drink of cold tea (without milk, obviously). The tannins and slight acidity help support the plant’s growth.
Orchids are one of the most popular houseplants and can be really showy-looking. Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are great all-rounders, or try the Christmas-flowering cymbidium.
Cymbidium needs a slightly cooler temperature than other winter houseplants, so keep it away from heat sources. Choose a bright spot and water once every one to two weeks.
The Christmas cactus is a truly stunning plant. It’s a great cactus to try if you don’t like the little spiky barrel varieties. It’s large-growing and flowers at least once a year, with magnificent colour.
The Christmas cactus comes from Brazil and prefers a semi-shaded spot. It’s ideal for humid environments like kitchens and bathrooms. Or place the pot on a tray filled with gravel and add water until it almost touches the base of the pot. Keep it topped up for a striking display.