Christmas is a time when many of us want to bring greenery and lively colours into our homes. The festive period can dispel the gloom of mid-winter. Grow plants that are great for Christmas decorations in your garden that you can cut for Christmas decorations. Or choose plants that can make great houseplants over the winter months. This means you won’t have to shell out to make sure your home looks great. And you can avoid harmful plastic products and keep things green.
Plants to Cut For Christmas Decorations
First of all, let’s take a look at some of the plants you can grow in your garden that will provide cut material for Christmas displays. These plants not only provide materials for the holiday displays. They can also have benefits in your garden throughout the year.
Growing some varied conifers in your garden will mean that you can cut branches for use in Christmas wreaths and garlands. And you can also use them in creating other Christmas displays. Pine cones can also be useful for creating natural Christmas decorations for your home.
Holly for Christmas Decorations
Holly is, of course, one of the most traditional Christmas plants. Its shiny dark green leaves and bright red berries bring a splash of colour into your home over the winter months. Holly can be used, like conifers, to make a range of wreaths, garlands and other displays inside your home.
But holly is not the only plant that can provide bright berries over the festive season. Pyracantha’s red or orange berries can also look great as Christmas decorations. You can string them to use in place of tinsel strands on a Christmas tree. Or place some in a jar or vase with some evergreen sprigs, for example.
Cotoneaster is another plant that can provide evergreen foliage and bright red berries for Christmas decoration inside your home. Like holly, cotoneaster can also be used in wreaths or garlands, and can last for a good long while indoors.
Ivy for Christmas Decorations
Ivy goes hand in hand with holly in the famous carol, of course. Ivy’s long tendrils make it ideal for wreaths and garlands. Cutting some from your garden can also allow you to create beautiful centre pieces down the heart of a Christmas table, or to twine foliage down the edge of your stairs. (Of course, ivy can be grown as a houseplant too. So you could also consider ivy within the other section of this list – as a living plant to enliven your home over the festive season.)
Mistletoe is another of the plants commonly associated with Christmas. Hang it from your ceiling and wait to be kissed! (Just bear in mind if you grow mistletoe in your garden or bring it into your home that it is poisonous to people and pets.)
One plant that is both decorative and edible is rosemary. This too is traditionally associated with Christmas. It provides not only evergreen foliage but also a delightful fragrance when you bring it into your home. Like other evergreens, it can be used to create Christmas decorations. But you can also snip springs from your displays to use in your winter recipes.
Dusty Miller for Christmas Decorations
Most Christmas displays are all about the lush green foliage and bright berries. But one other interesting option to consider is adding some silvery foliage to give a frosty or icy effect. I personally love the look of Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) amongst evergreen foliage. Its lacy leaves make it look almost like snowflakes when set against a dark green backdrop.
Of course, there are plenty of other plants you could grow in your garden that will provide foliage, flowers or berries for winter displays.
Remember, you can also use twigs and sticks, seeds and seed casings, and other natural materials in a range of different ways to create imaginative and eco-friendly Christmas decorations for your home.
You could also use stored fruits or vegetables that you have grown over the summer months. Squashes and gourds, for example, not only make good Halloween decorations. They can also be potentially be included in festive mid-winter displays. Many dried herbs also work well in Christmas arrangements.
Living Plants For Christmas Decorations
Next, let’s take a look at some of the living plants that you could grow at home and use in Christmas displays. These options can all provide you with greenery and/or attractive flowers not just over the holidays but over a longer period.
Living Christmas Trees
First, and most obviously, you could grow and enjoy living Christmas trees. Potentially, these could live in your garden for a number of years and be brought inside over Christmas each year. Where space is at a premium, small bonsai trees could be decorated over the Christmas season. Choosing a living Christmas tree is a far more eco-friendly option than choosing either a plastic tree, or a cut tree.
A living tree does not necessarily have to be a traditional evergreen either. For example, you could decorate a lemon tree, or another citrus tree that you overwinter inside your home.
Succulents and Cacti
Succulents and cacti can obviously be grown all year round. But they can also enhance your home over the holiday period. There are plenty of different plants with beautiful form and foliage to choose from – though the Christmas cactus is a popular choice.
Poinsettia is a popular Christmas plant – one of the best sellers in garden centres around the festive season. Their bright red bracts make them a popular choice for Yuletide displays. People often get rid of them once the bracts start to fade. But you can, with a little care, keep them all year. The bracts will regain their colour in time for the following Christmas.
White Chrysanthemums also make good houseplants around Christmas. And while they may not be the most obviously Christmassy of plants, they do have a German Christmas legend associated with them. And can give a bright snowy feel in your home.
Delicate cyclamens are another flowering plant that can make a great houseplant to bring life and colour into your home at the coldest and darkest time of the year. There are several different cyclamens to choose from.
Paperwhite narcissus can be forced for beautiful and delicate Christmas displays, and are another way to bring the feel of spring into the deep midwinter. They not only look good but also fill your home with a powerful scent.
Christmas Rose for Christmas Decorations
The Christmas rose is another popular houseplant for winter. It is not actually a rose at all, but rather a hellebore, a member of the Ranunculus (buttercup) family. (Note, this can be toxic, so take care around children and pets.) This can be a bee-friendly plant for your garden, attracting them and a range of other pollinators. But it can be grown as a houseplant too.
The above list offers just some of the many plants that are great for Christmas decorations. The more you grow in your home and garden, the more options you will have.
Which are your favourite plants to cut for Christmas? And which living plants do you grow around the festive season in your home? Share your favourites and tips in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.