A Christmas Plant Display

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A Christmas Display

House plants come into their own in winter, when they bring real cheer and life to indoors compared with an often drab and dreary world outside. By putting a few carefully selected seasonal plants together in a large container, a stylish and annual display can be created very quickly. How much glitter and tinsel to add is entirely down to personal taste! 

An Evergreen Arrangement

The dark green tones of conifers and ivy show that their leaves are full of chlorophyll, and they are used to relatively shady positions, making them ideal for an indoor planter in winter. They will happily last through two or three months, including over the Christmas period, but will appreciate being potted up and moved outside in spring to recuperate (bring them back in again the following winter to repeat this temporary display).

What to Plant

A Christmas Display

Try using miniature or young conifer trees; those of a classic Christmas-tree shape are commonly sold relatively cheaply in supermarkets and garden centres in winter as baby Christmas trees and use young ivy (Hedera helix) plants. 

Plant up a large bowl, putting one or more (odd numbers work best aesthetically) trees in the centre and filling around the edge and underneath with ivy plants.

An alternative would be to use a standard (lollipop-shaped) bay (Laurus nobilis), olive (Olea europaea) or rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) tree as the centrepiece, providing it can be displayed in a bright spot. Use multipurpose compost and water as required so that the compost does not dry out.

Using Forced Bulbs

A more colourful temporary display can be created using forced bulbs, though the timing can be quite varied, and it’s best not to rely on them being in bloom for a particular date.

A Christmas Display

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) and paperwhite daffodils (Narcissus) are the two most commonly forced bulbs for mid-winter and are widely available either as dry pre-treated bulbs or ready-potted and growing. Both will have been subjected to a cold spell, and bringing them into a warm house then tricks the bulb into thinking it is spring and time to flower. See below for more details about these specific bulbs. 

Pot up dry bulbs into a multipurpose compost; putting in as many as will fit in a single layer for the best display, as they will be split and replanted after flowering, and water as required.

Keep in the brightest, sunniest spot possible, although they can be moved once flowering to a better position. The warmer the room temperature, the faster the flowers will go over.

Facts About Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

Bulbs make rather good house plants, albeit temporary ones. This is a classic bulb, planted alone in a pot, and bought for Christmas displays. Usually red or white flowers, sometimes with several per stem. Leaves appear after the flower spike.

With its glossy leaves and stunning trumpet-shaped flowers, the amaryllis plant will bring brightness and colour to the dullest of winter days. And if planted at the correct time, will bloom at Christmas, a perfect addition to the celebratory table, alongside the roast turkey and mulled wine!

The plant originates from South Africa, and its correct name is Amaryllis belladonna, which is often grown outdoors in the UK, and it actually translates as a naked lady! The indoors variety is composed of over 90 species and is correctly termed as Hippeastrum, but most people call it amaryllis. The name hippeastrum is of Greek origin, translating as knight star, so called as the flower is said to resemble an ancient knight’s mediaeval weapon.

Amaryllis have actually been cultivated since the nineteenth century, and are mainly used as house plants during the winter, but can be left outside in the warmer summer months.

If buying from a garden centre or supermarket, the bulbs should be thoroughly checked to ensure they are firm and in good condition. Select the larger ones if possible, as they produce more flowers. Store in a cool, dry place until ready, otherwise, they may rot. If requiring them to be in bloom for Christmas, then the end of October is the ideal time to plant the bulbs. Once the flowers start to open, it is best to move the pot to a cooler position and water regularly, but sparingly for the best long-lasting results.

Facts About the Daffodil (Narcissus)

A Christmas Display

Specific daffodil varieties have been developed that are ideal for either forcing (such as “Paper White”) or small pots (“Tete-a-tete”). The name narcissus is the correct term for the daffodil family, and is Greek in origin, translating as numbness. This is a reference to the bulbs having a toxic substance, making them poisonous if consumed. In the past, they were actually used as a medicine to make people vomit, although this is not to be recommended! 

A Christmas Display

The appearance of the daffodil is very distinctive, with its long, narrow stem, the inner cup of the flower (known as the corona), and its three petals. It is usually yellow or white, with the central corona occasionally being a different colour, depending on the variety. They are typically found in the Mediterranean, but some species are native to Asia and China. They are a popular choice of decoration for the Chinese New Year. It is the national emblem of Wales and is traditionally worn on St David’s day. 

A Christmas Display

Narcissus plants are ideal for an easy to grow and maintain indoor Christmas display. The bulbs need to be planted in pots which allow for adequate drainage and can be grown from August to November, but the earlier, the better. Surprisingly, they can be grown just in a mix of water and pebbles, with no soil at all. 

The blooms will appear between October and April. Once they have ceased flowering, they need to be dead-headed, as this stimulates seed production within the bulb. The leaves should be left alone, as they release valuable nutrients into the soil, ensuring the successful growth of the daffodil the following year.

Which plants would you recommend for a Christmas display?

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18 thoughts on “A Christmas Plant Display”

  1. Great site.    Lots of info. There are a few break downs between all the plants and arrangements. Great little pictures, it keeps me and the readers interested. Keep up the great work.  The site layout is great it not only one side, middle and the right side. Not sure if I missed it nut another great topic would be indoor & outdoor plants. Also, the detail process from start to finish how to plant and what each plant does. Keep up the Great work, lots of info does great things. 

    • Hi – thank you for taking the time to comment after reading my article. I have lots of other information on indoor plants, so I hope you return. All the best, Diane.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. Honestly, Christmas decoration and display always take the larger per cent of my family’s December budget. Virtually everything used for the decoration is bought even the tree. All thanks to your post, I’ve been enlightened on how to save my money. I’m a daffodils lover and I would love it to be the centre of attraction of my Christmas display because of the richness associated with its history. Though, I wasn’t that knowledgeable about it before reading this post. 

    thanks for this eyes opener

    • Hi – I appreciate you taking the time to leave comments. Christmas really is the most expensive time of the year, and it needn’t cost a fortune to utilise nature as a form of decoration. All the best, Diane.

  3. Interesting article, I really love the evergreen trees and beautiful Christmas trees. Thank you for sharing the amaryllis and daffodils I think it is more beautiful and I love to have one. I hope these flowers and trees can be more attractive and add more beauty to the decoration. I really enjoyed reading this post.

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful content. Good job, keep on.

    • Hi – thank you for reading my post and leaving comments. Although amaryllis is associated with the festive season, it can add colour to your home at any time. All the best, Diane.

  4. Thank you for giving inspiration to me about Christmas display from a plant. In my family, we usually prepare for Christmas around one month in advance. I remember that we use Amaryllis for decoration, but I will check if we can use Daffodil for this year’s Christmas. Please keep posting about plants that will be suitable for festive celebration 🙂 Thank you

    • Hi – thanks for leaving a comment on my site. Its never too early to be thinking about the festive season! All the best, Diane.

  5. How nice to come across a new plant website.

    I agree that plants make fantastic seasonal displays indoors. I enjoy growing Amaryliis myself, they are bold and beautiful. I also use forced bulb displays for the dining table and general christmas decor as I like to use all natural materials from the garden as decor. It always looks and smells so much nicer than artificial trimmings.

    Thank you for the lovely ideas.


    • Hi Louise, thank you for dropping by and leaving a nice comment. I am pleased you like my site, and I hope I have given you some new ideas for the upcoming Christmas celebrations. All the best, Diane

  6. This is a wonderful concept and one that I had never thought of, or come across on any of my visits to other peoples homes over the Christmas season. Nowadays the tendency seems to be geared more towards making the outdoors as bright and lit up up as the indoors. Style and finesse does seem to go out of the window though.

    An indoor decorative display sounds like a tasteful and unusual way to add some colour and uniqueness to our homes during the festive season. Personally I would be looking to give the Daffodils a go. We have them outside, across the front of the house in large half-barrels. I had no idea they could be grown indoors from the bulb. An excellent idea to compliment the more tradtiional decor.

    • Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a nice comment. I am not a fan of the over-decorated, flashy, outdoors look, each house trying to outdo the neighbours! I hope you have success with your daffodils. All the best, Diane 

  7. I’m glad I found your site today!

    I become a plants lover lately and I love to learn more about how to take care on them, I started to buy a few plants a few years ago and I didn’t know anything about them so I have a few bad stories to tell, little by little my plants stories turned into a success and beautiful plants stories.

    Today I have a few plants at home and the title of your article got my attention as Christmas is around the corner I wanted to learn more about which plants do best for the Holidays, and I got the nice surprise that you share great information on Amaryllis belladonna, I bought this plant 3 years ago, and today it’s a healthy plant that has given me the joy of a second bulb 🙂

    I never thought about Rosemary as a plant to have in the house as a plant for Christmas, I have one in the herbs garden and I didn’t know what to do with it, living in South Quebec in Canada, winter is quite cold, Rosemary plants hardly survive to the cold and long winter weather in my garden, so today I’ll go to the store to get another plant’s pot to bring it inside.

    I’m sure I’ll find more information in your site, so I’ll bookmark it so I can find it later!

    • Hi – thank you so much for reading my article and leaving such well thought out comments. I am pleased that you already know of the delights of having an Amaryllis around Christmas time and hope you have success with an indoor Rosemary plant. All the best, Diane

  8. The Christmas season is getting near. For this reason, many people will start to figure out how their appartment decorations would look like. My grandmum can spend her last digit in her bank account just to make things right with decorations. This review is able to enlighten me more on the choice of flowers we can go for without draining our pocket. We can check any of these options out for this coming Christmas. Good job for this collection!

    • Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am pleased I have given you some ideas for the upcoming celebrations. There is no need to spend a lot of money when using plants to decorate for Christmas. All the best, Diane

  9. Most years I purchase several Poinsettia plants for display during the winter months. I love it’s bright red leaves during the drab months and later the rich greenery it provides. Your post has inspired me to add more variety this year. I know the kids would love seeing flowers in bloom, especially when the outdoor decor can be so dull and unwelcoming that time of year.

    One thing to note on the Amaryllis Belladonna – the plant can be quite poisonous. Though large quantities of the bulb would have to be consumed for any toxic effects to be seen in humans, do be aware of the ill effects eating the leaves and/or flowers can have on our pet friends. Even small amounts can cause nausea, vomiting, and even tremors, especially in animals of low body weight. 

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! I have bookmarked your site so I can refer back for more great ideas 🙂

    • Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment, much appreciated. I have noted what you said about the Amaryllis being poisonous, and I will add an amendment to make people aware of this. All the best, Diane


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