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Festive flora for Christmas
Garden Path

Festive flora for Christmas

by Faye Peterson 3 min. 04.12.2022
In the spirit of the season, this month’s column takes on a red and green theme as we look at plants with a Yuletide connection
Add festive sparkle with a display of hollies
Add festive sparkle with a display of hollies
Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you have an aversion to Christmas, click away now. But for those happy to sprinkle some plant power next to their reindeer dust this winter read on….


Winter is one of the best times to plant bare-root roses.

Give a little peace this Christmas by gifting best-selling variety, the Peace rose.  Voted into the Hall of Fame by the World Federation of Rose Societies, Peace is a popular hybrid producing two-toned yellow flowers with soft pink edges. 

Alternatively, invest in unusual varieties like ‘Blue Moon’, a hybrid, hardy, tea rose in a beautiful blue grey colour or choose Luxembourg’s very own ‘Tour de Malakoff’.  

This highly scented magenta rose was introduced to the market by the Grand Duchy’s own growers Soupert and Notting in 1856 and is still going strong today. So, put back the bouquet and opt for a more environmentally friendly option - it’ll please your pocket too.      

Christmas Flowering Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

It’s merry and, once those flowers pop into bloom this season, it’s bright!  Choose from red, purple, pink, yellow and white flowers or go for a fairy light effect and place multi-coloured options across your shelves. 

A Christmas Flowering Cactus comes in a variety of colours and is a great addition to your home this festive season
A Christmas Flowering Cactus comes in a variety of colours and is a great addition to your home this festive season

Easy to care for and easy to grow, this succulent will become a pot plant stable in your home. Hailing from Brazil, these beauties thrive on indirect sunlight and occasional watering.

Viburnum Snowball (Viburnum x carlcephalum)

Plant a Viburnum ‘snowball’ in your garden and have snow whatever the weather.  

Easy to grow and care for, this deciduous bush is best planted in springtime.  Situate on well drained soil in a sheltered, sunny location where their punchy pom poms of white flowers will pack a powerful perfumed scent come spring. 

It’s a plant deeply rooted in Ukraine, featuring heavily in their songs and folklore. Opt for a Viburnum opulus, also known as the ‘Guelder Rose’, as a nod to our Eastern cousins this season. 

The Holly (Ilex) and the Ivy (Hedera)

These evergreens have long held associations with winter.  The sheer number of specimens gives us more varieties to choose from than a Christmas box of chocolates. 

If you want a festive display of red berries choose a female holly. But be sure to have a male plant nearby to boost berry production through pollination. Hollies are not only hardy, but versatile - integrate with other plants, use as a specimen tree, plant as a hedge or spice up a container with a seasonal display.

The blue moon rose is another seasonal favourite
The blue moon rose is another seasonal favourite

Ivy has a bad reputation as an invasive and parasitic plant, but that’s not true.  Ivy can be used to naturally screen an area, regulate a building's temperature or add interest and evergreen colour to container displays. Start with common native European species, like English Ivy (Hedera helix), or choose non-climbing specimens like ground ivy (Hedera helix hibernica) for floor cover.   

Both holly and ivy provide food for hungry wildlife, attract beneficial insects to your garden and offer habitats and shelter for local fauna. Christmas is a time of sharing, so add these plants to your garden and reap the rewards.   

Candy Cane Sorrel (Oxalis versicolour)

What would Santa's little helpers want in their gardens? Candy Canes of course.

Plant bulbs in a sheltered spot before the harsh weather arrives and enjoy a candy shop of colour from late summer through to winter. An easy care, ornamental and non-invasive ground covering plant that looks good enough to eat.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

The antithesis of Christmas. This low-key, low maintenance plant is perfect for patio pots or containers. 

Architectural and compact in size, this evergreen fern benefits from shady damp locations. Use the fronds for decoration or bring indoors and replace the ever present Poinsettia for the quiet charm of a Christmas fern.

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