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Flower Choices for the Holiday Season

Flower Choices for the Holiday Season

Not all plants go dormant in the winter. If you still want your garden to be full of color and beautiful blooms, there are plenty of winter flowers you can choose from to display during the holiday season. Some of them can even thrive growing indoors during the cold months to add that extra bit of color we all so desperately crave in winter.


Amaryllis is a popular flower for Christmas dcor. It can grow from a bulb within six weeks of being planted in soil. Due to this, many greenhouses encourage flowering in December by growing them in October or November. If you want to plant your own bulbs for holiday blooms, plant them in the fall and allow them to soak up bright direct sunlight as well as plenty of water in a pot that drains well.

American Mistletoe

While mistletoe completes every holiday scene, it's not usually grown on purpose. In fact, this plant is more parasitic in nature and grows on the branches of host trees. If you clip a little bit of mistletoe off of a host tree, you won't harm the tree, but once mistletoe has taken root in the bark of hardwood, it is impossible to completely remove, so often, it is best to just leave it be.

Bodnant Viburnum

This deciduous plant can grow as big as 10 feet tall by 6 feet wide and produces subtle red fruit and pink blossoms during the winter months. The colors fade from a deep magenta to a pale rose throughout the season as they age.

Bodnant viburnum can tolerate most soils and appreciates shade most often, especially in hot southern U.S. summers. They don't require much in the way of pruning and are a hardy choice for southern gardens, since they are resistant to damage from deer.

Bosc Pear

This crisp fruit often ripens between late fall and winter, and once they are picked from the tree, they develop a sweetness reminiscent of honey for a perfect compliment to winter dishes. You can plant your own Bosc pear tree and harvest the fruit yearly in winter as long as they are growing in full sun with ample water. It will take several years for a tree to establish fruit, but the taste makes it well worth the wait!

Christmas Cactus

This festive cactus blooms from late fall through the winter to give you a colorful addition to your holiday gardens. It has long, red flowers on a bright green scalloped stem, an eye-catching combination you won't be able to look away from! It thrives in rich, porous soil with regular watering in bright, indirect light. To encourage it to bloom in December, you should keep it in a cool environment (50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit) at night and make sure it gets more than 12 hours of darkness per day during November.


This regional favorite produces lovely white, pink, and red winter blooms for subtle garden color. Some species of cyclamen will bloom within a year of being planted, while others may take years to mature. However, almost every species of cyclamen will go dormant during the summer months.

These plants are great for containers and should be grown in full, indirect sunlight or partial shade in rich, well-drained soil. For an ideal environment, make sure the soil is neutral or slightly alkaline and includes coarse sand and organic matter.

Fir Tree

Fir trees come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You may already have a few in your backyard! During the Christmas season, you can chop down your own fir tree or purchase a precut tree to put up and decorate in your home for the holidays. To put up your tree, it's best to saw a quarter-inch off the trunk of the tree and place it in a stand filled with water. You should aim to keep it well-watered throughout the entire holiday season so it will thrive after being cut.


These flowers are aptly named for the time of year they bloom, which is just early enough to poke their blue and white star-shaped flowers out of the snow. They usually bloom in late winter or early spring, but you can force them to bloom indoors by planting them in a rich potting mix in mid-October to get them to bloom earlier.


Some gardeners tend to avoid ivy altogether, as it tends to invade, but this evergreen climbing vine is a beautiful addition to holiday scenes, which is why Christmas carols have been written about it. The vines can climb vertically or horizontally wherever they find space and are most reliable when grown from seeds in a pot, rather than cutting and propagating the plant. This plant likes soil filled with organic matter and prefers nitrogen-rich fertilizer.


Juniper is a beautiful evergreen shrub with blue-hued berries and dark green needles. They usually grow as shrubs or trees. They grow best in dry, chalky soil and can grow fast in the right conditions as long as they have plenty of space to grow.

Lenten Rose

If you want subtle color in your winter garden, Lenten rose might be a great choice. They bloom in white, green, pink, red, or purple and are bell-shaped, so the color may not appear to be as vivid as some other winter choices, especially since the colors fade to green as the blooming period comes to an end. These flowers thrive in well-drained, slightly alkaline soil, but once they're planted, they like to be left alone, especially by deer and rodents, which they are resistant to.


Mahonia is an evergreen shrub that looks similar to holly but is actually closely related to barberry. It has prickly leaves with clumps of fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in the winter, especially around Christmas. These are low-maintenance plants that only require occasional pruning and well-drained soil to reach up to 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. They are also deer- and pest-resistant, so you won't have to worry about your plants being ruined by invaders.

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

These cabbage and kale variations are popular additions to winter planters because they are hardy and flashy and have a beautiful texture to them. These plants can withstand below-freezing temperatures, which makes them great additions to cold-season gardens as long as they are planted in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil.


These plants are perennials in the Violacea family that often grow in cooler weather, so their bright white, blue, red, and yellow hues can brighten up those shorter days. Pansies are great for mass plantings, especially around the borders of your garden. They thrive in mild winters in rich and moist soil, so you should keep your flowers well-watered in an area with partial to full shade.


This is a perennial plant that can bloom indoors in the middle of winter in just four to six weeks. Paperwhites are hardy plants that don't require much soil to produce delicate white flowers on tall green stems.

They often flower around Christmas, and you can encourage blooming by keeping the bulbs in complete darkness until they're ready to be planted. Once planted, keep them in a cool, dark environment, water them regularly, and make sure the soil is well drained. Stake the stems to support the blooms if they begin to droop early on.


The poinsettia is the festive Christmas flower that comes to mind first when people think about decorating for the holiday season. It's usually known for its scarlet petals, but poinsettas can also be found in white, yellow, and pink.

The poinsettia is a deciduous shrub that can grow indoors or outdoors as long as you don't overwater it. Only give them water if the soil becomes dry and they'll have no problem growing tall and leggy wherever they're planted. You can take cuttings in late summer to encourage blooming new poinsettia plants by October.


Some species of primrose bloom in spring and summer, but there are several variations of this plant that grow in the winter as well. These plants have plenty of color variation, but in clumps, they tend to resemble leaves of lettuce. These flowers do well in pots indoors and when planted outside en masse. They grow best in a cool, humid climate with moist soil.


You can always count on rosemary during the Christmas season. They look a lot like miniature versions of the fir trees people put up and decorate in their homes, which adds to the holiday magic. You can use their fragrant leaves as a flavoring for dishes, and for easier access, you can even grow them indoors. They will grow in pots on a sunny windowsill as long as they get regular water and plenty of light.


Snowdrops will send up small, bell-shaped white blooms in late winter or early spring. They're among some of the first flowers to bloom and can be a charming addition to the garden when planted en masse, especially if they bloom earlier than you may have anticipated.

You can plant your own snowdrops in a sunny spot during the fall in moist soil that you are able to constantly water. They can also grow inside if you keep them in a dark and cool spot for ten to 12 weeks until buds appear; then, they can be moved to a cool, bright place.

Valencia Orange

This is a sweet orange that's ideal for making orange juice and is moderately resistant to cold, especially in the southern United States. You can plant your own Valencia orange for a dose of sunshine all year round, as long as you plant it in full sun and water it regularly, which is why they thrive so well in places like Florida and California.

Winterberry Holly

This plant produces bright red berries throughout the fall and winter, and because of that, it has become a classic Christmas plant, with plenty of carols alluding to its use in decorating. Holly is native to the eastern United States and can easily grow up to 15 feet tall without much work, as long as it is planted in moist, acidic, organic soil in full or partial shade.

Winter Honeysuckle

This particular plant takes the form of semi-evergreen, evergreen, or deciduous shrubs and vines. It's a highly fragrant plant with honeysuckle flowers that bloom throughout the winter and come accompanied by small, red fruits.

Winter honeysuckle is a great choice for a compact, clipped hedge because it's attractive for outdoor planting and when the buds emerge in winter, you can clip the branches and bring them inside to fill your home with their sweet scent.

Yaupon Holly

Yaupon holly is native to the American South and is known for its bright red berries that appear throughout the winter months. It makes a beautiful accent to your holiday decorations and gardens. Holly is a hearty shrub or multi-trunked tree that can be grown in any type of soil. It's resistant to deer and can tolerate even the most difficult growing conditions.

Yuletide Camellia

The Yuletide camellia is a flowering shrub that begins blooming in late fall and stays throughout the winter, so it's a great option for adding color to your garden around the Christmas season. You can also cut them to add to a festive birthday bouquet. These plants often grow 8 to 10 feet tall, but there are compact selections that will only grow 4 to 5 feet tall!

This flower is hardy and drought-tolerant, requiring very little maintenance once you've planted it. It's a perennial plant that thrives in the mild southern winters in a spot with partial to full sun and regular watering.

Winter Aconite

These bright yellow blooms resembling buttercups are native to Europe and Asia. They're small and only reach a few inches high, but since they bloom in late winter or early spring, sometimes, they will pop up out of the snow-covered ground, which is a welcome sight after the long winter months.

If you'd like to plant your own winter aconite flowers, you should expect to plant them in the late summer in a spot with partial shade or full sun and moist soil. Plant the bulbs at least 3 inches deep and 4 inches apart and water regularly.

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