Best Indoor Plants For Christmas Colour & Scent
Follow our tips for filling your home with scent this winter
Christmas is a time to fill your home with delicious sights & scents. From the decorative wreath on your front door to the smallest room in the house there is always somewhere that could do with a little brightening up & rather than blowing the budget on cut flowers why not choose a spectacular seasonal houseplant that will cost you less & last longer? There are a wide variety of flowering plants available at this time of year & you can even combine them with scent if you choose carefully. Provide them with the right conditions & they will go on flowering well into the New Year.
If you have been organised this year you may already have planted prepared Hyacinths, Narcissus ‘Paper White’ or Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) to condition them for flowering at Christmas. If you haven’t, you should be able to find them in the garden centre already planted up for you. These flowering bulbs would have been planted up in bulb fibre or free draining compost approximately 10-13 weeks before Christmas then kept in the dark & cool for a period of time before being brought indoors to develop flowers in time for Christmas. The timing varies with each type of bulb & even the cultivar so check the planting instructions if you decide to plant them yourself next year. You can even sit a hyacinth bulb in the neck of a small vase filled with water to just below the base of the bulb then the kids can watch as the root system grows.
Hyacinths & Paper Whites are easy to grow and will fill the room with a delicious scent for weeks. Hyacinths are available in a range of colours to suit your Christmas theme from winter white to deep red or purple. Paper Whites have multi-headed flower stems with delicate white blooms which have a yellow eye. When you get your potted bulbs home place them close to a window in a warm room but keep them humid by standing the pot on a moist, shallow gravel tray & water when drying out. If the leaves are growing faster than the flower buds you may need to slow growth down again by putting the pots in a cool dark spot for a day or two. Hyacinths & Paper Whites (not fully hardy) can be planted out in the garden after flowering so that you can enjoy them the following year.
Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) can be a little more demanding, as far as temperature is concerned, if you want them in flower for Christmas, so read our article on Amazing Amaryllis for more information. They produce a tall stem with spectacular lily type flowers which can be as large as a dinner plate & are available in a range of shades including creamy whites, oranges, velvety reds & even variegated pinks.
Whether you want cool whites to form part of a frosty Christmas display or rich opulent reds, there are a variety of indoor plants available that will be in flower for the Christmas period. Choose a plant that will enjoy the conditions you can provide or be prepared for it to be an alternative to cut flowers with a finite lifespan. Small plants can either be placed in a decorative pot on their own, grouped with others to make a tiered display or re-potted into a larger container or basket with small ferns, succulents or even Christmas decorations to produce a festive display. Larger plants look great as a single display & can be made more Christmassy with the addition of a long-stemmed sparkly decoration pushed into the compost or a bow tied around the pot.
At Christmas the plant that springs to mind is the Poinsettia whose coloured bracts attract all the attention whilst its flowers go unnoticed. Make sure you buy from a reputable supplier as the plants need to be kept at a minimum of 13-15°C & wrapped up well for the journey home to prevent them from wilting because of the cold. Place them on a moist gravel tray in a bright spot out of full sun & away from draughts. Water sparingly when the compost has started to dry out & mist regularly to raise the humidity. For the last two years our houseplant expert Sandra has sourced our Poinsettias from an English nursery in Liverpool & she says they are spectacular. She has poinsettias in the regular colours of red, cream, pink & peach but this year the most popular has been ‘Ice Punch’. This poinsettia has stunning deep pink bracts with a central silvery variegation which makes it stand out from the crowd!
Indoor Azaleas are another popular Christmas flowering plant. They come in a range of colours from pastel shades to bright pinks & prefer a cool location such as a sunny, winter windowsill or porch. They need to be kept moist & are best kept on a moist gravel tray to raise the humidity. We have them in stock for Christmas as small bushy plants but also as standards or pruned into a pyramid resembling a small flowering Christmas tree.
For a showy plant that provides colour & interesting foliage you can’t go wrong with an indoor Cyclamen. The hybrids that are available often come in pastel shades & range in size from tiny miniatures for a mixed display to larger varieties with beautifully silver marbled leaves, frilly fringed petals or a fragrant scent. They are tuberous plants that prefer to be kept away from direct sunlight or heat but need a bright situation. Place the pot on a moist gravel tray to increase the humidity but only water when the compost feels dry, avoiding the crown of the plant.
One of the few plants that flower naturally at this time of year is the Christmas cactus with its recognisable flowers that come in a range of bright pinks & reds. Although it is called a cactus it is not a desert cactus but rather a tropical cactus which requires a little more watering. Place your plant on gravel, for drainage, in a bright location away from draughts or heat sources such as radiators & water when the top half of the compost is dry. These reliable plants will put up with a fair amount of neglect yet continue to flower year after year.
If you really want to create a display to stir the senses then plump for an indoor jasmine whose pink buds open to produce a mass of white flowers which will scent the whole room. This long-flowering evergreen is a climber but it can be grown around a support & pruned to any size you like. It is best placed outdoors during the summer as it needs plenty of light & it would benefit from regular feeding with tomato fertiliser to encourage flowering later on. Bring it back indoors in September & place it somewhere cool such as a conservatory or porch, only watering when the compost is dry. After it has finished flowering it can be pruned, repotted & placed outdoors in a sunny spot until the following autumn when it will be ready to start all over again.
If you fancy something a little more exotic to take pride of place on your windowsill why not treat yourself to an orchid? Moth Orchids are the most readily available and probably one of the easiest to keep & come in a range of colours, some with spectacular markings. Another easy orchid is Cymbidium which we have with white, lemon, orange or pink flowers which will grace the plant for six to eight weeks around this time of year. This plant will enjoy a shady spot on the patio over the summer before being brought back into the house before the temperatures drop below 10°C. Give it good light conditions & cooler temperatures (15 °C) whilst the flower spikes develop then you can move it into a warmer environment for display. If you are feeling more adventurous we have a wider selection of orchids - read a little more in our article on Orchid Care Tips.
This is just a small selection of the plants we have available at this time of year which also includes non-flowering plants such as bonsai & air plants. To complement our houseplants we have a wide selection of pots so that you can find one that will suit both your décor & the plant you choose. Each week we also produce our own mixed potted displays or you can select the plants & container you like & we will create a display for you. Whether you are buying a flowering houseplant for yourself or would like one that is specially gift wrapped for family or friends, you can be certain that it will make the perfect addition to any Christmas display!