Make it a green Christmas

Phyl Boyce

Reporter:

Phyl Boyce

Make it a green Christmas

Since last week’s article when I gave suggestions for indoor plants, I’ve had a few questions about other indoor plants that can add colour at this time of year, both for decoration and for Christmas presents.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are available in an increasing range of colours like white, lemon, pink, orange and the traditional red.

There are varieties with multicoloured bracts and variegated foliage. They are natives of Mexico so are very sensitive to temperature changes; try to buy Irish grown poinsettias, they are of a higher quality and have greater staying power.

Keep the plant in bright conditions away from direct sunlight and drafts and do not overwater. When the soil is almost dry, soak the pot in water at room temperature and do not water again until the soil begins to dry out. The plants are cheap so it is not worth the effort trying to save the plants from year to year.

Cyclamen are available in white, pink, red and salmon. When buying, carefully investigate under the leaves and you should be able to see lots of emerging flower buds. Keep them in a cool room and out of direct sunlight to prolong flowering for weeks. Jasmine (Jasmine Officianale) has highly scented tubular white flowers that will fill a room with fragrance. Peace Lilies are another nice flowering house plant.

House plants can bring multiple health benefits to homeowners as plants are very efficient air purifiers. Any one of the pot plants mentioned will absorb carbon dioxide from the air and generate oxygen and some of them will also absorb humidity and toxins in the air. NASA has produced a list of highly efficient house plants that improve air quality which includes the following; Peace Lily, Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebeleinii), Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), Flamingo lily, bamboo plant, Selloum philodendron, Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), Aloe vera, Banana and many more

A house plant is always an acceptable gift, whether you are going to a party, a friend’s house or just treating yourself.

Christmas Trees

Another question I received during the week related to real Christmas trees and the rapid shedding of needles. Just like how a blast of cold air causes us to button up our coats any plant that has been sitting outside over the last few weeks will get a shock when brought straight indoors.

It is a good idea to acclimatise plants by initially bringing them into an unheated or well ventilated room before landing them beside a very warm fire.

The good news is that most plants will adapt quickly and while a real tree may shed needles very rapidly for the first week or so but it should still survive the reminder of the holidays before going bare.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a safe and happy Christmas!