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Green Fingers: Some festive foliage for Christmas

Green Fingers: Some festive foliage for Christmas

Poinsettias are notoriously hard to keep alive in our cold climate

Probably the first Christmas plant people think of is the Poinsettia. Traditionally these would have been available only in red. Now there are many variations such as white and even pink.

Because these plants have so many large leaves that they require a lot of water. Poinsettia actually comes from the tropics. They survive here only indoors with the added benefit of central heating.

I have been asked many, many times over the years how to look after these plants after Christmas. The truth is that it is very difficult to get them to survive one year through to the next. My approach has always been to buy them as temporary additions to the Christmas festivities.

Christmas Cactus

These are available in a large variety - but most usually sold in pink. They are a curious plant - this is a cactus but they do not have spikes and they do not grow in the desert. They actually grow in tropical rain forest. They are known as ‘epiphytic’ plants, meaning that they do not grow in the ground. In fact, they grow high up in trees. They grow on branches of large trees in the jungle where they receive more sunlight. These plants can grow for many years if looked after properly.

The biggest issue with house plants over Christmas and winter in general is over-watering. If plants are over-watered then they are much more likely to lose leaves and even rot and die.


In terms of Cyclamen, they can be planted indoors as well as outdoors. They grow from a type bulb and so can live for many years. If you look after them you can enjoy them from year to year. They are available in a variety of colours from pure white through to cerise pink. They are also ever so lightly scented.

All house plants benefit from rain-water – if it is at all possible I would suggest that you only water house plants with untreated rain-water.


This Christmas plant has fallen out of favour in more recent years. This is a pity because it is a tough plant It is a small plant covered in orange berries. Sometimes these are mistaken for small tomatoes although they are meant to be eaten.

Christmas Flowering Bulbs

Hyacinths are probably the most often seen flowering bulbs at Christmas time. They offer vibrant colour with a very nice scent. Only a couple of flowers provide enough fragrance for the average living room. Once Christmas is over you can plant any Hyacinth bulbs in the ground outside and, with a little luck, they will flower year after year.

Next time, we will discuss all the topics around real Christmas Trees.

Contact James by email;

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