Birds & Blooms

Holiday favorites

Make your decor merry with the season’s best indoor foliage and flowers.


1 Jerusalem cherry

SOLANUM PSEUDOCAPS­ICUM These shrubby plants, also called Christmas cherry or winter cherry, produce bright white or mauve blooms that give way to red berrylike fruits. Plants reach 24 inches tall and sport smooth evergreen foliage. They prefer a bright spot that’s 70 degrees or cooler. The berries and leaves are poisonous, so keep plants out of reach of children and pets.

Why we love it: Longlastin­g berries add festive color to your decor.

2 Kalanchoe

KALANCHOE BLOSSFELDI­ANA Clusters of star-shaped blooms in shades of red, yellow, pink, gold, orange or purple carpet these rounded succulents. Scalloped leaves set off the flowers and supply interest once blooms fade. Kalanchoe reach 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall, depending on variety. They require at least four hours of direct sunlight.

Why we love it: Blooms provide color during the cold winter months, and kalanchoe grow well from cuttings.

3 Greenhouse azalea

RHODODENDR­ON HYBRID These fluffy-flowered miniature shrubs are in ample supply come late autumn and are popular holiday gifts. Evergreen leaves provide a striking base for single or double frilly blossoms in red, white, pink, coral and bicolors.

Why we love it: It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving. Nurture azaleas throughout the holiday season, and then move them outdoors come spring. They need four to six weeks of cool weather and short days to rebloom.

4 Amaryllis

HIPPEASTRU­M Two- to 3-foot stems support funnelshap­ed flowers that may be striped, bicolored or solid in shades of orange, red, rose, pink, white or chartreuse. Bulbs are simple to start indoors, but take seven to 10 weeks to bloom, so plan accordingl­y. Amaryllis does best in rooms that are around 65 degrees.

Why we love it: Amaryllis will rebloom next winter if you cut off the stalks and allow the foliage to keep growing.

5 Norfolk Island pine

ARAUCARIA HETEROPHYL­LA Perfectly suited for holiday displays, this coniferous evergreen delights with loads of soft narrow needles on stiff branches, and widely spaced boughs give it multilayer­ed appeal. Place the potted trees in a cool well-lit location, turning occasional­ly to ensure even growth.

Why we love it:

It is ideal as a tabletop Christmas tree. Dress it up with garland, lights and small ornaments.

6 Christmas cactus

SCHLUMBERG­ERA X BUCKLEYI This easy-care succulent bursts into bloom just as Christmas nears. Growing up to 24 inches tall, plants produce white, yellow, purple, gold, red or tangerine trumpet-shaped flowers on fleshy stems that spread 3 feet. Place plants in bright light where they’ll receive at least two hours of direct sunlight.

Why we love it: With proper care, a Christmas cactus lives for decades, and many get passed down for generation­s.

7 Rosemary

ROSMARINUS OFFICINALI­S Look for rosemary plants at grocery stores and garden centers around the holidays. This fragrant perennial herb thrives in cool rooms with good air circulatio­n and grows best if given six hours a day of direct light.

Why we love it: Rosemary plants boast needlelike leaves and shrubby shapes that can be pruned into eyecatchin­g topiaries or tree shapes. Wrap burlap around the pot, and add some mini ornaments to the tree for instant holiday cheer.

8 Florist cyclamen

CYCLAMEN PERSICUM A much-gifted holiday plant, this frost tender tuberous perennial brings jolly hues to festive tabletops. It blooms for weeks and requires very little care. Keep cyclamen in a bright room that stays about 65 degrees. Water thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Why we love it: Cheerful red, pink, white, violet or lavender flowers sit on 8-inch stems that sprout from mounds of leathery heart-shaped leaves.

9 Poinsettia

EUPHORBIA PULCHERRIM­A Inexpensiv­e and easy to grow, potted poinsettia­s pack heaps of color for your buck. Multihued bracts surroundin­g tiny yellow flowers grow profusely on upright plants with lush green foliage. Choose poinsettia­s with strong stems, fully colored bracts and dense foliage that grows from the soil surface up.

Why we love it:

Today’s varieties come in a rainbow of colors, sporting bracts between 7 and 10 inches long and producing “blooms” until March.

10 Bromeliads

MEMBERS OF THE BROMELIACE­AE FAMILY Ornamental types feature colorful strappy leaves, rosette centers, vibrant bracts and large flowers. Showy red, yellow or orange flowers rise above green-leafed Guzmania species and complement traditiona­l Christmas schemes. Bromeliads typically like warm temps and high humidity.

Why we love it: Unlike most indoor plants, bromeliads survive and thrive without much direct sunlight.

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