Birds & Blooms
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.