Decorating for the holidays is not an easy task. Apart from the aesthetic, you also have to keep symbolism and modern trends in mind. This is why we have created a list of 13 Christmas plants to help you decorate your home and offer some fun green-thumb trivia to your guests.

1. Amaryllis

amaryllis Christmas plant

Image by Aka Hige; license under CC BY-SA 2.0

Move over Poinsettia, Amaryllis may just become the most popular Christmas plant. Sporting velvety red bell-shaped flowers, this bulbous elegant plant is gaining popularity by the year, adorning homes and restaurants during the holidays.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Poisonous to pets

Other names

Belladonna lily, Naked lady, Amarillo, Easter lily
Temperature

Temperature

68 - 70 Fahrenheit (20-21 Celsius)
Native to

Native

South Africa

2. Cyclamen

Cyclamen Christmas flower

Image by Rebecca Partington; license under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the Victorian era, the Cyclamen was the go-to Christmas flower. In time, it was replaced by the now most popular Christmas plant, Poinsettia. However, the delicate, sturdier, beginner-friendly Cyclamen is making a comeback during the holiday season.

Also known as the poor man’s orchid, this colorful plant’s flowers can last up to 2-3 months, their color varying.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Toxic to pets

Other Names

Poor man's orchid, Sowbread, Alpine violet
Temperature

Temperature

Prefers cooler temperatures
Native to

Native

Europe

3. Dendranthema X grandiflorum

Dendranthema X grandiflorum Christmas flower

Image by 阿橋 HQ license under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bearing rich symbolism, the Chrysanthemums should occupy a noteworthy place in your home during the holidays, especially if you’re thinking about placing floral centerpieces on the table. Long associated with joy and optimism, the yellow flower was offered as a declaration of friendship during the Victorian era.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Toxic to pets

Other Names

Mums, Chrysanths
Temperature

Temperature

Above freezing temperatures, some varieties thrive in colder environments.
Native to

Native

China

4. Hedera

Hedera Christmas flower

Image by billac license under CC BY 2.0

Ivy has been at the core of holiday celebrations since forever. Farmers used to feed their cattle a spring of ivy on Christmas Eve to ward of evil spirits. Others used an ivy leaf to determine their future. And there are the most pragmatic ones that used ivy wood to carve intricate goblets that would (please note the conditional) counteract the effects of alcohol poisoning.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Poisonous

Other Names

Ivy, Bindwood, Lovestone
Temperature

Light Requirements

Can thrive in multiple light conditions from bright filtered light to low light
Native to

Native

Europe, N-E Africa, Asia

5. Helleborus niger

Helleborus niger Christmas flower

Image by Thomas Kholer license under CC BY 2.0

Commonly known as the Christmas rose, the Hellenborus niger has nothing in common with the rose. A part of the buttercup family, it’s an evergreen poisonous perennial plant that flowers in the holiday season.

The Christmas rose gained its name from an old legend. It is said that a young girl from Bethlehem wanted to present baby Jesus with a present, but had nothing to give and started crying in despair. As her tears hit the white layer of snow, a beautiful, delicate flower sprouted from the ground.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Poisonous

Other names

Christmas rose, Black hellebore
Temperature

Temperature

It needs above freezing temperatures to thrive
Native to

Native

Europe and Asia

6. Hydrangea

Hydrangea Christmas flower

Image by Syoko Matsumura  license under CC BY 2.0

The colorful hydrangea made this list because of its rich symbolism. Representing beauty, grace, and, most importantly, gratitude, the hydrangea’s generous flowers and harmonious colors make it the perfect Christmas centerpiece.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Poisonous

Other Names

Hortensia, penny mac
Temperature

Light requirements

Full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon
Native to

Native

Asia and South America

7. Ilex aquifolium

Ilex Christmas flower

Image by The Greenery Nursery and Garden Shop license under CC BY 2.0

Sporting evergreen leaves, Ilex – or traditionally, holly – has always been associated with life. Nowadays, we use wreaths of holly to decorate our homes for the holidays as they symbolize faithful love and everlasting friendship – you know – the spirit of the holidays.

Moreover, holly bears deep meaning in Christian tradition as it is considered a symbol of Jesus Christ, himself. According to Christian literature, holly’s sharp leaves symbolize Christ’s crown of thorns, the berries are the drops of blood He spilled for humanity, and the shape of the flower is an analogy to God’s burning love for humankind.

Toxicity

Toxicity

VERY TOXIC to humans and pets

Other Names

Holly,evergreen winterberry, inkberry holly, gallberry, and bitter gallberry
Temperature

Light requirements

Prefers partial shade but can tolerate direct sunlight.
Native to

Native

North America

8. Mistletoe

Mistletoe Christmas flowers

Image by designatednaphour license under CC BY 2.0

Hanging mistletoe in the house is a tradition that dates back to the Druids. They believed that the parasitical plant holds supernatural powers and can ward off malevolent spirits and bring luck to the house. The custom was reinterpreted over the years and the plant gained a romantic feature to it as it is known that you must kiss your loved one under the mistletoe as the Greeks always associated it with fertility.

Toxicity

Toxicity

VERY TOXIC - deadly to pets, very harmful for humans

Other names

Viscum
Temperature

Temperature

Not enough data for this plant, but it has thrived in conditions from 5 to 35 Celsius.
Native to

Native

Europe, Africa and Asia

9. Narcissus papyraceus

Narcissus papyraceus Christmas flowers

Image by houroumono license under CC BY 2.0

Paperwhites, a member of the daffodil family sporting star-shaped white fragrant flowers have become a traditional Christmas flower that adorns festive locations. A perennial bulbous plant, the Narcissus papyraceus usually blooms in early spring but can be forced to bloom on Christmas when grown indoors.

Toxicity

Toxicity

All parts are toxic and can cause severe irritations and an upset stomach.

Other names

Paperwhite
Temperature

Temperature

Prefers cool temperatures
Native to

Native

Mediterranean region

10. Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis Christmas flower

Image by CthreeA Cyprus license under CC BY 2.0

The symbol of solidarity, femininity, elegance, and spirituality, the Phalaenopsis is considered the perfect Christmas gift. From blue to yellow, white and salmon, these delicate flowers have become somewhat of a holiday staple.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Safe for pets

Other names

Moth orchid
Temperature

Temperature

They enjoy the same temperatures as your average plant lover
Native to

Native

Tropical countries

11. Rhododendron

Rhododendron Christmas flowers

Image by slgckgc license under CC BY 2.0

Also bearing the name Christmas Cheer, Rhododendron is a shrub from the Azalea family that typically blooms in late winter – early spring. Its cheerful pink flowers usually bring a spot of color in any outdoor or indoor garden during the holidays.

Toxicity

Toxicity

All parts of the plant are poisonous

Other names

Snow-rose, alpenrose, Christmas Cheer
Temperature

Temperature

Can withstand up to -35 F (around 0 Celsius)
Native to

Native

Asia (the national flower of Nepal)

12. Rosemary

Rosemary Christmas flower

Image by Judy Gallagher license under CC BY 2.0

Rosemary may seem like a strange addition to a list of Christmas plants but hear us out. This fragrant herb has been long associated with the holiday season but lost its popularity at the beginning of the century when it was replaced by more spectacular Christmas plants.

Rosmarinus, aka dew of the sea, has long been associated with Christmas. While nobody can really pint point where it started being considered a holiday plant, the general consensus is that the association occurred because of the herb’s traditional meaning of love, friendship, and loyalty.

The rosemary shrub is an easy-maintenance Christmas plant that can bring flavor and freshness to your home.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Can cause intestinal irritation and kidney damage if ingested in large quantities.

Other names

Compass Plant, Compass Weed, Encensier, Herbe Aux Couronnes, Old Man, Polar Plant, Romarin, Romarin Des Troubadours, Romero, Rose de Marie, Rose Des Marins, Rosée De Mer, Rosemarine, Rosmarinus officinalis, Rusmari, Rusmary.
Temperature

Temperature

Warm temperatures with good air circulation
Native to

Native

Mediterranean region

13. Schlumbergera x buckleyi

Schlumbergera x buckleyi Christmas flowers

Image by OakleyOriginals license under CC BY 2.0

This quaint member of the cacti family gets its name after its blooming period. While in North America it is known as the Christmas cactus because its flowers bloom in late November – mid-December, in South America it bears the name of Easter cactus because it blooms around April.

While there is no story of yore to tie the Schlumbergera x buckleyi to the holidays, we decided to include it in this list of must-have Christmas plants because of its beautiful flowers (that can honestly rival Christmas tree decorations) and it’s peculiar blooming habits.

Toxicity

Toxicity

Non-toxic. Can cause mild stomach issues to pets if ingested.

Other names

Christmas cactus, Holiday cactus, True Christmas cactus, Crab cactus
Temperature

Temperature

They love cool temperatures, but can't tolerate freezing conditions. Keep out of burning sunlight.
Native to

Native

Brazil

We hope that this list of Christmas plants will help you decide on unique, fragrant home decorations this holiday season. As you may have probably notices we decided to leave out the top two contenders – the Christmas tree and Poinsettia because let’s be honest, they’re way too on the nose.

Happy holidays green thumbers!

info@youhadmeatgardening.com'

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