“Think about what houseplants in your collection you are going to be incorporating in your Christmas décor and where you are going to place them,” advises award-winning houseplant expert Jade Murray, author of The Indoor Garden.
“Avoid decorating all your houseplants, just choose what you feel would be the best ones.”
Which plants should you use?
“Any houseplant can be jazzed up during the Christmas season. Some of the best plants for Christmas displays are parlour palms (Chamaedorea elegans), ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) and monsteras as they have stems which decorations can easily be attached to,” says Murray.
“Cacti are also a lovely choice of plant as they come in an array of different varieties and sizes, making them ideal for a Christmas table centre piece display. I also love incorporating bromeliads into indoor Christmas displays as they have striking brightly coloured flowers, which will surely add to the Christmas cheer. I like complementing them with classic nutcracker soldiers, a nostalgic symbol of Christmas.”
Have a look at your houseplants to see which have typical festive coloured foliage or flowers such as red and white, suggests garden podcaster and author Ellen Mary, who has just launched a plants and nature for wellbeing consultancy People Plants Wellbeing.
Often, simply grouping these and adding a bow or some ribbon can make a surprisingly easy Christmas houseplant corner, she says.
“Other plants that look ideal together at this time of year are combinations of red kalanchoe (flaming Katy) and pothos (devil’s ivy) in a container with the compost covered in moss”.
Standing a spathiphyllum (peace lily) and anthurium (flamingo flower) together look immediately festive just from the red, white and green colour mix but if you also wrap the pots with brown paper and a ribbon or some Christmas wrapping paper, you’ve created an easy festive houseplant display, Ellen Mary suggests.
Choose a colour theme, or Christmas scenery and stick to it to avoid the area looking overcrowded and cluttered, Murray advises.
“I recommend the ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to hanging Christmas decorations on your houseplants as you do not want to damage them. A few lightweight Christmassy items will do. The main aim is to set a scene around your houseplants as you still want to show off your plants’ natural beauty.”
Murray favours a nature theme, incorporating pine cones, acorns and velvet-style mushrooms. Incorporate red, gold and silver plant pots which will instantly add a Christmas vibe to your houseplant collection, she adds.
Place them wisely
“To really make an impact, group your houseplants together near a window to give them some extra light during the dark winter months and wrap wire string lights around them for a pop of festive sparkle,” says Claire Bishop, senior houseplant buyer for Dobbies Garden Centres.
“Styling them near a window means you’ll be able to admire the lights from both inside and out, and using lightweight wire lights will ensure your houseplants’ leaves won’t be damaged.
“For added warmth, style some battery-operated candles or tealights among smaller houseplants for a charming festive touch that will help your home feel cosy and festive, and brighten up any dark corner or shelf.”
Create botanical centrepieces
“When decorating a Christmas table, I use a variety of cacti, which are heat-tolerant and can survive quite well in our heated home environments during the winter festive season. Miniature cacti are inexpensive so you can achieve a dazzling Christmas table centre piece on a budget,” says Murray.
“Place different textured cacti in the centre of the table and decorate around them with festive items such as pine cones, acorns and a few Christmas baubles. This look can be easily achieved using a variety of succulents too.”
Ellen Mary suggests: “One large white flowering phalaenopsis orchid stood in the centre of a clear glass bowl filled with pinecones and baubles is a festive treat and easy to create.”
Instead of a traditional Christmas wreath, save some money by simply moving your trailing hedera (ivy) or pothos (devils ivy) to the mantelpiece and position the vines to lay along the mantel and around your Santa stockings, she advises.
Add some fairy lights and Christmas ornaments and it will look dazzling.
Bishop adds: “You can create a beautiful display by placing several small plants inside a large pot, bowl or tray and adding lights and baubles in complementing colours.
“Scale this down for a compact coffee table centrepiece and use mini baubles and lights for a magical effect. Just remember when creating your display to use LED lights as these don’t omit heat, meaning your houseplants will be safe.”
Make larger plants the alternative tree
If you don’t have the space for a tree, or you’re looking for an alternative, you could use a large houseplant, Bishop suggests.
“If you have a large houseplant such as a monstera, ficus or araucaria which has thicker branches or a moss pole for support, make this your statement piece for the season.
“Small baubles, wire lights and clip-on decorations will help this houseplant stand out and brighten up any dark corner. For extra height, raise it up on a planter or stand and style it in a festive coloured pot. Alternatively, a woven basket will give it a more rustic woodland look.”
All plants, pots and decorations which have been styled by Jade Murray are courtesy of Clifton Nurseries.
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