12 plants of Christmas with Michael Perry

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Hello everyone!

Whilst I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Christmas, it’s the plants of the festive season that stop me from being a full on bah humbug…! Who can resist a holly wreath or the fluorescent glow of a Christmas cactus on the sideboard? This month, I will be looking at 12 super lovely seasonal plants that would work well as a gift to yourself, or a loved one!

I remember my Nana and Grandad spent weeks every year making holly wreaths in their cold shed at the top of the garden, hands lacerated by the sharp wires and prickly holly leaves. But their creations were loved by the surrounding neighbours and people that bought them at the end of the driveway. My Nana was also quite frugal, so would often re-flower her Poinsettia by herself, by placing it into a dark cupboard for a few weeks of the year.

I also remember the perfectly grown Hyacinths and Amaryllis. My Nana knew that the trick was to keep them growing cool until the moment you want to display them. This would keep stems stout and straight, and not floppy or too tall to manage. Then, of course, there was the Christmas tree… ironically, my plant-loving grandparents always had a fake one! However, my parents installed a lovely fresh potted one each year, and of course my earliest memories are not of presents on Christmas morning, but of stepping on needles in my bare feet. Ouch!

So, of course, with so much chat of Christmas in the air, this month’s QVC blog just had to be about festive plants and where to find them. So, sit back, put some jolly tunes on the radio, and let me guide you through the ’12 plants of Christmas’…

 

1. Hayloft Plants Tri-Colour Cactus with red pot cover

First up is a plant that actually has Christmas in its name, the Christmas Cactus! Not to be confused with the similar looking Easter Cactus, this plant is native to the rocky mountains of Brazil, and casually hangs out growing from rocks in the wild. In the home, its needs are a little different, enjoying most rooms of the home and it isn’t too thirsty either.

I’m sure you have a relative with a 30-year old specimen, which miraculously re-blooms every year… that’s testament to how easy to grow they can be! But, there’s a difference with our QVC offering, as three plants have been placed together into one pot, which gives the effect of a tricolour flower display. Akin to fairy lights on a Christmas tree, your Tri-Colour Cactus will bloom and bloom over Christmas and into the New Year! Sit back and enjoy the show!

 

2. Thompson & Morgan Begonia Beserba Rosebud in a zinc pot

Not as traditional as the Christmas Cactus, but definitely not to be overlooked, is the Begonia. Recent breeding has developed the species Elatior into a strong windowsill plant with showing, festive red blooms. You’ll be amazed at the longevity of flowering from these months, they certainly aren’t just for Christmas.

The rather majestic appearance of this Begonia Beserba Rosebud makes it suitable as a centrepiece for any festive meal, and I bet a few friends will be trying to sneak a cutting too…!

 

3. Plant2Gardens Camellia Freedom Bell

People often imagine Camellias are more difficult to grow than they appear, but that’s not the case. They also suit container growing well, and this variety ‘Freedom Bell’ maxes out at 1.5m tall, so is great for urban spaces.

One of the first shrubs to show its wares in the first few months of the year, Camellia dazzle like fairy lights, with huge pompom flowerheads. Rather than being a houseplant, this is an outdoor shrub, so it will last for years, and prove to be the gift that keeps on giving…

Take a look at the Plant2Gardens Camellia Freedom Bell here.

 

4. Plants2Gardens Tea Plant with a decorative planter

I often give presentations around the UK and show people where a lot of our everyday products come from, and one of the most fascinating to people is tea. Most people simply don’t realise that tea is actually the leaf tips of a type of Camellia! That’s right, Camellia sinensis is a gorgeous species with glossy foliage and pretty silk white flowers. In the UK’s cool climate, it is possible to grow your own harvest too!

Tea Plants can be grown in patio containers, and tips can be harvested every few weeks during the growing period. To make black tea, you allow them to wither once cut, then you roll them to release the juices and oils, finally roasting them in the oven. You could even give your blend its own name! Time to put the kettle on…

 

5. Mont Rose set of three Gaultheria plant in 9cm pots

An interesting, and less prickly, alternative to berrying Holly plants in your garden… the Gaultheria is a low-growing plant, which looks super lovely in patio pots or as ground cover in the border. It puts up with a lot of shade, so can be useful beneath trees and shrubs. During the winter, the plants are covered in shiny red berries, often coinciding with the ruby-red autumn colours of the foliage.

The pretty berrying plants would look great as a centrepiece on your festive dinner table, and did you know they’re edible too… the flavour is minty and used to flavour some ice creams in America!

Check out the Mont Rose Set of three Gaultheria plant in 9cm pots.

 

6. Hayloft Plants Waxed Amaryllis in a glass vase with pebbles

The ultimate present for those friends and family who protest that they ‘kill every plant they try to grow’… hmm, they won’t fail with Amaryllis bulbs. First up, all the goodness (i.e. the flower and leaves) is already stored in the bulb, tucked away until it comes out of dormancy. Furthermore, the waxy outer coating keeps moisture locked in. All the recipient needs to do is… err… place the gift on the table or shelf. That’s it!

Sleekly designed, and fascinating to watch as the stems emerge, with a finale of showy flowers. It’s quite the spectacle! This Waxed Amaryllis from Hayloft Plants is nicely presented in a cylindrical glass vase with metallic pebbles.

 

7. Thompson & Morgan Elodie Unicorn planter & Succulent Plant

Here’s a fab present for kids, and anyone with a thirst for the new houseplant trend! A ceramic Unicorn planter supplied with spiky, cute succulents. Easy to grow, requiring hardly any water and living for many years.

This would be a perfect stocking filler, although make sure the box has a ‘this way up’ label on its side!

 

8. Hayloft Plants Hyacinth Basket with lights

Hyacinths… their fragrance is the epitome of Christmas, it’s sweet and seductive! Sometimes I feel like Christmas isn’t Christmas without that fragrance somewhere in the home. Decorative and ready for gifting, these Hyacinth Baskets with lights will also double up as a Christmas decoration!

Grow in a cooler room for shorter, tighter blooms, bringing them into their final flowering spot just before they open up!

 

9. Thompson & Morgan Woodland Cyclamen planter

Here’s a fairy garden for the home or festive doorstep! We brought this to air a few weeks ago and it was incredibly popular. The detail on the outer pot is incredible, and matches well with the delicate nature of these miniature Cyclamen!

For kids, or even big kids, this Woodland Cyclamen Planter can be used all year round, imagine putting your favourite summer blooms into it and creating a welcome to your home! Such a cool gift, this one!

 

10. Thompson & Morgan RosAroma Scented Rose Blush in 22cm zinc trough

How about changing things up a little bit with the fragrance of summer roses throughout your winter home? Hybrid breeding has created a pot rose with some of the largest blooms ever seen, and the fragrance they pump out will soon be wafting around your home!

Displayed in a rather fabulous silver trough, the RosAroma Scented Rose Blush will flower intermittently the rest of the year too, and you may even want to try it as an outdoor plant, perhaps mixed up in your summer pots!

 

11. Hayloft Plants 2 x Blue Angel Christmas Holly & Blue Prince Holly in 10.5cm pot

Holly plants are often for sale, but can sometimes be disappointing when you find they don’t create any flowers… that can be due to pollination. You need a male and a female to produce berries. This new pack has both male and female, so lots of shiny red berries are guaranteed! Not only that, the foliage is blue, and gets bluer the colder it is…

The perfect welcome for your doorstep, you could place both Blue Angel Christmas and Blue Prince Holly plants side by side, or even plant into them the same container. The dazzling effect of the red berries against the blue foliage is super sexy!

 

12. Plants2Gardens Potted Nordmann Christmas Tree

Finally, which Christmas plant couldn’t we do without… oh, yes, the Christmas tree! The very best type too, with large needles that seldom fall to the floor, meaning you won’t need to wear slippers all of December!

Potted Christmas trees also last longer and are easier to care for, plus you’ll find you can plant them outside afterwards, perhaps using them again in year two! Try this Potted Nordmann Christmas Tree from Plant2Gardens.

 

I hope you enjoy incorporating some of these festive plant ideas into your own indoor and outdoor spaces!

Michael

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