Holiday plants can dress up our indoors

Patricia Hanbidge

During the holiday season we adorn our homes with beautiful living plants. What a wonderful way to help winter become more bearable. After all, when it is -40 C outside, what better thing to do than stay inside where it is warm and enjoy the splendor of beautiful plants.

One of the nicest plants to grow is the amaryllis. This bold and beautiful plant is so easy to grow that even those of us with the brownest thumbs can manage to be rewarded with spectacular blooms. Simply pot up the bulb, put it in a sunny spot and water and feed it as you would your other tropical plants. Once the bloom is finished you can even keep the plant for another year and again enjoy the bloom with little effort on your part. Please note that I have noticed a number of amaryllis that are happily waxed in festive colours. These bulbs are not to be potted up or watered as they are using the resources that are available in the bulb itself. Once these amaryllis have bloomed the bulb is discarded

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The Chrismas Cactus is another plant that can grace your home during the holiday season with the first of many seasons of blooms. It is what is termed a “short-day” plant which simply means that it responds to decreased day length of our winter days by initiating bloom. This plant is another easy keeper that with a small amount of care will keep blooming for years to come. Water thoroughly when the service of the soil feels dry and keep it in bright light.

Ornamental peppers are fun and festive and bring another style of bloom to your home. The plant will produce an abundance of peppers that are first green, turning white, purple, orange and finally a brilliant red. It is a great short-term plant as you often will get every colour of pepper on the plant at the same time. They take little care and don’t mind being a little bit dry – an ideal thing when our humidity is at an all-time low.  They are unfortunately not a plant to keep for years but are generally discarded once the peppers are finished.

Another short-term plant is the Bromeliad. These exotic looking plants are sure to bring an impact to any holiday events you might be hosting in your home. They thrive in lower light environments and take very little care. They should be watered about once a week. There is one small difference in the care of bromeliads in comparison to other tropicals. The foliage forms a rosette in the centre of the plant which forms a funnel which should always be filled with water.

If you choose to grace your home with a real Christmas tree then here are a few tips that should help you to keep that tree as fresh as possible. Make sure that prior to putting your tree into water that it has a fresh cut in order to allow water to freely be absorbed by the tree. It is extremely important to keep the base of the trunk immersed in water in order to stop a resin film forming over the wood which impedes the absorption of water. You will find that for the first few days the tree is up, it will absorb a large amount of water. After the first few days the amount of water absorbed will decrease.

We hope that these tips help you in keeping your home festive and fresh throughout the holidays. We hope that the end of year brings you health, happiness and all the greenery you can stand. Best wishes to you and yours through this holiday season and we hope next year continues to bring the joy of gardening into the lives of you and yours. 

Hanbidge is a horticulturist with the School of Horticulture and can be reached at 306-931-GROW(4769); by email at; facebook: @schoolofhort; twitter: @horticulturepat; instagram: patyplant or check out our website at

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