Many stores feature gift plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cacti around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays but these aren’t the only plants that can be used as decorations. With a little imagination a beautiful plant can become the center focus of holiday decorating and remain after the holidays to lift the spirits all through winter.
Almost any green plant can be made festive by adding a brightly colored pot, a bow or even tiny decorations. For Thanksgiving you’ll want to decorate with harvest colors but after Thanksgiving the same plant can be re-decorated with Christmas colors, and the palette of colors used at Christmas has expanded in recent years from red and green to many other color combinations.
Common houseplants like Boston Ivy, palms, ribbon plant, ferns, philodendron, spider plants, Norfolk Island Pine and Jade plants make excellent decorations in pretty pots with ribbons. Pots of the herb rosemary make excellent holiday plants, fragrant when brushed. Sometimes you can find them sheared into a Christmas tree shape.
A less common plant called Frosty Fern is available only near the holidays. This lovely plant looks like the tips of its fronds are frosted white. Frosty Fern, Selaginiela Krausianna variegatus, is actually a club moss, a fern relative. It tolerates the low light decorative plants are often subjected to and looks lovely in a red pot. Rabbits Foot fern is also a good decorating choice.
Other great choices for exotic potted plant decorations include blooming orchids, gardenias, tropical hibiscus, and potted citrus or pomegranate trees. Miniature roses can often be found in stores. These tiny roses can bloom all winter in a sunny window.
Check any store that sells houseplants for an endless variety that could become holiday decorations or gifts. The nursery that sold you plants in the summer may sell houseplants and exotic tropicals in winter.
For Thanksgiving some artificial pumpkins or even small real gourds could be added to the pot. You can hollow out a small pumpkin and insert a plant in its pot. A large wicker basket with several green plants inserted then surrounded by mixed nuts in the shell, or bittersweet sprays, or artificial leaves in bright colors would be pretty.
For Christmas add artificial birds, or put tiny elves in the pot. Spray a few twisted branches with fake snow and insert in the pot. Try setting the potted plant in a bowl that’s larger than the pot and filling the bowl with glass Christmas ornaments. Insert a smaller pot into a clear glass vase or jar and totally surround the pot with tiny glass ornaments or even beads in your color scheme. Plastic confetti, tinsel, or plastic ribbon shreds could also fill the clear container. There is glittery plastic snow that you scatter on Christmas displays that could fill a container or even dust the top of a pot.
A clever party favor would be to glue a small wood square on the bottom of large glass Christmas balls to make them sit upright. Then remove the top of the ball which is usually a piece of metal held in place with tiny spring wires. Fill the ball with water and insert starter plants such as a small spider plant, which will grow in water for a while.
Wrap pots in colored foil and tie with a bow. Or use gift bags with the plant peeking out the top. Plants will need to be watered so if the item you wrap the plant in could be damaged by water, put the pot in a plastic bag or waterproof container first.
Take good care of your green decoration and it will survive the holiday. Try to place the decoration in good light or keep it only a few days in poor light situations. Water the pots when they are dry. Keep them out of cold drafts. Keep brown leaves pulled off and browned tips of leaves trimmed off.
Don’t use lights or heavy ornaments on green plants. Keep them away from candles and fireplaces or anything that gives off excessive heat. Don’t use spray on flocking or “snow” on live plants. When the holidays are over remove fancy coverings and place the plant where it gets the proper lighting for its type.