Grow your own Christmas

By Friday, September 9, 2016 0 1

 

This year, why not try a more personal twist on classic floral Christmas decorations by growing them yourself? Though the tree gets all the attention, Christmas has always been a flower-filled holiday, from Mistletoe to Poinsettias. Right now, as the sun sets on summer, it’s the perfect time to fill your garden with festive growers that will bloom just in time to create homemade wreaths and garlands.

 

Some of the below plants are naturally at their finest during winter, which has led to their use in traditional decorations. Others are available as “prepared” bulbs – a Victorian based practice in which bulbs are heat treated before they’re sold, which forces them to flower sooner. Plant them in Autumn for fresh flowers around mid-December.

 

Paperwhite narcissus

A beautiful addition to Christmas centrepieces, these fragrant flowers are grown from specially prepared bulbs so that they’re forced to flower within six to eight weeks. Plant them strategically in advance to enjoy their bright freshness as you’re setting up your Christmas decorations. The most popular variety is the “Ziva”, for their snowy white flowers; though the “Grand Soleil d’Or” variety is excellent for adding a golden touch to a festive bouquet.

 

 

Hyacinths

 

Another plant available as “prepared” bulbs (though you can also get untreated bulbs, that will flower in Spring), forcing Hyacinths to bloom at Christmas originally comes from a Finnish tradition, though is now common due to the flowers vibrant appearance and beautiful fresh scent. Different variations will take different lengths of time to grow, but generally speaking planting prepared bulbs in the last week of September to the first week of October will have them flowering by Christmas. Keep them indoors for best results – low temperatures will delay growth.

 

Hippeastrum

These South American plants are popular gifts for Christmas, particularly the deep crimson “H. Belinda”, cerise “H. Bestseller” and vibrant red “H. Red Lion” cultivars, due to their festive star shaped flowers. They’re also easy to grow, which adds to the appeal, and are also available as prepared bulbs – taking around 10 weeks to flower. As well as being a delightful gift, they make a beautiful accompaniment to Christmas decorations and a good alternative to poinsettias in a floral arrangement.

 

 

Holly

One of the most iconic plants around Christmas time, with its deep glossy green branches contrasting with vibrant red berries, Holly bushes have a perfect festive appearance that’s widely used in decorations and designs. Though they’re slow growing, Holly bushes can last decades and the best time to plant one is now, as we enter Autumn. Keep in mind though that there are male and female varieties of holly bushes and there will need to be one of each near each other in order for the bright berries to grow on the female plant, if you’re looking for that classic Christmas look.

 

 

Poinsettias

Another classic Christmas flower, it’s unfortunately too late if you were hoping to grow your own Poinsettia by December. However a list of Christmas plants would be incomplete without them, so consider adding them to your growing plans for next year. Best planted in springtime, around May, from a softwood cutting, their large red flowers tend to come out in December. They are widely available in shops around Christmas, but if you want them to last and keep their colour next year it’s best to prune and repot them in April, and leave them to grow in a light, cool place over summer. They should be kept away from artificial light as the naturally short days of winter are what initiate the flowering and bract colouring.

Let us know if you’ve planning to grow any of these festive flowers for Christmas, or if you have any other varieties that you like to mix in to your decorations. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ for all the latest CTL updates right in your social feed.

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