Top 10 Christmas plants

Pack your garden and home with these festive favourites and you’ll have plenty of interest to brighten up even the dullest winter day

Common winterberry

The orange-red berries of this shrub intensify in colour as winter progresses. Unlike holly, the trees lose their leaves in winter to fully expose the handsome berries. Likes a sunny spot and can reach 5m tall.
Latin name: Ilex verticillata

Christmas cactus

This stunning houseplant blooms on or around the winter solstice. It prefers a steady, cool temperature that’s free of draughts and heat sources. Let the compost dry out between waterings. Place on a sunny windowsill and it will thrive.


Not, at first glance, an obvious festive plant, but evergreen rosemary has its advantages at this time of year. Use the evergreen sprigs to create a dense, aromatic wreath, or use them in Christmas arrangements. It needs a free-draining soil and plenty of sun.


Perhaps the most charismatic and much-loved of the Christmas plants, holly will add colour with its rich-red berries and shiny leaves, as well as acting as a feed source for hungry garden birds. Unruly plants can be kept in check by pruning back branches as required.

Christmas rose

This remarkable perennial blooms outdoors in the depths of winter. The pretty, saucer-like flowers are complemented by thick, leathery foliage that looks good year-round. Prefers dappled shade and makes a great ground-cover choice.
Latin name: Helleborus niger


How about having a go at growing your own? Pick plump, ripe, pure-white berries that haven’t dried out and smear these onto the undersides of 20cm-diameter branches in late winter. Suitable host trees include apple, pear, rowan, pyracantha and cotoneaster.


A Christmas favourite that needs no introduction! Grow your poinsettia in a bright spot clear of temperature fluctuations. Keep the compost moist but never let plants sit in water. Pinch out the flowers once the red leaves have started to fall.

Christmas orchid

Try this Columbian native for a splash of sophistication. The orchid reaches floriferous splendor in late winter following an autumn rest period. After flowering lightly mist plants on sunny days to encourage new growth.
Latin name: Cattleya trianae


Ivies aren’t dull! They come in a wide variety of shapes, colours and leaf sizes, though all will trail or climb. Plant in spring, setting plants 30cm apart in a shady spot. Ivy can be left to climb up a wall or over trellis. Many produce handsome berries to complement holly.

Norway spruce

This is the traditional Christmas tree, though there are plenty of others that could claim the crown. Norway spruce is a beautiful tree with short, dark-green needles. Prefers a well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Beware, as it can reach 40m tall!
Latin name: Picea abies

Inside or out, there is a surprising variety of plants that bloom or look their best at this time of year

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