Give the gift of flowers this Christmas

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the flower lovers in your life, look no further. I’m all about flowers all year round, and there’s nothing better than a gift that keeps on growing long after Christmas has ended.

From fantastic winter-flowering house plants that really shine at Christmas time, to lovely December flowering herbaceous plants and bulbs, these will flower just in time to make a beautiful Christmas gift or for a great floral Christmas display.

It is common to find pretty gift pots of these flowers in the shops in the run up to Christmas, or why not choose a beautiful planter yourself and put together a really personal, thoughtful Christmas gift.

Here’s a little low down of a few floral gift ideas this Christmas!


Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera

They’re also really easy to look after - they need light but not direct sunlight, and shouldn’t be overwatered.

If you were so inclined they’re also easy to propagate - just break off a piece where two section join, dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone and tuck it into some new soil. Perhaps buy one for yourself, and grow some new ones from cuttings each year for gifts.

(Image by Vikki Lambert Kimbrough from Pixabay)


Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)


Amaryllis, Hippeastrum

These bulbs are easy to grow and keep coming back year after year with very little effort. I know this because I was gifted one that I don’t really spend much time on and it is still going strong.

They have beautiful big bright blooms on tall vertical stems in the winter around Christmas time adding a much needed floral addition to the home in winter.

If you buy it as a bulb, water sparingly until new leaves develop and then water regularly. To keep the flower stalk growing straight turn the plant regularly to stop it bending towards the light.

There are so many great varieties and colours, but you might like to try these recommended by the RHS: Hippeastrum ‘Belinda’ for deep crimson flowers, Hippeastrum ‘Bestseller’ for cerise pink flowers, and Hippeastrum ‘Star of Holland for red with white markings.

(Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay)


Pointsettia



This festive coloured houseplant has become a firm favourite in the UK as a Christmas gift. Originating in Mexico it has become the ultimate in botanical home decoration over the Christmas period, second only to the Christmas tree. They have a slightly bad reputation for being an awkward plant to keep looking good long term, causing many to throw away their plant after the season ends and buy another one next Christmas. The truth is that poinsettias need 12 hours of complete darkness a day for their leaves to naturally develop from green to red. This can occur naturally as the winter nights get longer from October, but you can create your own kind of blackout conditions. Some people keep them shut in a wardrobe or cupboard.

Cold temperatures can damage the foliage so keep it protected when you leave the shop. Water sparingly and give them some humidity - mist them with water regularly.

If you want to keep your plant for next year there is some great advice on the RHS website about how to get yours to last til next Christmas and save it from the compost heap.

Alternatively, just enjoy the bright red leaves while they last for the Christmas season.

(Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay)


Hyacinth bulbs



Spring Hyacinths can be forced in the autumns months to produce beautifully fragrant Christmas gifts, or to brighten up and decorate your home. These bulbs can be a wonderful floral addition to your home over the Christmas period when grown in pots, indoors. You can grow these yourself from a bulb if you start early enough, but you can also buy them ‘in the green’ with the shoots already showing; they won’t take long to grow and put on flowers.

If growing yourself from a bulb, keep them in the dark until the shoots appear and then put them in a bright, cool position not too close to a heat source. Water when the compost dries out.

Enjoy the fantastic scent of these gorgeous flowers in your home.

Transplant your bulbs into the garden after flowering and they will keep flowering again outdoors in subsequent years.

(Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay)


Daffodils


Narcissus papyraceus

The early flowering paper-white daffodil, Narcissus papyraceus is a really lovely and original gift for Christmas, or as floral decoration in your home.

It has delicate, small white flowers on long stalks which can make part of a lovely table display at Christmas time, with the added bonus that they have the strongest scent of all the Narcissus. Each stem can bear up to 10 pure white flowers.

They will usually flower from March/April time in the garden, and you can plant out your indoor bulbs in the garden so that they can keep flowering outdoors in future years.

(Image by Kate Cox from Pixabay)


Cyclamen


Cyclamen

These little beauties can grow outdoors or as a Christmas houseplant. Their distinctive and unusual petals can look like they in flight, and stand above pretty heart shaped green leaves. They come in a range of colours from white through pink and red to purple, and can bloom continuously through the winter months if given the right conditions. For this they need lots of bright, indirect sunlight, good humidity, fresh air, and shouldn’t be overwatered.

Like the hyacinth and narcissus above, they work well when planted on in the garden after flowering.

(Image by Big_Heart from Pixabay)


Hellebore


Hellebore - 'Christmas rose'

Last but not least, this gorgeous winter flowering plant isn’t called the Christmas rose for nothing. While it’s not as suited to living indoors as the others listed above, it certainly makes a beautiful and timely gift this time of year that will keep flowering again and again in the garden for years to come. There are so many beautiful varieties of Hellebore in many colours and patterns. Helleborus ‘Christmas Carol’ is Sarah Raven’s recommendation - it has snow white flowers from winter to spring, which fade to blush pink as they age. Or how about Hellebore ‘Winter Sunshine’, which has cream flowers changing to purple later in the season.

(Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay)


In a time of throwaway consumerism, it’s lovely to give a gift that can live on in the home or garden and keep flowering year after year.


Other bulbs that can be forced in autumn in time for christmas flowering are Muscari (grape hyacinth), early flowering Alliums, tulips, crocus and Iris reticulate.


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