Traditional Christmas Plants

Selaginella martensii f. albovariegata – Okay, I’ll admit it, Christmas Fern really isn’t a traditional indoor plant, but given it’s popularity I have have no doubt that it will soon claim that status. This lycophyte (related to club moss) is native to Mexico and Central America and prefers bright indirect light, even moisture and a daily misting with warm water. Hardy to zone 10.

Hippeastrum ‘Pink Diamond’ – An elegant cultivar of Amaryllis with large rose-pink flowers, contrasted with white central accents. Plant the bulb (buy the biggest one)  6 to 8 weeks before you want it to bloom, using a small but heavy pot (terra cotta or ceramic) for counterweight, and make sure the top third of the bulb is still exposed. Other good Amaryllis include ‘Red Lion’ and ‘Minerva’.

Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Tricolor’ – Here is the perfect gift for the ‘decorating impaired’ or those who don’t have a clue what the recipient would like, as the red, white and pink bracts pretty well cover most bases. You can even create your own Tricolor poinsettia by potting up three generous 4″ plants together – such as ‘Mars White’, ‘Mars Pink’ and ‘Mars Red’, or the ‘Cortez’ series.

Narcissus ‘Ziva’ – Paperwhites are Tazetta Narcissus that are forced indoors for their fragrant white November to December blooms. Use a 12″ tall clear glass vase with 2″ of marbles or decor rock in the bottom, set the bulbs into this and water just to the base of the bulbs (no higher, or they will rot)  They will bloom 4-6 weeks after planting, growing 16 to 18″ high. Hardy to zone 9.

Schlumbergera truncata (syn. Zygocactus truncatus) There are actually several species of Christmas cactus out there, with the real rose-red one being Schlumbergera x buckleyi (syn. S. bridgesii). They come in pink, white, salmon and scarlet and prefer bright indirect light, daily misting and being allowed to dry out between waterings. Keep away from drafts and heat sources (furnace vents) to avoid bud drop. Native to Brazil.

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