Celebrate flowers in December
Discover some seasonal superstars for the Christmas season, with Isabelle Palmer
|At its best
As festive decorations start going up and Christmas excitement grows, let’s not forget about the plants that flower at this time of year. Whilst there isn’t an abundance of flowers on offer now, here are four plants I love in the cold winter month of December.
More Christmas planting inspiration:
- Shilpa Reddy's five favourite Christmas plants
- Top tips for plants at Christmas
- Alternative Christmas house plants
Plants featured in this video
Narcissus 'Paperwhite Ziva'
Poinsettias may get all the attention around Christmas, but I’m a bigger fan of Narcissus ‘Paperwhite Ziva’. These wonderful narcissus bulbs grow indoors over winter and feature clusters of small, beautifully-scented crisp white flowers from tall green stems. If you planned ahead, you may have forced them from bulbs, but you’ll also find them ready-to-go from most garden centres. These make a wonderful table decoration dressed with moss at the base and a selection of added twigs from the garden to make a truly stunning Christmas display.
Helleborus niger are one of my favourite flowers, boosting any garden scheme, container or indoor display. They are known as the Christmas rose since they flower in winter; although it's not actually part of the rose family. They flower from December through to mid spring and even after the blooms fade they still have a wonderfully decadent feel and bring a froth of summery delight to your winter garden.
These hardy perennials grow well in shade in well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy, try growing them in a container, with some grit added to the compost to improve the drainage. A large container is best, as they have an extensive root system.
Beauty berry 'Snow Queen'
The white beauty berry ‘Snow Queen’ (Callicarpa bodinieri) is a fantastic, and unusual form of deciduous shrub with delicate pink flowers in summer and large clusters of white, bead-like berries that appear in the autumn and continue right through the winter. The bare branches filled with pure white berries look beautiful in Christmas arrangements and dotted around the home, plus they’ll brighten up any winter garden – and will be popular with birds.
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While ivy has a presence year-round, it shouldn’t be overlooked in winter. With its festive star-like leaves, it symbolises new growth and is said to bring good luck. Ivy also brings an abundance of decorative charm, not only to the garden with its vibrant green but can decorate Christmas wreaths and hearths intertwined with offcuts of spruce. Ivy has a vigorous growth habit; so much of your care might involve pruning it back to where you want it. Why not try more unusual forms of English ivy such as Hedera helix ‘Pink ’n’ Curly’ which is a bushy plant, with waved, curly leaves?
Whatever you choose, or wherever you plant or decorate your festive landscape, enjoy it all. The natural world offers us a beautiful panoply throughout the entire year.