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Unique Christmas Plants

Christmas plants are a great gift giving idea for those “hard to buy for” people on your Christmas list. From the traditional poinsettia, Christmas cactus or amaryllis available at this time of year, greenhouse growers all over the world are constantly looking at marketing new plants or innovative ways of forcing out of season existing varieties to bloom out of season for something a little out of the ordinary. The following are some of the most unique alternatives which should not be overlooked this Christmas season.

Calla LilyCalla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
  • native of South Africa

  • original wild species reach 3-4' in height

  • beautiful deep green foliage with creamy rounded flowers

  • sunny location indoors

  • water only when soil feels dry to the touch, as too much water can rot the tuber

  • after flowering, allow foliage to die back, withhold water, cut stems to ground level and store in a cool dark place til spring

  • by March or April the tuber will begin to sprout

  • pot up in a good potting mix placing the tuber at a 45º angle

Christmas RoseChristmas Rose (Helleborus niger)
  • a perennial in our climate

  • a winter bloomer that has emerged as a popular plant for the holiday season, blooms winter through spring

  • large single 2” white blooms over thick shiny evergreen leaves

  • native to the mountainous regions of Europe including Switzerland, Austria and Germany

  • indirect or direct light indoors

  • keep evenly moist at temperatures of 15-20ºC

Hydrangea Shooting StarHydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • we carry two distinctive varieties for the Christmas season, probably the most unique being “Shooting Star” which is a lacecap variety, meaning flowers are open clusters with individual florets cascading from the clusters themselves in a star shape

  • flowers of this variety sport the usual tight cluster of white blooms similar to the ones seen in gardens in Alberta in late summer

  • both varieties must never be allowed to dry out extensively – they love water

  • prefer bright light indoors and appreciate the occasional watering of a solution of vinegar and water (2 tbsp/gal water) to keep the soil acidic and ensure good health

Lemon CypressLemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
  • a wonderful soft textured cone shaped lime green evergreen available at this time of year with an intense lemony fragrance when brushed

  • prefers being near a sunny window in a cool environment

  • water only when soil feels dry to the touch making sure water runs out the bottom of the pot

  • avoid overwatering

  • avoid draughts and heat registers

  • mist regularly or place on a pebble tray

  • used widely in living plant arrangements

MockorangeMockorange (Philadelphus 'Snowbelle')
  • a hardy dwarf compact shrub hardy outdoors in our climate

  • double white large clusters of blooms which drip with a fragrant citrus perfume

  • best in a sunny window

  • keep evenly moist to slightly dry during the winter month

  • plant outdoors come spring for the shrub to develop into its full potential

Moth OrchidMoth Orchid (Phalaenopsis cvs.)
  • easy to grow (contrary to popular belief)

  • flowers last for months

  • allow to dry out between watering

  • tolerates low light levels

  • fertilize all year – half strength 25-10-10 every time you water (weakly, weekly)

  • after flowering cut stalk back

  • to re-bloom, allow a 10º difference between day and night temperatures to initiate bud formation

Star of BethlehemStar of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum 'Snowflake')
  • native to Australia

  • bright green fleshy leaves forming a rosette

  • 15” tall spikes of white star shaped blooms lasting for weeks

  • keep evenly moist to slightly dry

  • prefers a sunny to partially sunny location indoors

  • after flowering foliage will yellow

  • cut back, stop fertilizing and allow to die back and dry out

  • will re-bloom within 5-6 months

Madagascar JasmineMadagascar Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)
  • grown for its glossy leaves and clusters of long white star shaped tubular flowers with a wonderful sweet, inviting fragrance

  • prefers a sunny location indoors

  • keep on the dry side during the winter

  • prefers humidity; mist or place on a pebble tray

  • waxy blooms last for months

  • water at half strength 20-20-20 weakly, weekly

  • native to Madagascar

WintergreenWintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • a hardy evergreen perennial ground cover used in a woodland garden on the prairies

  • 6” tall with scalloped glossy dark green leaves

  • foliage has a strong wintergreen scent when crushed

  • urn shaped what to pale pink blooms in summer and fall with aromatic scarlet fruit that persists through the winter

  • berries are edible and taste like wintergreen gum

  • keep evenly moist indoors in direct or indirect light

  • plant outdoors in spring to enjoy for years to come

MyrtleMyrtle (Myrtus communis)
  • an evergreen indoor shrub native to the Mediterranean and protected in Israel due to its biblical significance

  • bushy leather leaves that when crushed exude a soft eucalyptus scent

  • leaves can be dried for potpourris and used to flavour pork and game dishes

  • fragrant solitary bowl shaped white flowers are produced in profusion followed by fleshy edible berries

  • prefer evenly moist soil, do not allow to dry out

  • direct to indirect light

  • avoid heat registers


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