Not to be a Scrooge, but the typical potted poinsettia plant is a little over done. Each December, literally millions of these traditional Christmas time blooms are sold around the country and have become not only the staple flower of the holidays, but they account for almost one quarter of all flowering potted plant sales in the US. Ironically, the red iconic blooms of the poinsettia are not actually flowers, but highly pigmented leaves. The real flower are the tiny yellow ones at the center of the red bracts that now also come in white, pink, marbled, speckled and curled. Even with all the new and different varieties to choose from, it can sometimes be a bit repetitive to buy the same plant year after year. If you are looking for something a little different this holiday season, you have several lovely choices that are new and festive- and not poinsettias- to choose from.
This gigantic bulb is available from many of the same places that sell poinsettias and is so fun to watch grow and develop. Planted in a bit of soil or gravel, the leaves and bud emerge and reach as tall as 3 feet high before 4 trumpet shaped blooms burst open in reds, white, pinks and all sorts of stripped varieties. The blooms themselves are larger than a hand and will last for a week or more. Try finding three bulbs that are at different stages (one with leaves already up and another completely dormant) for a month or more of blooms. These look great in all the same places you would put a poinsettia and can be lined with green moss or wrapped in a sparkling ribbon for a bit of holiday cheer.
Many people don’t realize that lemons, limes and oranges are at their prime when the winter holidays roll around. Short, dwarf varieties such as Meyers lemon and Calamondin orange make amazing potted plants for the house all year round. They are flowering and fruiting around November and December and are so cheerful and bright as houseplants or out on the patio when warmer weather comes. Try choosing one several feet high and hanging a few ornaments on it as well.
The red flowering varieties of this small houseplant are even brighter in color than a typical poinsettia and they are much easier to care for. While the typical poinsettia is tossed after blooming, the easy-going cyclamen can be put in a window or sunny room for years to come. They tend to bloom in the months with shorter days and have gorgeous, patterned leaves, which makes them a pleasure to look at all year round.
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