10 Holiday Flowers and Trees: Adding Greenery to Festivities

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we’re already decorating or on the lookout for ways to bring the festive spirit into our home. While ornaments, lights and other décor certainly play their part, holiday flowers and trees offer a unique and natural touch. So, when you deck the halls this year, include these flowers and trees that last all season.

In this article:

  • Types of Holiday Flowers and Trees
  • Holiday Trees
    • Live Tree
    • Artificial
  • Holiday Flowers
    • Amaryllis
    • Bromeliad
    • Cyclamen
    • English Holy
    • Holiday Cactus
    • Mistletoe
    • Paperwhites
    • Poinsettia
  • Decorating with Holiday Flowers

Types of Holiday Flowers and Trees

Holiday Trees

Live or artificial for the most iconic symbol of the season? Choosing the right one can be a big decision based on family traditions, budget or even sustainability.

Live Trees

Photo by Mike Blank/Unsplash

In many households, its non-negotiable. It’s a festive and family tradition to travel to your local nursery or tree farm and bring home a fresh tree. Live trees have several benefits to the environment like being turned into mulch, wood chips or firewood and the choice to recycle your tree after the holiday season.

Heading to the retail lot or nursery is very convenient, can be expensive, and there is no storage need for next season. They do bring a natural scent to your home depending on the type of tree you choose. Before you purchase, make sure you get the freshest tree possible by shaking the tree a little. If needles fall off, the tree is not very fresh.

Dressing in warm gear and loading the family in the car can be an adventure on its own. When choosing a live tree from a tree farm, you know its fresh, a less expensive alternative and a longer lasting tree. There are also positive environmental benefits where trees are specifically grown for this purpose—for every tree cut down, 2-3 trees are planted in its place. (Source: Clean Choice Energy)

Artificial Trees

Holiday Plants and Trees
Photo by Sven Brandsma/Unsplash

Artificial trees are convenient and those with allergies find them to be a great solution. Normally these trees can last a minimum of around 6-9 years and with little to no maintenance the annual cost savings are an advantage. Other benefits include being mess free, and easy to set up/take down. They also look realistic enough and come is styles similar to live trees such as Pine, Blue Spruce and flocked trees.

Although artificial trees have benefits, they also have disadvantages that are harmful to our environment. Many of these trees are made overseas and causing high transportation emissions. They can’t be recycled due to being made of petroleum-based, non-biodegradable plastic and are destined for our landfills.

If choosing an artificial tree for your holiday celebrations, purchase one that is made in the US or Canada to diminish emissions. With good care and quality storage, these trees potentially can be used for up to 20 years or can be given a new home through secondhand stores or Buy Nothing groups instead of throwing them into our landfill. (Source: Clean Choice Energy)

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Holiday Flowers


It is fun for everyone to watch this plant grow from bulb to beautiful flower in about 6-8 weeks. Amaryllis is the Greek name meaning “to sparkle” and seen as a symbol of strength, love, beauty and determination.

The amaryllis plant is normally a late winter to mid-spring bloom, but we force these beauties to bloom in early winter in time for the holidays. Most amaryllis varieties grown today are hybrids and native to tropical parts of South America. Recommended varieties include:

  • Liberty: rich, velvet red petals on a 20” stem
  • Stardust: large red flowers that fade to white
  • Samba: red and white flowers with ruffled inner petals
  • Susan (Dutch Belle): rosy-pink blooms with greet throats

When shopping for an amaryllis the popular boxed kit is easy and makes a nice gift, but not available in many color options, and are of a smaller variety. Bare bulbs give you more color choices, larger sizes and may produce two or more flower spikes with 2-4 large, trumpet-shaped blossoms. One word of caution – keep amaryllis plants away from pets as this plant and blub are toxic.


Bromeliads are a great choice for holiday decorating with their green glossy or silvery gray foliage and spikey bright red or pink flowers. The native home of many species of bromeliads are tropical regions and they provide a sunny and festive alternative to your typical holiday decorations.

With their small shallow root system, bromeliads are perfect for placement in a decorative pot surrounded by decorative rocks, ornaments or English ivy as an attractive centerpiece for your holiday table.

Bromeliads require little maintenance, very little sunlight and are great for those with evergreen allergies (no shedding). Bromeliads are the perfect gift that keeps on giving as they thrive long after the holiday season and produce offspring called pups as the plant begins to die. These pups mature and produce more pups giving years of enjoyment.


Holiday Plants
Photo by Rebecca Niver/Unsplash

With its heart shaped leaves and vibrant flowers in red, pink, salmon, purple and white, this plant is usually grown in warmer climates as a ground cover. There are three types of cyclamen including Sierra series, “Scentsation”, and “Victoria”, each with its own special attribute. When brought inside, it makes a long blooming houseplant that thrives in a cool, bright spot.

Often these plants are treated as an annual and tossed after they bloom. However, you can enjoy the same plant year after year. Potted florist cyclamen are the opposite of most plants as its “semi-dormant” time occurs in the summer and should be moved to a cool, shady location. As fall arrives, snip the dead flower stalks at the base and give it water until green growth begins to develop and it should bloom just in time for the holidays.

Also Read:

English Holly

Holiday Plants
Photo by Alistair Macrobert/Unsplash

Holly is another holiday plant that has a rich tradition. Its bright red berries and glossy leaves make it a favorite in bouquets, wreaths and decorations, symbolizing hope and goodwill. These perennial evergreen shrubs are very hardy and grow well in planters and pots and love either full sun or shade.

When bringing any ivy or plant inside beware of pests and other plant diseases that may come with it like spider mites, whitefly, leaf spot, scale and powdery mildew. This plant can also be invasive to native species especially in the Pacific Northwest.

Holiday Cactus

The holiday cactus, also known as the Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus, are very similar in appearance except their stem segments are different. These cacti are native to the southeastern Brazil rainforest and are epiphytes as they grow in the crotches of moss-covered trees and filtered sunlight.

A popular choice around the holidays for host gifts and decorating, these plants can last for decades and will rebloom once buds are set if it receives total darkness at night from the end of September onwards for blooms in December.


Once the official Oklahoma state flower, mistletoe has long been associated with holiday romance, as it’s customary to steal a kiss beneath its branches for every white berry plucked. Once the berries were gone, so were the sprigs kissing power and if a kiss is refused, bad luck happens to the person who said “No”.

Mistletoe grows in a distinctive ball-like cluster of green or yellow foliage within the bare branches of deciduous trees. One caution–it is considered poisonous with all parts of the plant being toxic when ingested. Keep it away from children and pets. Touching or handling the plant should not cause irritation.

If you ever find yourself under the mistletoe, it represents romance, fertility, and vitality. So go ahead–pucker up!

Paperwhite Narcissus

With their delicate white flowers and light scent, paperwhites are a wonderful addition to your holiday décor or as a gift for your favorite host. Paperwhites are native to the Mediterranean region of the world and symbolize new beginnings or renewal.

Paperwhites can be grown outdoors in warmer climates (zones 8-11) and indoor in colder climates as they are a winter-blooming bulb. They are considered a perennial but when forced to bloom indoors they tend to be difficult to rebloom. They are easy to grow in most containers and any growing medium like soil, pebbles, or glass marbles. These are another bulb that are toxic to pets, so keep out of reach.


Poinsettias are a favorite among many households. They are considered Christmas flowers and symbolize good will and community spirit. These cheerful plants bring a pop of color to your décor with the popular bright red, pink, or cream white bloom. Some varieties have bracts patterns for a variegated look.

The poinsettia is embedded in modern tradition, but its history dates to the Aztecs who were the first to cultivate this flowering plant. They believed the flower was a symbol of purity and peace and likely used for its natural remedies and medicine. Later it appears in Mexican storytelling of a poor child who places weeds on an alter on Christmas Eve as an offering. These weeds turned into the poinsettia flower as a symbol of “The Christmas Miracle”.

Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but not intended for human or animal consumption and can be irritating but not fatal if eaten. Best case, store it out of reach of children and pets but keep it in your holiday plans.

Decorating with Holiday Flowers

Holiday flowers and plants can be used in various ways to enhance your décor. To add a festive cheer, use ornaments, garlands or string lights, and get creative with your plant-based decorations.

Holiday Plants
Photo by Charlotte Cowell/Unsplash
  • Decorate your mantel with different colored poinsettias
  • Use fresh garland and ornaments for banisters or mantels
  • Fresh wreaths intertwined with English holy on your door(s)
  • Use fairy lights to add some mystique to holiday plants
  • Decorate their pots with ribbons or wrapping paper
  • Bring a little romance to your holiday with mistletoe
  • Combine smaller plants with tall plants for a creative centerpiece

And don’t forget your everyday houseplants by adding festive items for a holiday makeover. Get creative by adding bows, yarn garland, and fairy lights, or placing them in themed pots. Your kids can make popcorn or bead strings, or glue ornaments to sticks for festive décor for the plants you already have.

Final Thoughts

Adding holiday plants into your seasonal décor adds a natural and festive touch to your home. Whether you prefer the traditional Christmas tree, the colorful poinsettia, or the symbolic mistletoe, these plants have a special place in our hearts during the holiday season.


Q: Can I replant a Christmas tree after the holidays? A: Yes, some Christmas tree species can be replanted if you take proper care of them during the holiday season. Consider buying a potted tree if you intend to replant it.

Q: Are holiday flowers safe for pets? A: Not all holiday plants are safe for pets. Poinsettias and mistletoe, for example, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Keep them out of reach or opt for pet-friendly alternatives.

Q: How can I make my Poinsettia last longer? A: Keep your poinsettia in indirect sunlight, water it moderately, and ensure it’s not exposed to drafts or extreme temperatures.

Q: Are there any alternative holiday flowers for those with allergies? A: Consider hypoallergenic holiday plants like Holiday cacti, bromeliads, non-evergreen plants or opt for silk or artificial plants to avoid allergenic reactions.

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Emma Smith

My research into learning more about flowering vines on a trellis became much larger when I happened upon vertical gardening and all the advantages and benefits. Whether you’re interested in outdoor or indoor gardening, read on as I share my acquired knowledge.

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