The precious gems of the plant world -- orchids -- make delightful holiday decorations. A glass pedestal vase filled with ornaments holds this blooming gift up to the light, sparking joy throughout the holiday season. To enjoy long-lasting orchids for weeks or even months, place orchids in bright indirect light, such as a south-facing window with a sheer curtain, and keep them away from cold drafts and dry heat. Once a week, set orchids in a sink and drench their roots with lukewarm water.
A Victorian-style cast-iron tree stand fitted with a 6-inch terra-cotta pot painted a glossy green makes a sturdy stand for these brilliant pink orchids.
Few holiday plants are easier than paperwhites. Set the bulbs halfway into some potting soil, water them, and wait a couple of weeks. You can also buy paperwhites (and other bulb plants like daffodils and tulips) already started. Whichever way you go, dress up the look with some Spanish moss and a scatter of tiny apples.
Potted cyclamen are a triple-treat holiday plant. They offer long-lasting good looks, clear colors, and interesting foliage. Keep your cyclamen healthy for a longer period by placing it in a bright, cool location away from direct sunlight. Water only when the surface of the soil becomes dry. After the blooms fade, allow the plant to dry out and become dormant. Once growth restarts, begin watering again. Like most houseplants, cyclamen enjoy spending the warmer months outdoors in a well-shaded location.
Shimmery silver ornaments are the perfect accent to a display of white potted flowers, such as these cyclamen, Star-of-Bethlehem, and kalanchoe.
When it comes to choosing a holiday amaryllis this year, don't settle for boring old red yet again! Each year, garden centers stock a host of interesting varieties in pink, white, purple, copper, and multiple colors in interesting patterns.
Serene amaryllis bloom in soft winter light on a cool windowsill. Line up a trio of the blooms in special glass vases designed to suspend the bulbs above water. To add a glistening effect and help the roots grow, fill the bottom of the vases with a handful of clear marbles.
If the giraffelike neck of amaryllis puts you off, don't turn into a basket case. Just surround one or more of the long-necked lovelies with an assortment of small potted azaleas.
If you've ever watched the Masters Golf Championship in Augusta, Georgia, you know just how fabulous azaleas are when they're in their preferred climate. Thankfully, Northern gardeners can enjoy them for years in pots, and the holidays are the perfect time of year to start enjoying them.
A column of 'Honesty' Keepsake azaleas put on a show for weeks in simple white pots. The tree-form shrubs make great patio or sunroom plants.
This family treasure will bloom year after year, just in time for Christmas.
Hibiscus produce large, striking flowers, indoors or outdoors. They survive in cold regions only if you bring them indoors from early fall through late spring.
By virtue of its popularity, the poinsettia is the queen of holiday plants. For an easy, inexpensive, and impressive host or hostess gift, wrap a pretty specimen in thin, easy-to-mold art paper, then tie it off with a satin bow.