Non-traditional Holiday Houseplants

'Magnifica' slipper orchid

‘Magnifica’ slipper orchid

Whether you’re looking for a host/hostess gift that’s a little bit different or you want to add some living cheer to your holiday decorations, check out these houseplants. We’ve looked past the usual poinsettia, amaryllis, Christmas cactus and cyclamen to find some different options.

Peace lily — easy to grow even in less than bright light, its white flowers and dark green leaves complement Christmas decorations.

Succulents — colorful versions of echeveria, aloe and crassula go well with the bright lights and baubles of the season, and they don’t mind if you neglect them while you’re busy with holiday preparations.

Croton — big, bold leaves of red and green. Need we say more?

Potted citrus — oranges and clementines were once a popular stocking stuffer. Give a nod to this tradition with a gift of a dwarf citrus tree.

Hellebores — these beautiful winter bloomers can be kept as a houseplant in a cool space through winter and then transitioned out into the garden as a perennial come spring.

Staghorn fern — with just a little imagination, these quirky ferns can fit right into a display celebrating Rudolph and co.

Air plants — these are great choices at the holiday season because they double as decorations (tied onto an indoor wreath, incorporated into a table’s centerpiece, used in place of a bow on a present, etc.).

Slipper orchids — mottled green leaves and eye-catching flowers make slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum) interesting additions to the holiday scene. They’re among the easiest orchids to grow; just be sure to bolster humidity by setting them on a tray of moist gravel.

Image of Paphiopedilum ‘Magnifica’ by Averater – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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