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18/10/2021

Last last minute gifts: Christmas plants

Poinsettias are another wonderful festive plant for indoors. Unfortunately due to its tropical nature the plant is actually hard to keep in our Irish climate

If you are really looking for some last, last minute gifts look no further than a festive plant.

House plants come in all shapes and sizes and are widely available these days. They are good for your health and, apart from the obvious benefits of improved air quality plants can provide, they can also have a calming and stress-relieving effect.


Giving your loved one a plant this festive season could be considered giving good wishes for the New Year as the plant lives on and grows. Here are a few suggestions for you to ponder over.


Poinsettia


A Poinsettia is often associated with Christmas and the red is often mistaken for flower petals when in fact they are actually leaves. The flower is quite small and sits at the end of each branch. They are native to Mexico and, in their natural habitat, grow to be quite a large shrub.


Poinsettias, like most house plants are from tropical climates, meaning they thrive in light bright areas of the house with high humidity. They are quite resistant plants so, really, you can put them wherever you like to enjoy a splash of colour. In a very dark corner, however, they do tend to stretch and become leggy.


Water sparingly but without letting the soil dry out. You will be able to tell if the plant is happy by the leaves. They will drop off if the watering is not adequate.


Christmas cactus


Another classic Christmas plant is the Christmas cactus. This is a beautiful plant that can come in a rainbow of colours from deep hot pinks, to purple and even yellow. Christmas cacti generally bloom just in time for Christmas, hence their name, and they're pretty stunning too.


The hanging branches, which are made up of flat, glossy green segments, can grow to up to three feet long. Flowers appear at the tips of these branches and can have several tiers of petals. Each bloom lasts for several days, and the entire flowering period of most cultivars will span several weeks.


If you keep them happy they can flower throughout the year. This plant originates form Brazil so again prefers humid conditions without damp feet.


Swiss cheese plant


Monstera deliciosa is a species of plant native to tropical forests of southern Mexico. It gets its common name of the Swiss cheese plant from the Swiss cheese-like holes in the beautiful green leaves.


Scientists have speculated about the reason for the holes in leaves. One theory is that this perforation maximizes the leaf’s surface area, and therefore its ability to capture sunlight on the rainforest floor; the other is that it allows tropical downpours to pass through the leaves, thereby limiting damage to the plant. Either way, they make it an unusual and popular house plant. This is one of my all-time favourite house plants and it is surprisingly easy to care for.


Monstera plants can be bought small but do need lots of space as they tend to grow large and like to climb vertically as they would in the rainforest up trees. Consider adding a small trellis or pole nearby to facilitate their habit. These plants can make a fabulous centre stage piece of greenery in a room and I think anyone who receives a specimen like this would be delighted.
Having festive plants in your home is a great way to brighten the atmosphere and bring a feeling of love, laughter, and joy to your Christmas gathering.

Also read: Ireland's Fittest Farmer - could it be moooooo?

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