Sunday 13 December 2015

Christmas plants past, a Christmas roundup

No spruce this year
I have written about several plants associated with Christmas. Some such as Christmas trees and poinsettia are on my list for future occasions. Cathi suggested this year I remembered some of my previously posted seasonal plants. Click the coloured title links to read about them.
Ilex aquifolium ‘Golden van Tol’
I revealed my addiction to variegated plants and forgot to mention what a weed holly seedlings are in my cemetery gardens
I will be reporting on my holly cuttings soon

Significant in nature, if allowed to become rampant in a garden it is a considerable nuisance

The holly and the ivy.... Just holly prunings popped in. Ironically the ivy was an unrooted decoration put in two years previously!
My old lilac is still surviving the ivy and the nearby honey fungus infected stump. Brenda predicts its demise every year

I am getting too old to prune this back every year
January source of pollen and nectar

With no support...
Not usually associated with Christmas, this plant brightens our conservatory in the festive season

Rather a false claim as it's flowering rarely naturally hits Christmas when grown in the home. Our five plants, each of different colour, flower twice a year in our east facing conservatory in November and February.

The blackcap has transformed the UK distribution of mistletoe
I was fascinated when I researched this plant that a parasite could be so ecologically significant.
I suggested in the title that its parasitic mechanism had separately evolved in many different plant families around the world. Although I am comfortable with the idea of parallel evolution, with my new interest in hybridity I now provocatively wonder if nature’s evolutionary discoveries are shared.
I discovered Jonathan Briggs’ fine Mistletoe blog and his most recent post explains how to grow this wonderful plant.

When sliced calamondin oranges are frozen in ice cubes they will  flavour your Christmas drink
Another false claim as a Christmas plant. Ours carries fruits for at least four months through the Winter but is particularly welcome in December. Brenda says that this year when Christmas is gone she will make some marmalade.

This is the fifth year my amaryllis has flowered
Another ‘cheat’ but our amarylis is going to hit Christmas day ‘spot on’ this year. It also qualifies as Christmas plant in that many stockings  will include a fat bulb. At least half are doomed to die in poor light although they do usually make their first (and last) flowers.


  1. I always associate with Christmas the plants my Granny used to have at this time of year - potted Hyacinths (I can imagine the perfume still!), Cyclamen, and (living in Cornwall) Soleils d'Or narcissi.

  2. Amazing that your bougainvillea is flowering in the conservatory in this time of year. So many Calamondin oranges on your little tree, I did not know that you can eat these too.

    1. The bougainvilleas have given us a good flush of colourful bracts at Christmas for several years now Janneke, but not this year! Just green shoots. This Autumn has had very poor light with lots of dull and cloudy weather.
      I usually cut them back by two thirds in mid January to rejuvenate them for the new year
      Calamondins are an ancient citrus hybrid which I suspect were grown for their fruit. Brenda's marmalade last year was superb

  3. A Christmas roundup and no mention of glyphosate 😀
    The female blackcap arrived in our garden two days ago, the male usually follows about three weeks later unless the weather turns more severe up north.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Roger.

  4. Merry Christmas to you Brian. I could not resist using 'roundup'!

  5. Like he Christmas cactus there is the Christmspas rose whicg doesn't flower Christmas. I did manage to get a pointsettia to 'flower' again once but what a faff

    1. But it is fun getting them to flower again and it does give you a sense of achievement and ownership.
      I saw some poinsettias in Sainsburys yesterday. They were brilliantly grown but looked so ersatz and artificial. You could tell they were real because some of them were wilting, actually quite badly to the point of damage to the bracts

    2. I have to rescind one part of my comment as our Christmas rose is full of flowers.

    3. Yet another example of this remarkable weather Sue!

  6. So many points here Roger, I suffer from copious amounts of holly seedlings and ever encroaching ivy which can definitely constitute the downside, I am however blessed with one amarylis which flowers every year, after flowering I feed it and then leave it on a shelf in the tunnel as soon as the last frosts have gone to fend for itself. My Christmas cacti also flower at least once a year despite being pretty much neglected for the rest of the time. Perhaps you can tell I am not a house-plant person :-)

    1. I think horticultural skills and an affinity for plants like your own are readily transferable. I am always grateful I have been involved in a lot of different horticultural sectors

  7. The Calamondinn Orange is very interesting. You make me more determined to try to keep my Amaryllis (Hippeastrum?) going for next year.

    1. Yes the hippeastrum is the same plant as the amaryllis in your interesting recent post
      The key to success I feel is that they are in a light position and that when they have finished flowering they are not just cast to one side. Mine go out into my unheated greenhouse in March and remain there until late November

  8. Not very beyond any doubt about purchasing plants? What about a blessing testament to a garden supply store? check my blog

    1. Your comments are a bit deep for me Rosy!
      Your blog looks 'interesting'


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