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Can I Decorate My Plants for Christmas?

The mantle is all decked up, the mistletoe is dangling in the doorway and there's no denying the scent of pine in the air. With the festive season in full swing, you may get a bit carried away when it comes to decorating.


And we fully support that.


With one exception: your houseplants.


We often treat houseplants as extensions of our home decor. We know, we’re guilty of this ourselves. After all, they're always there needing dusting and general maintenance and they are taking up space in (almost) every room.


And while we are in “decorating-for-the-winter-holidays” mode, why shouldn't we just throw some tinsel and a few Santa figurines on the good old snake plant in the corner?


Before you get down to business, put that can of snow spray down for a couple of minutes to read our take on what you may and what you absolutely mustn't do if you get the urge to decorate your plants.



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1: Not ok: adding heavy declarations to your houseplant.

No matter how sturdy your houseplants may seem, you should not dangle heavy decor from their stems or leaves. And under no circumstances should you pierce the leaves with hooks or paperclips. Even if the decor may seem light to you, the damage adds up.


What you could do instead:

Decorate your heavy-duty houseplants with small light paper crafts, foam and popcorn garlands or light tinsel. Ficus, snake plants, dracaena, and croton are a few plants that can handle some light-weight winter festive decor.


But please do not subject your more delicate houseplants to the same treatment. Plants such as Pilea, orchids, maranta, oxalis, begonia and tradescantia are very sensitive to stress, so it's better not to risk it.


2. Not okay: using fake snow on your houseplant.

Is there anything wrong with spraying a bit of fake snow on your houseplant?

Yes, everything!


Remember that your plants are living, breathing things. Yes, breathing. And if you cover up the surface of their leaves with anything, you're interfering with natural processes such as photosynthesis and perspiration. Just as you wouldn't cover your pet in fake snow (right?), you shouldn’t subject your houseplants to this pore-clogging treatment.


What you could do instead:

Decorate with Christmas lights. We stand by our recommendation to not hang anything from the plant itself. So no this is not permission to hang lights on your plants. Instead, you could spread the lights at the base of the pot so they reflect up and cast cozy shadows. You could also add them as decor behind the plant and have them cast silhouettes of the plants for an atmospheric vignette.



3. Not okay: changing your plants’ environment and location too often.

You may be tempted to move your houseplants around to match your winter decor. This is ok in moderation, but please do not move your plants next to a source of heat (such as a fireplace or radiator) or too far away from the source of natural light.


What you could do instead:

Add to the festive spirit by decorating the pot or planter to match its surroundings. From a playful drawing of Santa’s pants to a more sophisticated Scandinavian-inspired pattern design, there are plenty of free templates on Pinterest and Instagram to draw inspiration from.


Bonus tips!

If you're keen on incorporating houseplants into your winter holiday decor, we recommend you opt for plants more suited to this purpose. Here are a few examples of arrangements that are both affordable and easy to put together.

  • Place an amaryllis bulb in an elegant cedar box and turn it into sophisticated mantle decor.

  • Slip a mini-poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) into a decorative rattan basket and you get a lovely Christmas party favor that guests can take home.

  • A small tree, such as myrtle (Myrtus communis) or lemon cypress (Cupressus) can serve as a memorable centerpiece. You can find small tabletop topiaries in most plant shops and gardening centers. You can transfer these trees outdoors to the garden once the holidays are over.

  • Cyclamen plants are always in bloom in winter. But even without the flowers, the beauty of the foliage is exquisite enough to make it the perfect winter decor.

  • Freshly potted sturdy herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender are a useful hostess gift that keeps on giving. (And if you’re looking for other hostess gift ideas, we’ve got you covered).

  • A basket of paperwhite daffodils (Narcissus papyraceus) planted in moss or simply paperwhites in a vase on a bed of marbles are great choices for unique winter arrangements that would make any corner of your home look elegant and polished.

  • The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is perhaps the most well-known houseplant that blooms at Christmas. The flowers can come in vibrant shades of pink, red, burgundy and orange. As a decorative element, it’s better if you keep it out of the way of small children and pets, since it’s as prickly as it is beautiful.



As you can see, decorating your houseplants for the holidays may not always be a good idea no matter how creative and quirky you get. That's why we recommend you err on the side of gentleness with your plans and place the decorations around them rather than on them.




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