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Holiday Plants: Gifts, Care, History, Design

There are many traditions surrounding festive days. Horticulturists are proud to say that the enjoyment of holiday plants is among those traditions. Many people are interested in learning more about the history of poinsettias, for example, which I touch on in one of these articles. Other articles below deal with care for holiday plants (cyclamen, Easter lily) and offer gift advice (Meanings of Rose Colors), but mainly I deal with the decorative value of these plants and how to design with them.

Plants in Our Christmas Traditions
There is a fascinating history behind how we have come to associate our holiday plants with the festive days in question. In some of my articles here I touch on a bit of the history regarding those that assume a prominent place in Christmas traditions. But my primary purpose is to provide more information on the plants, themselves.

Poinsettias - The Christmas "Flowers" That Are Not Really Flowers
Christmas poinsettias are a holiday favorite. It is from the name of the man (Poinsett) who introduced them to Americans that they derive their name. But the geographical origin and growing requirements for this Christmas icon are largely unknown amongst the general public. I also present some of the history of poinsettias here.

Meanings of Rose Colors
Roses are the traditional holiday plants for Valentine's Day. Each rose color symbolizes something, according to a long-used code. Before you buy roses as gifts, make sure you understand the code. Now if they would just come up with a code to make me remember to shop for the roses in the first place, I'd be all set!

Shamrocks and Four-Leaf Clovers for Saint Patrick's Day
Although often associated with each other as St. Patrick's Day holiday plants, the shamrock tradition is quite distinct from the 4-leaf clover tradition. Find out why. Also discover why some regard clover as a low-maintenance alternative to grass, rather than as an enemy to grass.

Christmas Holly
Not all holiday plants are sold as planted specimens. At Christmas, for instance, harvested holly boughs, mistletoe sprigs and Christmas trees are sold for ornamentation, and thereafter disposed of. But holly is also a landscaping plant of exceptional versatility.

The Holly and the Ivy
The holly and the ivy have been intertwined for ages -- and not only in the Christmas carol by that name. Would you like to learn about the plant symbology with which these holiday plants were invested in medieval times? This symbology provides a window into how ancient people viewed relations between the sexes.

Christmas Holiday Plants - Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Kiss and forget. At Christmas we kiss under the mistletoe, then forget about this unusual holiday plant for another year. But there’s more to this mistletoe than kisses: Druids and Norse, diverse botany, medical controversy, literary fame. And how about the origin of the term?

History of the Christmas Tree
This is not your typical look at the history of the Christmas tree. My focus is on how controversial decorating with evergreens, in general, has been, going way back to Roman times. On Page 2 of the article I offer a brief history of how we first came to have outdoor Christmas tree lighting.

Chrysanthemum Flowers
Labor Day falls in summer, but for many, it marks the transition from summer to autumn and signals that it's time to switch to a fall decor. Part of that decor is often chrysanthemum flowers. Labor Day isn't traditionally celebrated with any holiday plants, per se; but if we had to pick one that is most associated with Labor Day, it would be mums.

Care for Cyclamen Plants
OK, a beautiful cyclamen has just been given to you (they're popular holiday plants at Christmas), but you have a problem: you're no green thumb and wonder how the heck you're going to care for it. You'll find care information here. By the way, Cyclamen persica is not hardy in the North, but some other types of cyclamen are.

How to Save Easter Lilies
Easter lilies are holiday plants intimately associated with their namesake celebration, even though, under normal growing conditions, they bloom at an entirely different time of the year. As long as that doesn't bother you, you can enjoy Easter lilies by planting them outside. Don't toss them after Easter; learn how to save them and care for them.

Red, White and Blue Flowers for July 4th
Are you looking for ideas for red, white and blue flowers to use in Independence Day (U.S.) plantings? This article explores the topic from several angles, from sun vs. shade plants to design considerations. Pictures are included to help you make your selections.

The Christmas Rose
In contrast to poinsettias, Christmas rose is more likely to be found in the garden than in a florist shop. It is associated with Christmas not so much because it is given as a gift for Christmas, as because you may see it bloom in December if you live in a warm enough climate (at least zone 7).

Women's Names That Are Also Plant, Flower Names
What do you think of when you hear women's names such as Lily and Rose? You think of flowers, right? Here I write about several plants that are also women's names. These plants just might make great Mother's Day presents for you.

Gerbera Daisy Flowers
Gerber daisies are sometimes referred to as "gerbera" daisy flowers, because the latter is the spelling of their scientific name. Whether called "gerber" or "gerbera" daisies (or "African," another common name), they are spectacular, but tender flowers. While not associated with any particular celebration, they are popular holiday plants.

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