No matter where or who you are, if you like celebrating the festival of Christmas then you know that decorations play an integral part in all its festivities. From tall Christmas trees to awe-striking ornaments that adorn the height of the trees - decorations are the biggest player in these end-of-the-year festivities.
Gifts in stockings, fireplace decorations, stars on Christmas trees, and gifts under them - these are all wonderful traditions that make us feel all warm and fuzzy on a cold Christmas eve. But what other Christmas tradition and decoration is unforgettable and absolutely integral? Christmas plants is the answer you're looking for!
From vibrant, burning red Poinsettias to lovely Mistletoes - here is a list of 8 Christmas plants and why they are associated with the festival celebrating Christ's birth!
✯Christmas Plants and their Festive Associations
1. Poinsettias as Christmas Plants
Poinsettias are perhaps one of the plants most associated with Christmas-time. With their magical union of red and green features, the Poinsettia's festive charm remains unmatched.
Poinsettias are wonderful Christmas plants and flowers with a legendary association that dates back to 16th century Mexico. Story goes that a young, poor girl named Pepita wanted to celebrate the birthday of Christ but did not have money to do so. So, on Christmas day, an angel appeared before her and told her to collect weeds from the roadside instead.
So, Pepita did so with utmost sincerity in order to be able to place flowers on the altar. Here is where the magic happens - the weeds that Pepita kept at the altar magically transformed into bright Poinsettias. Plants that, from then on, depicted and symbolized purity and thoughtfulness.
2. The Christmas Flower Plant - Christmas Cactus
Unlike some other plants that are associated with Christmas because of myths and folklore, the Christmas Cactus is simply linked to this festival because of its natural blooming patterns.
While most flowers can be dormant this time of the year, the Christmas cactus - with its beautiful, multi-colored flowers - blooms at a time that coincides with Christmas, thus earning it, its name. This Cactus blooms to provide the perfect Christmas flower!
Native to the cloud forests of Brazil, the Christmas Cactus has a natural tendency to flower in late fall months to early winter.
3. Mistletoe and its Legends
Mistletoe is associated with Christmas due to ancient traditions and folklore that have evolved over centuries. The tradition of hanging mistletoe during the Christmas season stems from, both, Norse mythology and Celtic rituals.
In Norse mythology, the God of Light - Balder - was killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. But he was resurrected and it was then believed that it was the mistletoe that allowed his resurrection. In some versions of these myths, it is believed that Balder's mother, Frigg, the Goddess of Love, declared mistletoe a symbol of love and vowed to kiss anyone who passed beneath it.
Celtic Druids also held mistletoe in high regard, and believed it had mystical properties that could bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. During winter solstice celebrations, Druid priests would cut mistletoe from sacred oak trees with a golden sickle.
When Pagan and Christian traditions and cultures merged, these myths and traditions led to Mistletoe being regarded as one of the important Christmas plants.
Today, mistletoe is often hung above doorways during Christmas-time!
4. Amaryllis and its Red Blooms
Much like the Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis is often associated with Christmas because of its natural blooming time. Its large, colorful, and vibrant flowers bloom during the winter months and earn it the title as one of the "Christmas plants".
If you wish to keep your Christmas plants indoor, the Amaryllis might just be a perfect fit for you. The flowers are relatively easy to grow and take between six to eight weeks to bloom.
The Amaryllis is native to South America, particularly the regions of Peru and South Africa, and is known for its various types of flowers - all stunning and trumpet-shaped, that come in various colors, including red, white, and pink.
Its beautiful red flowers contribute even more to its Christmas charm and make it one of the perfect flowering plants for the festive season.
5. Tales of Holly
Another one of the Christmas plants is associated with Christmas because of pre-Christian tales is Holly. Today, it is used as a beloved Christmas decoration but do you know of its stories that date back to Celtic times?
In Celtic and Roman traditions, Holly was believed to have protective qualities. It was often used to ward off evil spirits and to bring good luck and fertility. The perennial plant's evergreen nature made it a symbol of life during the winter months when many other plants shed their leaves and appeared lifeless.
As Christianity spread, Holly became incorporated into Christmas celebrations. The prickly leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and the red berries symbolized his blood.
It became popular as a Christmas decoration during the Victorian era and continued as one from there one out.
6. Winter Blooms of the Christmas Rose
The Christmas Rose is another flowering plant that is widely considered a Christmas flower because of its natural blooming patterns.
Despite its name, the Christmas rose is not a true rose but rather a member of the buttercup family. It is native to the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe.
The Christmas rose produces the most beautiful flowers and has a charming and delicate appearance. It blooms white or pale pink flowers that blossom against a dark green backdrop. The Christmas Rose possesses the ability to bloom in the winter, sometimes even pushing through snow. This has made it a symbol of hope during the colder months.
The Christmas rose has been cultivated for centuries, and in folklore, it is often linked to stories of miracles and joy. In medieval times, it was believed that the Christmas rose had magical properties and could protect against evil spirits.
7. Paperwhite Christmas Flowers
The Paperwhite plant is associated with Christmas mainly because of its winter bloom and its use in holiday decorations. The Paperwhite is native to the Mediterranean region and its bulbs are often forced to bloom indoors during the winter months, producing clusters of fragrant, white flowers.
The timing of the Paperwhite's bloom fits right in with the Christmas season, which makes it a popular choice for festive decorations. Paperwhites are known for their delicate, star-shaped flowers and sweet fragrance, adding a touch of natural beauty to indoor spaces during the winter.
While the association of Paperwhites with Christmas might not have deep historical or religious roots, it has become a beloved tradition, adding a sense of freshness and vitality to the winter festivities. The plant's simplicity and elegance make it a charming addition to holiday decorations and celebrations
8. Norway Spruce: A Perfect Christmas Plant
The Norway Spruce is associated with Christmas as it has been a traditional choice for use as a Christmas tree for centuries. When you trace the use of evergreen trees indoors as Christmas trees back to their roots, you will realize that this tradition predates Christianity.
Early Germanic tribes, as well as other cultures, would bring the main branches of evergreen trees into their homes during the winter months to symbolize life's continuity and hope for the coming spring.
In the 16th century, the tradition of bringing an entire tree into the home and decorating it became more widespread, particularly in Germany. This custom evolved into what we now recognize as the Christmas tree.
The Norway Spruce is native to Northern and Central Europe, and it very soon became one of the preferred species for Christmas trees due to its symmetrical shape and attractive needles. Today, the Norway Spruce is still widely used as a Christmas tree, adorned with ornaments, lights, and other decorations to celebrate the holiday season.
Now that you know the stories of these eight popular Christmas plants and why they received that title, which plant are you picking for your home this festive season?
From Christmas plants with a rich, iconic, and somewhat legendary history to other flowering plants that bloom against all odds in the winter season - which plant is going to be your choice?