Poinsettias aren’t the easiest of plants to care for and they're not to everyone’s taste, so here are a few alternatives for Christmas colour.
Somewhat the ghost of Christmas past these days, Schlumbergera is, nonetheless, a reliable addition. You may also see its cousin Rhipsalis (Easter Cactus) around at this time of year. Tip: although a cactus, Schlumbergera needs regular watering and flowers better slightly pot-bound.
Poison Primrose and Fairy Primrose
They might sound like something from a Grimm fairy-tale, but these enchanting primroses are delightful little plants which come in a wide array of colours. The poison primrose is so named due to its leaves which can cause an allergic reaction, however, recent strains, such as ‘Touch Me’ have all but eradicated that issue.
Tip: these primroses suffer in stuffy, centrally-heated rooms, but love a cool porch or kitchen/bathroom windowsill.
Don’t discount Kalanchoe – it’s ubiquitous for very good reason. With no particularly demanding habits, the Flaming Katy will forgive underwatering and central heating and is cheap as chips. A perennial, it is often discarded after flowering. Tip: look out for double-flowered varieties for extra volume.
Paperwhite narcissi and amaryllis (Hippeastrum) give great festive impact and both bulbs and growing plants are everywhere at this time of year. You may also see forced hyacinths around, which have a rich scent.
The downside to them is that they’re very short-lived in dark, centrally-heated rooms and the fragrance of both the paperwhites and hyacinths can be overpowering in a small space.
Tip: keep in bright light to prevent weak, elongated stems