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Creating a winter wonderland this January

Cyclamen plants - one of the top 6 winter flowering houseplants, chosen by the HTA. Photo: HTA.
Cyclamen plants - one of the top 6 winter flowering houseplants, chosen by the HTA. Photo: HTA.

Winter doesn't have to mean Christmas and it doesn't have to mean gloom either. The HTA has advised on flowers which are perfect for consumers to get planting both inside and outside of their homes, and perfect for garden centre retailers to sell to them.

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12 January 2018 | 0

Keep the gardening season going in winter by creating a winter wonderland of houseplants inside your home. A few bright, beautiful winter-flowering houseplants can really brighten up your indoor space and increase the feel-good factor.

Accessible to everyone as you don’t need a garden to grow them, houseplants not only look good, but they also provide a range of mental and physical health benefits including improved mood, reduced stress levels and reduced blood pressure.

Indoor plants also have a positive impact on indoor air quality by trapping and capturing pollutants, and help us to breathe more easily; exactly what you need during these cold, grey, winter months.

Suitable plants for the conditions available in your house include Azalea (Rhododendron simsii cultivars), Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum hybrids) and Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) are suitable for bright, cool conditions of around 10-15°C.

Flowering houseplants for warm-room temperatures of around 20°C (68°F) include Poinsettia, Gardenia and Orchids, such as Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. Orchids such as Cymbidium will also tolerate cooler positions out of full sun in a north- or east-facing room.

Here are the top six winter flowering houseplants:

Phalaenopsis-orchids-595237

Phalaenopsis Orchids. Photo: HTA

  1. Phalaenopsis
  2. Azalea
  3. Cyclamen
  4. Cymbidium
  5. Poinsettia
  6. Hippeastrum

Hippeastrum bulbs are popular gifts at Christmas. By following a few easy tips, these showy, beautiful flowers will bloom year after year adding colour and life to a room. Some of the varieties that have the RHS Award of Garden Merit include Hippeastrum papilio AGM – unusual white flowers with deep red streaks and touches of green, H. ‘Belinda’ AGM – deep crimson flowers and H. ‘Bestseller’ AGM – cerise pink flowers.

Indoor trees are big, calming, air-purifying, and thanks to the large amount of foliage, they can provide a woodland feel indoors even when everything outdoors is still cold and bare.

The Dracaena marginata AGM (Madagascar dragon tree) is an exotic and dramatic statement plant, and a huge benefit is that this indoor tree is known to be a powerful air purifier. Or the Pachira (also known as the money tree), often sold as multiple plants with their stems plaited into one distinctive braided trunk, is known for year-round fabulous green leaves.

Five easy-to-grow houseplants to improve air quality:

  1. Dracaena marginata (v) AGM (Madagascar dragon tree)
  2. Ficus elastica (India rubber tree, rubber plant)
  3. Hedera helix (English ivy, common ivy)
  4. Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’ (Boston fern)
  5. Sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue)

Source: RHS

Bloom not gloom

Stepping outside, customers can continue the winter wonderland theme in their garden with vibrant and striking plants that create the wow factor.

Gold blooms really shine out on gloomy days, so look out for dramatic Witch Hazels that produce clusters of small fragrant flowers with petals like dainty ribbons, transforming the otherwise naked stems of this hardy shrub.

Evergreen mahonias are equally impressive, with golden sprays of flowers forming at the tip of each shoot. There are several varieties to choose from with different sizes and forms, and flowers on most are followed by the formation of grape-like berries in spring, giving these shrubs their common name of Oregon Grape.

In addition to their welcome colour, fragrance is another valuable characteristic of many winter flowering shrubs. For long-lasting displays it’s hard to beat varieties of Viburnum x bodnantense that produce a succession of flowers from October until spring.

And for a shady site take a look at the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, a low-growing and compact perennial whose simple white cup-shaped flowers can be picked and floated on water in a glass bowl to provide seasonal table decorations.

So don’t shut-up shop for winter, but welcome in 2018 in style with garden and plant displays that provide colour, fragrance, foliage and form.

Top four outdoor plants for winter flowers:

  1. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis varieties)
  2. Oregon Grape (Mahonia varieties)
  3. Winter Flowering Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense)
  4. Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)

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