Caption: Norfolk Island pine makes a great indoor holiday tree especially when combined with holiday plants or decorated with garland and small ornaments.
by Melinda Myers
Add a small-scale living evergreen to your holiday celebrations. Consider one that is suitable for growing indoors so you can enjoy it throughout the year.
The Lemon Cypress makes a great miniature holiday tree, centerpiece, or gift for a friend. The fragrant chartreuse foliage of this dwarf evergreen continues to brighten your winter décor long after the holidays are over. You can find them as topiaries or in their more natural pyramidal form.
Grow them in a sunny window and turn the plants occasionally to ensure all parts receive equal sunlight and grow evenly. You’ll have the best results if you keep your plant in a cool location free of cold and hot air drafts.
Water your mini holiday tree whenever the top few inches of soil are dry. Wait until spring when plants begin to actively grow and need a nutrient boost before applying fertilizer.
The Norfolk Island pine has long been a favorite of indoor gardeners. Its pine-like appearance makes it a great holiday tree. Add a bit of garland and a few small ornaments for a festive effect.
Grow this plant in a cool, well-lit location free of drafts of hot and cold air. Avoid dry air and soil to keep the needles and branches green, flexible, and healthy. Water thoroughly whenever the soil is just slightly moist. Boost the humidity around this and other plants with a gravel tray. Place pebbles and water in the saucer. Set the pot on the pebbles above the water. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity around the plant.
Switch out the ornaments when celebrating other holidays. Use hearts for Valentine’s Day, eggs for Easter and orange lights for Halloween.
Rosemary wreath and tree topiaries are festive as well as fragrant and edible. Give the leaves a pet to enjoy the fragrance and lift your spirits. Or pluck a sprig to add welcome flavor to your winter meals and beverages.
Rosemary was as popular a Christmas plant as mistletoe and holly until the 20th Century. It’s not clear why this plant fell out of favor, but it is growing in popularity as a holiday plant. You can find it in many garden centers and florists this time of year.
Rosemary represents love and remembrance, a great sentiment to share during the holidays. Growing Rosemary indoors can be challenging. Don’t let past failures stop you from trying. Just keep experimenting until you find the location and maintenance routine that keeps your Rosemary thriving. If the plant turns brown, move it out of sight to the back of your indoor garden. It still smells good when you give it a pet and no one, but you will know.
Change things up this season with the addition of one or more of these indoor evergreen trees. They are sure to brighten your spirits and holiday décor.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her web site is www.melindamyers.com.