Danny Flanders

container with poinsettia and orchid
White poinsettias with white moth orchids (Phalaenopsis), asparagus fern, cardoon and cut conifer branches.

Holiday decorating can be expensive, and let’s face it, after New Year’s those potted poinsettias, holly topiaries and Christmas cactuses don’t look too appealing.

Why not save money by creating a nontraditional holiday container garden with plants that can be changed out from month to month, instead of planted, prolonging the container’s shelf life?

Consider, for example, combining that most traditional of yuletide plants – the poinsettia – with wintertime favorites such as perky amaryllis, graceful orchids, frilly ferns and other indoor tropicals. In fact, the houseplant section of your favorite garden center or big-box store is an excellent place to shop for these.

As the holidays pass, you can replace that dated-looking poinsettia with forced bulbs like paperwhites and hyacinths, extending the container garden’s beauty into early spring.

The only challenge – if you even consider it such – is watering. Because all of the plants remain potted in their own container for easy switch out, you have to water each pot individually, each requiring its own saucer. Not that big a deal but a little more time consuming than watering a traditional container garden with one good dousing.

Yet, the advantages are you can replace a plant as it dies with something new as well as create holiday displays featuring less typical colors, such as pink poinsettias. You can even combine cut greenery and branches (Don’t overlook what’s in your own back yard!) as filler with the live plants for even more interesting displays!

Here are a few combo deals to consider:

  • White poinsettias with white moth orchids (Phalaenopsis), asparagus fern, cardoon and cut conifer branches. The poinsettia forms the centerpiece, but after the holidays, it, along with the cut branches, can be replaced with other plants.
  • Red poinsettias, white moth orchids, red winterberry branches, peace lily (Spathiphyllum) and spider plant (Chlorophytum).
  • Pink poinsettias, white amaryllis, queen-of-hearts (Homelomena ‘Green Gem’) and maidenhair fern.

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