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Choose plants that will liven up your home

Poinsettias are a common choice for gifts and decorations during the winter, but there are many other options available. Try some of the varieties listed below to liven up your holiday home.

African violet — These plants are great for the home environment since they do well in low and even artificial light. The diversity of colors and textures means there is a variety for everyone. African violets prefer indirect light and warmth. Make sure the potting soil provides moisture retention and good drainage. Healthy green leaves and frequent flowering lets you know the plant is doing well. 

Amaryllis — Amaryllis is a plant with lily-like trumpet flowers. Bulbs can be bought already sprouting or you can start your own. Amaryllis bulbs should be potted between September and January. Make sure you pot them in a container that allows two inches of space between the bulb and pot. Half of the bulb should be exposed. Water it well, and then do not water again until the bulb begins to sprout. Place the pot in a warm location with direct sunlight. Once the flowers open, move the plant to a location with indirect sunlight.

Norfolk Island pine — This ‘mini-Christmas tree’ is an evergreen from the South Pacific. The tree grows in a pyramid shape and has dark green needle-like leaves. While they are small, Norfolk’s make a good houseplant and can live a very long time. Place the pots in full sun or bright indoor light. Be careful not to overwater or the plant will drop its lower foliage.

Rosemary topiary — These herb plants make a great smelling addition to your holiday plant list. This aromatic plant flowers in winter and spring, and if left unclipped can grow to three feet tall. Trim rosemary plants every few weeks to encourage new growth and maintain the topiary shape. If you decide to transplant it outdoors, make sure it is planted in full sun with a well drained soil.   

These plants will never be a substitute for the poinsettia, but make a fun addition to any holiday home.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.