Deck the Halls With Something Green - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Deck the Halls With Something Green

As technology and all things metal and plastic grow, the more simple, natural traditions become cherished. This is especially true around the holiday season, when people have a special emotional and economical connection with landscape plants and trees.

Landscape plants have played important roles in holiday social and private traditions, as well as winter solstice lore.

Let these five landscape plants and trees that are associated with Christmas and the winter holiday season inspire your landscape designs and help you better connect with your customers.

Oh, Christmas Tree

A tree is part of most people’s holiday seasons. As you drive across the neighborhoods you service, it’s rare that you don’t see an outdoor evergreen decked in lights or twinkling coming from behind the front window of a home showcasing a glittering, decorated blue spruce or Fraser fir.

landscape plants for the holidays
Scotch pine is one of the most popular Christmas tree varieties.

Many people maintain the tradition of cutting down a tree grown specially for holiday traditions or selecting one from a local lot. In fact, Christmas tree farms produce 34 to 36 million Christmas trees each year. The best-selling trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.

What’s more is Christmas trees have become greener over the years. Ninety-three percent of them are recycled. They provide habitat for wildlife and remove dust and pollen from the air. Approximately 1 acre of Christmas trees provide the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

Home for the Holly-days

They don’t say “Deck the halls with boughs of holly” for nothing.

The prickly green plant and its bright, red berries are popular for bringing a little Christmas spirit to homes.

landscape plants for the holidays
The prickly green holly leaves hung indoors were once thought to protect those inside from evil spirits.

Before it was hung in houses to accompany Christmas trees, holly was considered a sacred plant by the Druids. They hung the plant in their homes for protection and to fend off evil spirits. They also thought of holly as a symbol of fertility and eternal life.

People use holly to make wreathes, which symbolize eternity.

The American holly even became the official state tree of Delaware in 1939. Why? Because the town of Milton, Delaware once displayed more Christmas holly decorations than anywhere else in the world.

Mistletoe Mania

Kissing under the mistletoe has become a Yuletide ritual.

landscape plants for the holidays
Norse mythology said mistletoe was a sign of love and friendship.

Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that lives on a variety of host trees. The mistletoe associated with Christmas is a European plant that grows on willow, oak, apple and other deciduous trees. Another species, hardy to zone 6, grows on oak, elm and poplar trees in the eastern U.S.

The tradition of hanging mistletoe in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. They believed the plant possessed mystical powers, bringing good luck and warding off evil.

Norse mythology looked to mistletoe as a sign of love and friendship. But the white-berried plant’s kissing custom comes from England. The original custom says one must pick a berry from the mistletoe sprig before kissing another; when the berries were gone, you were out of luck.

The Tropicals: Christmas Cactus and Poinsettia

My grandmother always has a blooming Christmas cactus indoors near a sunny garden window at this time of year. With the right care ,the plant blooms around the holidays, with showy flowers emerging from the tips.

landscape plants for the holidays
Poinsettia bring color to the holidays.

Poinsettia also bring a lot of color to the holiday season. These subtropical plants are native to Mexico.

The shape of the poinsettia flower is a symbol of the star of Bethlehem, which led the wise men to Jesus.

Have Yourself a Nature-Filled Christmas

When everything else on the landscape is dead or dormant, the plants of Christmas serve as symbols of spring’s return. As such, they have become must-haves for Christmas decorating and inspiring warm, happy holiday emotions in your customers. 

Encourage your customers to enjoy a little green this holiday season. Give them the gift of holiday memories they’ll never forget. 

Happy holidays from the NALP team!