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For the HomeFor the GardenFood & EntertainingResourcesArticle Archive
For The Garden

Plants With Holiday Appeal

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: December, 2012, Page 104

plants with holiday appeal for low-desert gardens


Type: Perennial

Blooms: Numerous colors; late summer to fall

Size: 4-36"H by 12-36"W

Soil: Fertile and well-drained

Light: Full sun with afternoon shade. Avoid planting where there is a lot of night light.

Water needs: For porous soil, water frequently; water less for denser soil.

Maintenance: To grow fuller plants, pinch off top inch or two of growth every 3 to 4 weeks during the growing season, until about August.

Attracts: Bees and butterflies

Note: Plants can be directly transplanted from pots into garden beds.

Why we like it: Showy, easy-to-grow and an old-time favorite, this hardy mum comes in multiple forms, and it blooms for weeks, even when cut.


Type: Perennial or biennial

Blooms: Pink, rose, red, yellow, orange; late spring to winter

Size: 12-18"H by 18-24"W

Soil: Well-draining

Light: Light shade

Water needs: Regular; avoid over-watering

Maintenance: Apply compost in spring, then add mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. To encourage rebloom on mounding varieties, shear back after flowering.

Attracts: Butterflies

Note: There are more than 300 species and hundreds of varieties and hybrids to choose from.

Why we like it: Long-blooming and fragrant, it makes an excellent container plant, is good for cutting, can be tucked into herb or rock gardens, and is deer-resistant.

(Gerbera jamesonii)
(Gerbera jamesonii)

Type: Perennial; often grown as an annual

Blooms: Various colors; early summer and late fall

Size: 7-18"H; 12-18"W

Soil: Enriched; avoid planting too deep to prevent rot.

Light: Light shade

Water needs: Allow soil to almost dry out between waterings.

Maintenance: Remove spent blooms and foliage when plant dies back.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: For the longest-lasting flowers, choose plants with buds that haven’t opened. When cutting for bouquets, slit the bottom inch of the stem before placing it in water.

Why we like it: A repeat bloomer, it is a showstopper in the garden, makes an excellent cut flower and seems to bounce back from neglect.


Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Reddish-orange fruit in fall/winter; creamy white flowers in spring

Size: 2-12'H by 4-10'W

Soil: Tolerates most

Light: Full sun; avoid western exposures

Water needs: Moderate; do not over-water

Maintenance: Prune lightly
in early spring and mid-fall; avoid heavy pruning, which can reduce fruit production.

Attracts: Birds (to the berries)

Note: Birds that eat the fermented berries often appear drunk.

Why we like it: Easy to shape, it can be grown as a vine, hedge, espalier or screen. Its clusters of berries set against glossy green leaves brighten up just about any garden. Firethorn also is available with yellow berries.

Other Favorites:
Amaryllis, chile pepper, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, geranium, heavenly bamboo, kalanchoe, red pansy, red petunia, poinsettia, spiral-shaped ficus, topiary-shaped rosemary
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