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Gardener's Notebook: New plants to consider for holiday season

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society is holding their AGM and Christmas gathering on November 15

YORKTON - Christmas is just weeks away.  Can you believe it? 

Magazines are already showing inspiring pictures of homes ‘decked’ for the holidays.  But they are ‘decked’ in new and exciting and edgy ways.  The traditional holiday plant favourites are still beautiful, but many images that I’ve seen show elegant and more nature-driven ideas with twigs and greenery.  And when it comes to plants, there are new kids in town, rather than the much-loved poinsettias, amaryllis and paperwhites.

What are they?  Think orchids in muted colours, accented with metallic holiday baubles…pothos, trailing along a mantel with large pinecones tucked among the vines…rosemary, not only beautiful to look at and decorate with tiny decorations, but delicious to make rosemary walnuts…red anthurium to give a bold new look to traditional red and green holiday colours…and a new one for us to learn about, the ZZ plant.

Do you know about this plant?  While I think I may have seen it, I did not know the name of it, or anything about it.  Time for homework!  The ZZ plant has the official name “Zamioculcas

But is also known by names that are much more use-friendly like “zuzu plant”, “emerald palm” or “zz plant”.

 I read that it is easy-care and very, very forgiving as a houseplant.  The leaves are beautiful, glossy, strong and paddle-shaped.  The plant likes bright, indirect light.   When spring comes, we can easily take this plant outdoors for a holiday on our patios, but we would have to keep it in a spot that is partly shady; it won’t do well in full sun.  It doesn’t have a great problem with any pests.  We can fertilizer during the active growing season, spring and summer, with a balanced fertilizer.

The plant grows about two feet tall and is interesting because if grows from a rhizome that stores water…meaning that if we forget to water it from time to time, it will refresh itself from this rhizome.  It might even lose its leaves if we forget to water it but can still come back from the brink because of that water-storing rhizomes!  Amazing!  But we can’t forget about it completely, as forgiving as it is!  Though it has this amazing quality, it should be watered regularly (every two or three weeks) but we should let it dry out in between watering.

It sounds like the zz plant is not only beautiful but would continue to look nice long after the holiday season is past.  Some of the more traditional holiday plants are beautiful for that short time frame…and while I know some gardeners try to hang on to poinsettias as long as possible, they just seem past their time from mid-January on, don’t they.  By February they just look sad, and by March, well, you know what I mean.

I have read some articles that talk about “woodland decorating”, which is a very pretty style indeed, using interesting branches and twigs right from our back yards.   I often save twigs that fall over the summer, especially if they have an interesting shape.  I like the look of them in a fall display, and that can transition easily into using them for a winter arrangement as well.  Maybe we can chat about that next time!

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society is holding their AGM and Christmas gathering on November 15.  After that, there will not be any meetings till March 2024.  I think every gardener looks forward to a winter rest!

But please continue to visit our website at to read interesting news and see some lovely photos.  Thank you to YTW for their great work every week.  Cheers!

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