Holidays Crops Offer a Twist

When we think of holiday crops, we usually think of poinsettias. In the past, they have been the main plant of choice. They are still a key player, but breeders are finding innovative combinations to introduce more genera to holiday décor.

There are many crops suited for indoors around the holidays, ranging from foliage plants to succulents. There are so many varieties to put in a mixed container with poinsettias, or stand-alone varieties to spruce up your living space. If you’re looking for holiday crops besides poinsettias, you’ve come to the right place.

Poinsettia Robyn Red, Robyn Pink Kalanchoe Diamond single White Syngenta Flowers

‘Robyn Red’ and ‘Robyn Pink’ poinsettias from Syngenta Flowers are paired with Kalanchoe ‘Diamond Single White’ from Beekenkamp. Photo: Beekenkamp Plants


Sirekit Mol, Head of Marketing and Retail for Beekenkamp, says holiday crops are not limited to poinsettias. Floral arrangements with a variety of crops are becoming popular with consumers, rather than poinsettias alone. Pink, red, and white poinsettias could be mixed with white, red, and yellow kalanchoe.

Another holiday crop is begonias, including the Spacestar series or the BK collection from Beekenkamp, and other Begonia hiemalis (Reiger) varieties, Mol says.

Managing Nostoc Algae in Greenhouses

Gaultheria in a winter arrangement Jelitto Seeds

Gaultheria is seen here in a winter arrangement. Photo: Mary Vaananen/Jelitto Perennial Seeds


Jelitto offers seeds of Gaultheria procumbens and Gaultheria procumbens ‘Redwood’. This is a perennial plant, evergreen in most places, that has light-pink flowers in the summer and red berries in the fall and winter. Perennials can be grown for holiday sales and then planted in the garden in the spring, says Mary Vaananen, North American Manager at Jelitto. Consumers are looking for a crop that they don’t need to throw away at the end of the season.

Crassula Calico Kitten (Dümmen Orange)

Crassula ‘Calico Kitten’ (Dümmen Orange) Photo: Dümmen Orange

Dümmen Orange

Non-traditional crops and colors are trending for holiday décor, says Marta Maria Garcia, Head of Product Management, Marketing, and Retail for Dümmen Orange North America. Poinsettias could be combined with foliage to bring more green into holiday decorations.

Growers and consumers are looking for crops that are innovative, but easy to grow and maintain. Retail displays show that adding foliage and succulents to poinsettias is trending this year.

Euphorbia Glitz (PanAmerican Seed)

Euphorbia ‘Glitz’ (PanAmerican Seed) Photo: Ball Horticultural

PanAmerican Seed

Cyclamen ‘Dreamscape’, Hypoestes ‘Splash Select’, and Euphorbia ‘Glamour’ or ‘Glitz’ are the three crops I see used most from our seed assortment,” says Steven Engel, Regional Account Manager for PanAmerican Seed.

“The Euphorbia is used to mix with poinsettias, often to make red/white poinsettia combos,” he says. “The Hypoestes and Cyclamen do well indoors, so I see them in holiday containers in the floral areas in my area (south/southwest).”

Centaurea Silver Swirl combo image Darwin Perennials

This combination shows how well Centaurea ‘Silver Swirl’ from Darwin Perennials mixes with poinsettias. Photo: Ball Horticultural

Darwin Perennials

To resonate with younger generations, the industry needs to provide something unique for holiday plants, or think of new ways to use existing plants, according to Chris Fifo, Product Representative for Darwin Perennials.

“The white/silver foliage of Centaurea goes with anything, and we have found this plant to last around four weeks in our office setting,” Fifo says. “Even using ‘Silver Swirl’ as a standalone plant with a red sleeve on the pot I think would make a nice holiday gift.”

He says Darwin Perennials is sampling ‘Silver Swirl’ with growers to target a Valentine’s Day crop.

Echeveria Coral Reef Red (Green Fuse Botanicals)

Echeveria ‘Coral Reef Red’ (Green Fuse Botanicals) Photo: Green Fuse Botanicals

Green Fuse Botanicals

“Quicker crop times is always an advantage,” says Jim Devereux, President of Green Fuse Botanicals. “Poinsettias may consume five to six months of space, while other potted crops may take just two to three months and achieve a higher price point per square foot.”

He says consumers are looking for textures and free flowering crops that maintain a tidy appearance long after the holidays have passed because they are very focused on returns for their money.

Begonia Holiday Silver Bells (Terra Nova Nurseries)

Begonia ‘Holiday Silver Bells’ (Terra Nova Nurseries) Photo: Terra Nova Nurseries

Terra Nova Nurseries

Terra Nova Nurseries offers the Holiday Series, a holiday-themed line, says Chuck Pavlich, Director of New Product Development. Holiday Series varieties are prime November through February (from before Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day). Most plants in the series feature begonias that are winter-blooming indoors.

“Terra Nova’s Holida️y line grows easily under lots of greenhouse environments,” Pavlich says. “They can be grown under the same conditions as poinsettias, orchids, kalanchoe, and a whole host of other winter crops.”

Dianthus Sunflor Cosmos (HilverdaFlorist)

Dianthus ‘Sunflor Cosmos’ (HilverdaFlorist) Photo: HilverdaFlorist


Cheryl Zethof, Marketing Coordinator for HilverdaFlorist, says incorporating a multisensory approach to holiday season decors is trending. Dianthus ‘Sunflor’ seamlessly fits in with the fragrance trend due to its scented flowers, often described as warm spice, sweet vanilla, or clove.

“Dianthus ‘Sunflor’ is a versatile series, perfect for garden, patio planters, and indoor use during the holiday season,” she says. “Its outstanding cold tolerance enables cool production temperatures. ‘Sunflor’ has short cultivation time and a tight bloom window, for easy planning and bench-run production.”

Caladium Heart to Heart Radiance (Proven Winners)

Caladium ‘Heart to Heart Radiance’ (Proven Winners) Photo: Proven Winners

Proven Winners

Poinsettias are iconic for the holidays, but they can be tough to keep alive, says Kate Spirgen, B2B Marketing Specialist for Proven Winners. Caladiums, on the other hand, last longer with easier care for customers.

“Customers, younger customers in particular, are looking for décor they can keep after Christmas into January and February,” she says. “Caladiums are the perfect option for both holiday and winter décor since they can be enjoyed year-round as houseplants.”

Growers also like caladiums because they are de-eyed to produce a fuller, more compact plant, and painted for easier, speedier orientation when planting.

Norfolk Island Pine (Costa Farms)

Norfolk Island Pine Photo: Costa Farms

Costa Farms

“We grow a ton of Norfolk Island Pine, of course (I believe Costa Farms grows more Norfolk Island Pine than anyone else in North America), as well as Anthuriums on the more traditional houseplant side,” says Justin Hancock, Senior Brand Marketing Manager for Costa Farms. “I’m not sure if there’s been an uptick because of the holidays or just because they’re trendy in general, but variegated plants like White Knight Philodendron and Begonia maculata have been popular this season. And being in South Florida, it’s interesting seeing gardeners and landscapers putting in lots of red-and-white bedding plants this time of year.”

Hancock says Norfolk Island Pine is a classic because it’s a subtropical, year-round houseplant you can decorate and use as a living Christmas tree during the holiday season.

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