General gardening topics

15 inspiring plants that flower at Christmas – indoor and outdoor plants

Last updated on March 20th, 2022

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With Christmas approaching, it is good to plan ahead for what plants you will cultivate indoors and outdoors. With these top 15 inspiring plants, you can find something to bring inside or to add colour outside. The versatility and ease of use for all of the plants on this list are what makes them the best choices:

1. Poinsettias

Growing poinsettias and care guide
Poinsettias – Indoor plant

Poinsettias are the most popular indoor houseplants that flower at Christmas. With their red blooms these plants like direct sunlight and moist growing conditions. It is also important that they are protected from any cold drafts so are usually better placed away from windowsills because these tend to be more drafty.

Whilst they are commonly sold in most garden centres (and even supermarkets) in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you can actually keep yours growing all year round, only to show it off the following Christmas.

We have a great article which you can read here on how you can get the leaves to turn red again the following year by following a few simple steps.

2. Amaryllis

Amaryllis bulbs planted to October to flower in late December
Amaryllis – House plant

Amaryllis are bulbs, but don’t let that frighten you. They are easy to grow and provide stunning colours for the winter if grown indoors. You can grow them outdoors so that you have an inspiring display in spring but they make excellent houseplants. If planted around October in small pots they should flower around the end of December, usually, it takes around 10 weeks from the bulbs being planted to flowering. They grow well in direct or indirect light, and some shade during the hottest parts of the day can help them out. If you want to grow them outdoors you would need to plant them in spring with your other spring bulbs for summer flowering outdoors.

3. Christmas Cactus

Growing Christmas Cacti. Plant in cactus compost
Christmas Catus Houseplant

Keeping with the colour scheme of the holidays, the Christmas Cactus will bloom red flowers just in time for Christmas, but they also come in pink and white too. The branches hang so they can be spread out across a table, allowing every guest to enjoy a view of the flowers. These differ from other cacti because their flowers are broad, similar to daisies and their leaves have rounded teeth along the perimeter. They are easy to grow in pots and can be grown all year. Like Poinsettias, you need to give them specific light requirements to ensure they flower every Chrismas but if you follow our Christmas cactus guide this is very simple and straightforward.

4. Mahonia

evergreen shrub is known for its bright yellow flowers which are sometimes fragrant which are followed by black or purple berries. It's an evergreen shrub with spine-toothed thick leathery leaves so provides all year round interest and growing to around 1.5 meters tall doesn't grow too large. It does prefer well-drained soil but does grow well in clay so the soil may need to be improved a little to ensure adequate drainage.
Mahonia – Garden shrub

There are other shrubs that are popular for their winter flowers, one prime example being the Mahonia thanks to its stunning bright yellow flowers and spiked leathery foliage. It is also an evergreen plant, which means it provides all year round interest too.

5. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’

It produces pink and white flowers in late autumn/spring that emerge from red buds. At 2.5 meters tall once established its a fairly large shrub so allow plenty of room but it can be pruned to keep it within a certain size. Great for sheltered and exposed areas but prefers full sun or partial shade.
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’

The Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is a large upright shrub that produces pink flowers in autumn to spring, which open up from red buds. This easy to grow shrub prefers full sun or semi-shade and will also grow in most moist but well-drained soils, making it perfect for most gardens and positions.

6. Cyclamen

Cyclamen persicum which is a free-flowering and hardy plant. Normally though, the Cyclamen persicum is used as an indoor plant so it will mix well with Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ in pots.

For something smaller, perhaps something for smaller gardens or on balconies, Cyclamen offer the sweet, hunter green with a lighter yellow centre on the leaves followed by bright red, pink or white flowers. They require very little care and the flowers bring a sweet scent, which is only made all the better by the heart-shaped leaves. They reach full blooming in winter, right in time for Christmas. You can get both indoor and outdoor types, however, the indoor varieties have much larger flowers.

7. Holly – Ilex aquifolium

Holly also known as Ilex aquifolium
Ilex aquifolium – Holly

Of course, Holly (also known as Ilex aquifolium) is another quintessential Chrismas plant. It is known for its dark green leaves, white flowers, and of course the red berries that usually appear just in time for Christmas. There are many species available so you can grow Holly as a winter hedge or border, grow them in pots to have along a garden path, even bring them indoors or cut off sprigs of Holly to display around your home. 

8. Indoor Azaleas

There are azaleas that come in the form of deciduous and evergreen varieties both of which are perfect spring-flowering shrubs. The Azalea comes in so many forms that you can pick pink, white, burgundy, red, even coral flowers. There's very little work required to cultivate Azalea's but a big reward.
Indoor Azaleas

Indoor Azaleas take the form of a tiny tree, they are truly stunning with the bright green foliage and bright pink flowers. You can place them in a cool area with filtered sun and enjoy adorable little pots scattered throughout your home or placed as a unique Christmas centrepiece when it comes time to dine. 

9. Miniature Narcissus

Miniature daffodils for window boxes

For a mixture and white and yellow, grow miniature Narcissus in your garden or in small pots indoors. Their flowers stand tall in the winter, offsetting the beautiful whites of snow with the rich yellow rays of the sun. These plants are considered a smaller daffodil by many, but regardless of their family heritage, the trumpet-shaped flowers indicative of rebirth and new beginnings is the perfect symbol for the new year.

10. Winter Pansies

Winter pansies which are perfect for winter pots
Winter pansies

Winter Pansies make a delightful display in your garden and can be planted from around September, timed perfectly for when your summer bedding is beginning to get past its best and needs replacing.

11. Heathers

Winter flowering heathers

Winter Heathers adds the texture that no other plant really provides. They have a fern-like foliage with spikes of flowers and are a popular choice for winter planters and come in many different colours.

12. Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’

Jingle bells winter flowering clematis
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’ is an all-white tinged with yellow-flowering clematis that does well in winter and is colloquially called ‘Old Man’s Beard’. This is one of only a few winter flowering clematis.

13. Helleborus niger – Christmas Rose

Helleborus niger also known as christmas rose
Helleborus niger

Helleborus niger offers stunning dark green leaves that no other plant can beat and it produces large flowers that come in a mix of colours, ranging from white, to pink to red. Also known as the Christmas Rose this had to be included in the best plants for Christmas and is perfect for adding instant winter colour outdoors.

14. Sarcococca

sarcococca hookeriana evergreen shrub
Sarcococca, known as sweet box

Sarcococca, also known as ‘Sweet Box’, is a slow-growing evergreen shrub which, at full maturity, will span upwards of 1-2 metres tall. The leaves are quite long with tiny white flowers. You can grow them indoors in containers with moist soil and partial shade to full sun, or place them in your garden and watch them slowly creep along. 

15. Rosemary

Pruning rosemary after flowering in summer

Rosemary is, of course, a staple for any kitchen or herb garden and with it grown in pots you can add a wonderful aroma to your garden, or your home. What’s more, if you grow them outside, they will spread quickly, becoming large and bush-like in form, leaving behind greenery all winter. Inside, you can snip a few sprigs here or there to add to your Christmas dinner.

Image credits –

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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