Written by Susan B.
As Southern California residents, we don’t experience the frigid temperatures or snow-covered landscapes that our Northern and Eastern neighbors enjoy. That doesn’t mean that we can’t decorate our porches with plants to welcome family, friends, and other guests into our homes for our holiday festivities. Today, we’re exploring ways to use plants to decorate our porches to capture the celebratory vibe of the winter holiday season.
Rosemary plants are readily available. You will want to get a few large plants so you can prune them into the shape of a Christmas tree. We encourage you to make your own rather than buying a pre-shaped plant. You’ll be able to use the leaves from the stems you remove in cooking. If you’re not ready to transplant your rosemary into another container, find a basket you can put it in. Then decorate the basket with natural raffia in seasonal colors. You can also set the pot in a larger decorative container. Wrap several layers of colorful fabric or metallic ribbon around the pot before tying a sizeable elegant bow at the front of the pot.
Little Ragu™ is a compact cultivar of Sweet Bay Leaf (in shrub form.) Its wavy leaves are a bright and deep green color. It emits a magnificently pleasant fragrance. This specimen grows well in containers and adapts readily to being pruned into a topiary shape (Christmas tree), and you can use the leaves from your pruning in cooking – both when fresh or after drying them.
This Sweet Bay Leaf cultivar is hardy in USDA growing zones 8, 9, 10, and 11. It grows best in partial to full shade. It has the potential to grow into a large shrub with a height range of between 6 and 10 feet, and a spread of between 6 and 10 feet wide. Because Little Ragu™ is an evergreen shrub, it will maintain its appealing appearance and pleasant fragrance all year. And you can plant it in your garden after using it as a decorative porch plant for the winter holiday season.
Holly is one of the quintessential symbols of the Christmas holiday season. Emerald Colonnade® is a member of the Ilex genus, as are most holly cultivars. It is an evergreen shrub, so it keeps its leaves throughout the year. It is a suitable variety to grow in a container – at least for a while. You can later use it as part of mass plantings that provide a wind buffer, or a privacy screen. You can also use this holly cultivar on either side of a walkway up to your house or yard to create a formal look.
Because Emerald Colonnade® easily adapts to pruning, it is ideally suited to use as a topiary. It’s best to prune this holly variety during winter. Emerald Colonnade® needs regular watering during its first growing season. Before the new growth emerges each spring, feed your holly shrubs with an all-purpose fertilizer. This holly cultivar is hardy in USDA growing zones 7, 8, and 9. It grows best in full sun.
It blooms twice each year – once during the spring and again in late fall. Emerald Colonnade® can grow to a height of between 10 and 15 feet and spread to a width of between 6 and 10 feet.
Oakland™ Holly is a broadleaf hybrid evergreen shrub belonging to the Ilex genus. It is unique in that it’s self-fruiting, so you don’t need to have male and female plants. It’s dark green semi-glossy leaves resemble oak leaves. Each leaf tip has 3-to-5 pairs of sharp thorn-like spikes. Oakland™ Holly produces yellowish-white flowers that emerge from leaf axils in the spring. The flowers give way to long-lasting red berries that provide fall and winter interest.
Oakland™ Holly is hardy in USDA growing zones 6a through 9b. It grows best in full sun or partial shade (meaning 2-6 hours of direct sun). This holly cultivar prefers slightly acidic soil that drains well. It’s water needs are average to moist. Its growth habit is dense, erect, and somewhat pyramid-shaped. Although its growth rate is slow to moderate, it’s not a plant that can live in a container beyond the holiday season. At maturity, it’s it will be 15 to 20 feet tall, and it spreads to a width of 8 to 10 feet. It is useful as an accent, a hedge, as a privacy screen, or a specimen.
We’ve made some plant suggestions that you might want to consider when you’re looking for ways to deck out your front porch for the holidays. You can add mini lights, decorative ribbons, or turn gilded pine cones, cinnamon sticks, or berries into ornaments for your porch decorations. Use pine or fir branches in a wreath form to create unique door wreaths and add decorative bows, pine cones, or oranges studded with whole cloves. Whether you know or don’t know what you want to use to decorate your porch, our enthusiastic team will help you find what you’re looking for, or make suggestions to help you figure out what you want to do.
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