Texas Living

Holiday Decorating With Winter Greenery

By Peter Simek 12.14.21

Decorating your home for the holidays can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the season. This year, try sprucing up your home’s interior holiday decorations by adding some, well, spruce and other winter greenery. Your wreaths, garlands, and table settings will never be fresher or more festive.

How to Find Fresh Greenery

Even though yards may look barren this time of year, there are still plenty of ways to find greenery. Keep your eyes open for evergreen plants such as cedar, magnolia, or juniper. Often, your local nursery and garden store will have some in stock. In addition to trees, wreaths, and garland, you may find other winter plants to inspire your designs. Farmers markets are another good source for inspiration.

winter greenery
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

8 Types of Winter Greenery

Chances are your local gardening store will carry both native Texas plants and winter imports.  Some of the most iconic species that bloom in winter — think holly, ivy, and mistletoe — derive their association with the holiday season thanks to their prevalence in snowy climes. But you can also show a little Texas pride by decking your halls with some plants from our neck of the woods.

  • Cedar: Cedar is abundant in Texas, and its rich green branches can lend your holiday décor a rustic charm as garland or as an accent to place settings, centerpieces, or mantel designs.
  • Eucalyptus: These bright green plants have soft teardrop leaves and spindly green pods. They smell and look wonderful when hung.
  • Juniper: With bright blue berries nestled into rich green sprigs, juniper looks great and smells even better.
  • Magnolia: Magnolia leaves are waxy and shine green and copper, each side with its own unique look and texture. They make beautiful accents to garlands or centerpieces.
  • Pine cones: If you’re lucky, you’ll find a pine tree in your neighborhood or local park. Texas is home to longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly, ponderosa, southern white, nut, pinyon, and slash pines. Any type of pine cone will make a great addition to wreaths and centerpieces.
  • Holly, ivy, and mistletoe: Don’t forget the classic trio of Christmas cheer. These can be used for garlands, door decorations, wreaths, centerpieces, and even as a tinsel substitute on your Christmas tree.
winter greenery
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

Flowers in the Dead of Winter

Texas’ mild winter climate allows for year-round gardening, and as you prepare for your holiday décor, you may want to cultivate a few flowering species that can be used to brighten your Christmas displays. Some plants that thrive this kind of year are:

  • Pansies: These easy-to-grow winter perennials come in a wide range of colors.
  • Petunias: These flowering plants do well in pots, which will allow you to bring them inside to add pops of violet and pink to your holiday cheer.
  • Snapdragons: Snapdragons give you white, yellow, pink, red, orange, peach, or violet flowers to add to your centerpiece or bouquet.
  • Sweet alyssum: Featuring dense clusters of tiny white flowers, sweet alyssum will add the smell of honey to the mix of holiday aromas.
winter greenery
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

How to Condition Greenery

As you plan your holiday décor, be sure to time your designing process so that your winter greenery stays fresh through the biggest moments of the season. Most plants, if well-treated and conditioned, can stay fresh for upward of two weeks. To retain their color and aroma, try the follow techniques:

Step 1: Fill buckets with water and prune the greenery’s stem. Crush the remaining exposed stem and set in water for a few hours. This will make your greenery easier to work with and retain their freshness.

Step 2: Treat greenery with an anti-desiccant spray, which you can likely find at your local gardening store or nursery. This will help seal your plants’ pores and lock in moisture.

Step 3: To help plants stay fresh, keep them out of sunlight and try to avoid excessive exposure to your home’s heating system. Fill a misting bottle with water and mist your greenery daily.

winter greenery
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

Winter Greenery Decorating Ideas

  • Decorative Doorways: Think of each doorway in your home as an opportunity to add holiday cheer. Drape with garland, holly, or ivy — and don’t forget the mistletoe!
  • Candleholders and Centerpieces: Add greenery to candleholders and centerpieces to spruce up winter gatherings.
  • Wreaths: Hang festive wreaths of winter greenery in front of mirrors and windows or to replace artwork.
  • Aromatherapy: Winter greenery adds the aromas of winter to your home during the holiday season. Try experimenting with aroma-focused centerpieces, such as wreaths of pine, juniper, and eucalyptus punched up with citrus such as oranges or tangerines.
  • Green Thumb Gift Tags: As you wrap gifts for family and friends, add a sprig of cedar or spruce to gift tags.

Discover more homemade holiday decorations to make here.

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