There are a few holiday flowers that you will see in almost every home: poinsettias, Christmas cacti, and amaryllis, to name a few. They are bright, festive, and relatively easy to care for.
If you’re looking for something a little different this holiday season, consider growing a Christmas rose as a houseplant! With proper care, this lovely flower naturally blooms around Christmas time and is sure to add a little holiday magic to your home.
What is a Christmas Rose?
The Christmas rose—formally called a —is one of 20 varieties of the Hellebore genus. Despite being called a rose, they’re actually more closely related to buttercups. Some of the varieties bloom facing up, some droop towards the ground, but they are all lovely, delicate flowers nonetheless.
This perennial will bloom as early as Christmas in warmer climates, and features dainty white flowers. It can grow up to a foot tall with proper care. The bright blooms face up, making it a lovely flower to include in your Christmas decor. They are hardy enough to survive winter outdoors in Iowa, though they will likely not bloom until late winter/early spring because of the cold.
Be careful when handling a Christmas rose! It is poisonous and a skin irritant. While caring for your plant, it is a good idea to wear proper gardening gloves. Of course, keep out of reach of children and pets.
How to Grow a Christmas Rose
With proper care, a Christmas rose will take 3-4 years to flower if planted from seed. Seeds need 60 days of damp, cold weather to germinate and should not be planted too deep.
For immediate flowering, it is best to buy from a nursery. If you wish to establish this perennial in your garden, then plant in late spring or early summer so that it has time to establish before winter.
When planting in a pot, make sure that there is enough space for long roots. The soil should be well-draining and rich in nutrients—some clay and lime content in the soil will do the trick! Add high phosphorus fertilizer when your Christmas rose starts blooming to boost flower production and duration.
How to Properly Care for a Christmas Rose
When caring for a Christmas rose, keep in mind that it naturally flowers in the winter when the weather is dreary and cold! A warm house may cause the leaves to yellow, as will overwatering.
The best place for a potted Christmas rose in winter is somewhere with bright light and a cool draft, such as a sheltered porch, entryway, or three-season room (you want to avoid freezing temps as this will damage the potted roots. When planted in-ground, the depth of the soil insulates the roots). Of course, you can move the flowers to the table when you have guests over, but be sure to put it back in its happy place once the festivities have passed!
To properly care for this pretty perennial, water sparingly and let the soil dry in between. Take care not to get the leaves wet, as it can cause disease. The plant may need a bit more water while it’s growing and flowering, but once the flowering is done, you can water much less and it will still receive the proper care it needs.
Deadhead any blooms that are starting to die to keep the beautiful blooms as long as possible; this saves the plants energy for new blooms and prevents waste of precious nutrients to dying stems.
For more advice on how to grow a Christmas rose and give it the care that it needs to grow properly and bloom for Christmas, visit us at Ted Lare. We are happy to help with all your holiday floral needs!