Holly and ivy have been used by Christians for Christmas decorations for centuries. They look lovely in a centerpiece or a hurricane vase. It is fairly easy to grow both of these to use for decorations, but they each have different requirements.
The holly plant is a dramatic expression of the traditional Christmas colors, filled with red berries contrasted against the dark green leaves. However, keep away from children or pets, as eating the red berries can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Winterberry is the holly that is native to the United States.
Plant the holly in acidic soil topped with peat moss, keep moist and place in direct, natural sunlight. The female is the one that grows the berries which usually last from late fall to early winter. Holly comes in various sizes and leaf types and English Holly is the one we are most familiar with in the United States.
Ivy leaves can vary in the size and color of their leaves. Ivy grows best in a hanging basket, or on the edge of an object such as a table or window sill which permits the leaves to grow out and down. Ivy plants do not like direct sunlight and will even grow where the light is poor.
You can start the plant with either seedlings or from a store-bought plant. Ivy needs moist, but not wet soil, and will flourish in most any type of dirt. You can add peat moss or compost to enrich the soil. Use a plant food product once a week and grow in cool temperatures. You can control the size of the plant by cutting the ends of the roots. Both the berries and leaves are poisonous so keep out of reach of children and pets.
To learn how to grow Silver Artemis, Tarragon, and Wormwood plants to use in Christmas decorations, read our article “A Christmas Garden: Grow Your Own Decorations”.