The 7 best Christmas flowers and plants to gift loved ones this holiday – and not a poinsettia in sight

If you're looking for flowers or plants to gift for Christmas that florists think you should choose over a poinsettia

A glass vase with a red and green themed Christmas arrangement of flowers
(Image credit: Alamy )

It's easily forgotten, but Christmas flowers and plants contribute a lot to our festive efforts. Whether it's the sprigs of Nordic fir in your festive wreath or the mistletoe hung on your front porch, certain plant varieties have a long, historic tradition with Christmas. That said, you might be looking for something a bit different this year. 

The thing is, as pretty as poinsettias are, they're predictable and clichéd. You're guaranteed to be gifted one every Christmas, yet you'll probably be tired of it by the time the Christmas decorations come down. 

If you want to give the gift of flowers this year but with a little something extra, we've asked florists for their top picks of the best alternative Christmas flowers and plants that make the perfect present for your loved ones and bring a natural touch to your Christmas decorating this year. 

What are the best Christmas flowers and plants?

Amaryllis

Red and white flowers in a vase

(Image credit: Alamy )

If you're tired of poinsettias but want a flower that still has associations with Christmas, then give amaryllis a go. The large bell-shaped blooms can be bought as cut flowers or in potted plants (or even bulbs for your loved ones to plant themselves). They've been gifted during the Holidays for over a century, popularized in Victorian times when they stood as a symbol of strength and determination due to their tall height. 

While amaryllis comes in a wide variety of colors, for a true Christmas theme choose luscious red hues. 'Red is undoubtedly the color of the season, creating a perfect balance of warmth and light, whilst effortlessly bringing some festive cheer to any room in your home,' says Nemanja Vorkapic, Head of Floristry and Design at Floward (opens in new tab). 'Red amaryllis are some of winter’s classic florals. Pair with green foliage to help you create a timeless red and green display throughout the holiday season.'

Potted amaryllis, Proflowers (opens in new tab)
What to buy

Potted amaryllis, Proflowers (opens in new tab)

Pick up this beautiful potted amaryllis and tulip bulb arrangement as a Christmas gift. 

Ranunculus 

A glass vase filled with white flowers and foliage next to a kitchen sink

(Image credit: funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk)

Sometimes known as 'Christmas roses', ranunculus bloom in December and January, making them the perfect seasonal flower for this time of year. White varieties are most popular for the festive period, and with their tight petals they nearly resemble a snowball. 

'This flower is so delicate and their stems can come in such wild shapes which can make them look so whimsical,' explains Mary-Anne Da'Marzo, owner of The Last Bunch (opens in new tab). 'White ranunculus look stunning with contrasting red Poinsettia - a firm favorite at this time of year. You can also get this in beautiful corals and pale tones as well as the standard red. Perfect if you want to add a floral centerpiece to your Christmas table decor to spark conversation.'

Gloria ranunculus, Proflowers (opens in new tab)
What to buy

Gloria ranunculus, Proflowers (opens in new tab)

It doesn't get much more festive than this Christmas roses in a red and white bouquet.

Orchids 

Cut pink and orange cymbidium orchids in a white vase

(Image credit: funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk)

Orchids make one of the most popular plants for gifting at any time of the year, and Christmas is no exception. Their tall and elegant steps and variegated coloring makes them a real spectacle, and a beautiful addition to your decor too. 

'Orchids may not be the first floral arrangement that comes to mind during the Christmas season, but they can be a fantastic addition to holiday décor as an unexpected twist,' says Nemanja. 'In classic neutral shades, orchids add flair and height to decorative displays and bring elegance to any home throughout the holidays.' 

These beauties make the best gift when they're already potted since cut varieties are extremely delicate and quite hard to come by. When it comes to how to care for orchids, potted varieties are much easier to look after and longer lasting. 

Ivy 

A potted ivy plant with trailing leaves

(Image credit: Alamy)

Ivy is another plant commonly associated with Christmas, to the point that there's even a song about it (The Holly and The Ivy). The reason it makes such a great alternative Christmas gift to its more festive cousins like holly or mistletoe is that it makes one of the best houseplants all year round. 

There are lots of different varieties of ivy out there, but the one most associated with the festive season is English ivy. This evergreen plant is one of the most effective air-purifying options out there, and we think it's one of the best trailing houseplants, too. 

Nigella seed pods

Dried seed pods in a dark brown vase

(Image credit: Alamy )

If you want to give the gift that keeps on giving, why not consider dried flowers? Nigella seed pods are beautiful dried seed that comes in a range of subtle shades, perfect for your more understated friends at Christmas time. 

'Nigella seed pods can add a textured whimsical feel into even the most structured of bouquets,' says Mary-Anne. 'They come in a range of different colors from deep green, to reddish burgundy with stripes in between. Due to their ‘fluffy’ nature, they look great paired with strongly shaped foliage such as eucalyptus and dainty gypsophila, their reddish hues are great to add a pop of festive color into your bouquet and welcome the cheer in a fun way.’

Hellebores

A cream pot with white flowers in

(Image credit: thejoyofplants.co.uk)

Hellebores are a firm winter favorite due to their blooming nature even in the depths of winter and the freezing temperatures that come with it. A member of the Ranunculaceae family, their white flowers are a more delicate cousin to the ranunculus. 

For a contemporary Christmas look, Mary-Anne recommends combining hellebore with holly. 'If you’re wanting to keep the colorful elements of the bouquet without much green, you could remove the holly leaves and just have the berries in your bouquet,' she says. 'This also looks really gorgeous using alternative foliage such as eucalyptus.'

Eucalyptus

eucalyptus in a metallic bronze vase

(Image credit: Alamy)

On that note, we couldn't get away without mentioning eucalyptus. Whether you opt for a bouquet of cut stems alongside sprays of baby's breath or dried eucalyptus as a more permanent Christmas gift, this beautiful sage-green colored foliage offers a subtle bit of greenery, perfect for Scandinavian Christmas decor

Lilith Hudson
Junior writer

Lilith Hudson is the Junior Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news articles for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration that you need in your home. She discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. Lilith now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London (a degree where she could combine both) and has previously worked at the Saturday Times Magazine, ES Magazine, DJ Mag and The Simple Things Magazine.