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Broadleaf Evergreens for Holiday Decorations
Add a natural touch to your holiday decorating scheme with fresh greenery. A number of broadleaf evergreen plants are suitable for holiday decorations.
A trio of plants that are often seen in holiday arrangements is the boxwood, the holly, and the ivy. They’re among the top favorite choices.
Stems of the mountain laurel are ideal for the holidays. These feature firm, thick, glossy leaves that are long lasting and easy to work with. The same is true for rhododendron leaves.
Winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei) is a lovely evergreen vine or shrub that is grown as a ground cover. Hardy to zone five, this features elliptic to oval, toothed leaves with a pointed tip. The color varies according to the variety. The foliage is ¼ to 1½ inch in length.
Very long lasting and aromatic, the leaves of eucalyptus often appear in holiday wreaths. These plants aren’t very hardy, which is a good thing since the trees are quite invasive.
The laurel or bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is hardy to zone eight or so. This tender herb was widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The aromatic, shiny, deep green leaves are ideal for Christmas decorations. This is the same leaf sold as bay leaf in the spice aisle of supermarkets.
Nandina, often called heavenly bamboo in the South, is an evergreen with soft, rather thin, lance-like foliage. Depending on the variety, the leaves can range from green to reddish or cream. The plant is hardy to zone six or so.
The foliage of leatherleaf viburnum is semi-evergreen in the North and evergreen in the South. These long, thick, richly textured, lance-like leaves are a good choice for holiday arrangements. The fruits can also add color for the holidays.
Although the stems of pyracantha or firethorn do contain thorns, the berried stems add a dramatic touch to holiday arrangements. The rather small, evergreen leaves are ½ to two inches in length.
The southern magnolia has large, attractive, thick, shiny evergreen leaves that are a perfect choice for wreaths and the like. The tree is hardy to zone seven or so. These leaves are used both fresh and dried.
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a native evergreen ground cover. Very hardy, the plant occurs in many regions. The evergreen leaves become bronze for the colder months. These are only ½ to ¾ inch long. This native also features stunning red berries suitable for holiday wreaths and arrangements.
The various Oregon grape hollies (Mahonia spp.) are outstanding evergreens that can be grown in many areas of the country. The dark green foliage becomes bronze in the fall. They’re compound with five to nine large leaflets. These are usually spiny along the edges. The long lasting foliage is often used in holiday decorations.
American mistletoe is native to the East. It is most visible in the colder months after the deciduous trees have lost their leaves. For some reason, this plant is especially common on the trees that I see on the horse farms in the blue grass region of Kentucky. The small leaves feel somewhat spongy, and are often appear in holiday decorations. The berries are lovely as well. The entire plant is considered toxic.
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