Poinsettias aren’t the only game in town for the winter holidays. There are other alternatives to choose from to boost post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas sales. From cyclamen to hydrangeas and hellebores, consider these 15 new varieties to change up your crop mix, not only for winter holidays, but at other times of the year, as well.
Alstroemeria ‘Rock and Roll’ (Anthony Tesselaar Plants)
The variegated foliage of ‘Rock and Roll’ is striking, and when the plant comes into flower, the overall effect is quite festive. Brilliant red blossoms contrast nicely with distinctive yellow foliage that fades to white with a green edge. ‘Rock and Roll’ has a compact bushy habit and grows well in full sun to part shade. It is hardy to Zone 8b.
Azalea ‘First Kiss’ (Aris Keepsake Plants)
This 2016 introduction is a sweet bicolor azalea that is a living bouquet bursting with vibrant fuchsia blooms that last up to five weeks. Flower size is 3 to 3½ inches. The delightful floral display of ‘First Kiss’ comes in a range of sizes and is fresh, elegant, and exotic.
Azalea ‘Romance’ (Aris Keepsake Plants)
The lovely two-tone pink blooms and lush floral display of this 2015 introduction evoke thoughts of romance. It is perfect for any occasion or no occasion at all. Semi-double flowers are 3 to 3½ inches and create a living bouquet that lasts for up to five weeks. ‘Romance’ is available in a range of forms, from a larger centerpiece pot or braided topiary to a smaller personal “just because” size that brings instant living décor.
Begonia hybrid ‘Autumn Ember’ (Cultivaris)
This new, fancy-leafed, rhizomatous begonia has a great pot habit and is incredibly vigorous and easy-to-grow. Its glowing orange-red leaves make it a standout in combos or as a monoculture crop. ‘Autumn Ember’ was selected by Martha Stewart from the extensive begonia breeding program at Logee’s Greenhouse. It is hardy in Zone 10 and makes a great houseplant.
Begonia ‘Jurassic Watermelon’ (D.S. Cole Growers)
Watermelon is a Ball Ingenuity product with more vigor than older Rex Begonias, and the combination of leaf colors is a great addition for the holidays, as well as for all year. Watermelon is one of five varieties in the Jurassic series. It can be sold as is, or dressed up with glitter and with pot covers to be as fancy as you desire. When grown from liners for the fall holiday in 6-inch pots, plan on around eight to ten weeks to finish.
Cyclamen ‘Allure’ (Sakata Ornamentals)
‘Allure’ is an intermediate cyclamen loved by growers for its uniform, open flowering, and suitability for phased growing. ‘Allure’ has a crop time of 27 to 29 weeks and is recommended for use in 4- to 5-inch containers.
Cyclamen ‘Picasso’ (Sakata Ornamentals)
‘Picasso’ is a mini cyclamen known for its silvery foliage and beautiful, fragrant blooms. It has an open plant structure and is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. ‘Picasso’ has a crop time of 27 to 29 weeks and is recommended for use in packs and 4-inch containers.
Cyclamen ‘Verano’ (Sakata Ornamentals)
‘Verano’ is a fast-growing mini cyclamen known for its heat tolerance and excellent performance as both a pot and bedding plant. ‘Verano’ has a total crop time of 25 to 27 weeks and is recommended for use in packs and 2 ½- to 4-inch containers.
Dianthus ‘Pinball Wizard’ (Plant Haven)
‘Pinball Wizard’ has masses of fancy pink-and-white striped, double flowers that are highly scented and attract bees and butterflies. It has silver-blue foliage and a compact mounding habit. Wizard is a repeat bloomer that flowers from spring to fall. Its flower stems are sturdy and do not flop. Vernalization for six to eight weeks at 41°F is beneficial.
Helleborus Brandywine Series (North Creek Nurseries)
North Creek Nurseries has introduced this new series from hellebore breeder David Culp. His 15 years of breeding using rare species and prized selections from collectors and specialty nurseries has produced a premium strain with clear colors and distinctive forms. This group promises plenty of doubles and anemones, as well as dark reds, spotted pinks, picotees, and apricots.
Helleborus × ericsmithii ‘Winter Magic Candy Love’ (North Creek Nurseries)
The big, outfacing blooms of Candy Love in soft pastel shades are held well above the foliage and develop a greenish tinge as they mature. Leathery, evergreen foliage displays a hint of silver. Candy Love is perfect for dry shade and won’t be bothered by deer. It blooms late winter through spring. ‘Winter Candy Love’ comes from the breeding efforts of Belgian hellebore expert, Thierry van Paemel, and is introduced by Plants Nouveau.
Helleborus × nigercors ‘Winter Magic Snow Love’ (North Creek Nurseries)
Creamy white to yellow flowers fade to a celadon green as they mature over the silvery evergreen foliage of Snow Love, which blooms late winter through spring. It is perfect for dry shade and won’t be bothered by deer. ‘Winter Magic Snow Love’ is a Plants Nouveau introduction that comes from the breeding efforts of Belgian hellebore expert.
Hydrangea ‘Everlasting Bride’ (Plants Nouveau)
The blooms of ‘Everlasting Bride’ will remind you of lace and pearls. This hydrangea works well for a summer wedding or Christmas decorating with its pure-white flowers with hard blooms and strong stems to hold up its stiff blooms. As the flowers mature, they turn to mint green, adding yet another nuance to this new selection. ‘Everlasting Bride’ is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Hydrangea ‘Everlasting Green Cloud’ (Plants Nouveau)
Green Cloud lives up to its name by opening with celery-green flowers, accented with white-eye zones, that turn ablaze with red and green tones as they mature. Strong stems, hard flowers, and classic, antique colors are all signature attributes of the Everlasting Series. Plant Green Cloud in a special container to show off its amazing green flowers, or mix it with reds and whites for a stunning combination. ‘Everlasting Green Cloud’ is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Hydrangea ‘Tilt-A-Swirl’ (Plants Nouveau)
The hot-pink, lacy flowers of ‘Tilt-A-Swirl’ open with green tips. But don’t let the beauty of these flowers fool you — they’re as durable as plastic and will last for months in a container. As the flowers mature, they turn a deeper green with fiery-red edges. ‘Tilt-A-Swirl’ is the perfect holiday color combo that requires little pinching to make the perfect pot-full-of-blooms. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Streptocarpus Fleischle Hybrids (Cultivaris)
This excellent collection of grower-friendly streptocarpus offer the consumer an easy-to-grow flowering houseplant that grows and blooms under low-light conditions. The collection is selected for longest flowering, ease of shipping, strong postharvest quality, and intense, saturated flower colors.