Do you know where the tradition of red-and-green holiday décor comes from? The color green has been used to decorate the holiday season for centuries and probably began when early Celtic people would celebrate the winter solstice with boughs of green holly festooned with red berries.
The color red was also always popular, but it really took off in the early 1900s when a man named Haddon Sundblom was hired by the Coca Cola company to draw a Santa Claus for their holiday advertising campaign. He took the liberty of drawing Santa as a rotund, jolly, bearded man wearing a bright red suit (before this, Santa was often depicted as a skinny man in a blue, green, red clothes). This new version of Santa became so wildly popular that red garments, gifts, and decorations became synonymous with the Christmas season.
At our house, we’ve chosen to keep the tradition of decorating with red and green alive with living plants. Here are four of our favorites:
Rex Begonia (above)
A living kaleidoscope is the only real way to describe Rex begonias. These beauties sport wildly variegated leaves in an eye-popping blend of red, green, pink, maroon, and silver. Every leaf is slightly different than the next. Rex begonias love medium light and a quick drink whenever their soil begins to dry out. Get more details here.
Red Prayer Plant (left)
One of our favorites no matter what the season, Red Prayer Plant offers showy bright green leaves boldly decorated with red veins and purplish blotches. It makes a wonderful houseplant (or gift for the gardeners on your Christmas list) that can be easily grown in low or medium light. Plus, as a bonus, the leaves fold up at night. Read more about them here.
Bromeliad (above, in header)
Wish you could spend Christmas on a tropical island? No need to fight the crowds, just fill your home with the bold red tropical flowers of bromeliads. Bromeliads are super easy to grow and their gorgeous blooms will stay in top form for weeks. Check out these ideas for decorating with bromeliads.
Red Aglaonema (left)
If you haven’t grown a red aglaonema yet, you’re really missing out. Relatively new to the houseplant market, red aglaonema is prized for its dark green, lance-shaped leaves that are generously marked with bright red or pink. What’s more, this living gem is a snap to grow in almost kind of light condition. Learn more about these amazing plants.
Header photo credit: Jonatan Lewczuk at unsplash.
Written by Doug Jimerson