Feast your eyes on all the wonderful Christmas plants which are in abundance at New Covent Garden Flower Market this month…from glittery Poinsettias and Soleirolia soleirolii to Christmas cactus and even a faithful friend or two!
There really is something for everyone, whether you're looking for a glitzy, traditional, contemporary or natural look. Here's just a snapshot for you to peruse before you visit…
Think of the festive period and one plant that is sure to spring to mind is the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). At the Market, you can find them in a range of different colours and sizes. For example, mini red poinsettias in gold pots and cream poinsettias in silver…all with a touch of sparkle.
Often these small plants are called 'tots' and they'd be so perfect for your clients to place down the centre of their Christmas table. They'd add a splash of colour, but are small enough to leave lots of room for the turkey/nut roast and trimmings.
At the other end of the spectrum size-wise, over at Quality Plants, they have the tallest and most beautiful poinsettias I've ever seen! They're called specimen sized poinsettias and they source them from an English grower. In order below, they're called two-tone, pink, burgundy, red, polka dot, cream and white.
With regards to advice for your clients on how to get the best from this popular plant, it's advisable to keep them warm and out of draughts, as they really don't like the cold. They also like to be kept in bright light, but not direct sunlight. And the most common cause of problems with poinsettias is over-watering. You need to simply allow the compost to dry out before re-watering.
If you'd like some inspiration of how to arrange poinsettias as plants and cut flowers, you may enjoy reading these posts featuring Rebel Rebel, The Urban Flower Farm and Simon Lycett. By the way, huge congratulations to Simon on recently winning the Flower Market Award for Florist of the Year 2013!
When using poinsettias as a cut flower, once you've cut off the stem from the plant, seal its end. You can do this either by running the stem over a candle flame or by submerging it briefly in boiling water. This stops the milky white sap from seeping out of the stem.
Cyclamens, with their unusual inverted petals and heart-shaped leaves, are in plentiful supply in lots of colours, including pink, red, white and bi-coloured. And you'll find them in a range of sizes too. Small ones generally come in 15 pots in a tray, medium ones (great for window boxes) have 10 pots in a tray and large ones (perfect as household plants) have 6 pots in a tray.
Here's Mark Collier from Collier & Company, who's very fond of this fabulous plant. His business was recently short-listed in the Plantpeople of the Year category in the Flower Market Awards. (He told me that he'll soon be removing his 'Movember moustache'…)
With a slightly different type of petal, which Bob at L Mills calls curly, are these pretty cyclamen below. They're also sometimes referred to as frilly or fringed.
Famous for his appearance in the new Flower Market Calendar is the wonderful Paul at Evergreen Exterior Services. Evergreen too have shelves upon shelves of this festive plant.
A Christmas plant report really wouldn't be complete without including Helleborus niger, commonly called the Christmas rose. And there are also other varieties of hellebore at the Market including 'Pirouette' at Pratley and 'Ice Breaker' at L Mills.
If it's tall ilex (Ilex verticillata) in pots that you're looking for, then visit Pratley where it's towering above the other plants.
At the other extreme, Arnott & Mason have two mini-sized versions…which are very cute!
Several of the traders, have Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) in pink, white and peach, and in different sizes.
The Market is also now 'Christmas Tree Nirvana'…with every size imaginable. For example, Quality Plants, whose trees can be found at prestigious venues throughout London, have Nordman trees from Denmark ranging from 5ft to 20ft tall. And perfect for environmentally-conscious clients are their potted trees, which come in heights from 40cm to 150cm. In the New Year, they can either be planted outside in a garden or left in their pot and kept on a balcony.
Several traders have Picea glauca (shown below) and Pinus pinea.
I also spotted this variety which had a dusting of snow!
Indoor bulbs are such a wonderful way for your clients to add a pop of colour and scent to their homes at this time of year. With hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), you'll find single bulbs in pots to match the colour of their blooms. They generally come in 24 pots on a tray. You'll also see multiple numbers of bulbs in pots, wicker baskets and other decorative containers.
Narcissi-wise, there are lots of different varieties available including Paper White (Narcissus papyraceus), Tête-à-tête, Ice Follies, Yellow Sun, Geranium, Professor Einstein, King Alfred and Sir Winston Churchill. Plus you’ll find amaryllis and crocus bulbs.
Why not replant indoor bulbs in distinctive containers to sell in your shop? Add birch twigs or pussy willow, to not only enhance them and provide decoration, but also to act as support for the flowers when they start to bloom. Alternatively, fill glass vases with layers of different coloured pebbles, pine cones or star anise and top them off with the bulbs and sphagnum moss.
Other Seasonal Plants
If your clients like a touch of bling, how about these sparkly Soleirolia soleirolii at Pratley?
And the Kalanchoe calandiva have been visited by the glitter fairy too!
Gaultheria procumbens, with its red berries, is in plentiful supply…
…as is Solanum pseudocapsicum (Winter cherry).
And green and red skimmia plants are also very popular.
Together with azaleas…
I thought I'd leave you with these little fellas below…aren't they just so adorable? All the way from Denmark, these mossy dogs are available at Quality Plants. And if teddy bears are more your clients' cup of tea, they have them too!
By reading this report and the Christmas Special Report from last month, you’ll see that you’ll find everything you need at New Covent Garden Flower Market to create fabulous Christmas displays, bouquets and designs. I hope the next few weeks go smoothly for you all in the run up to Christmas Day and would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!