How to Make the Perfect Holiday Flower Arrangement Without Poinsettias

Rick Phillips doesn’t want to hate a plant. Greenhouse designer Cebolla Fine Flowers likes all greenery, but he says he’s on the fence about poinsettias.

“It’s not one of my favorites, let’s just say that,” he said shyly.

The traditional Christmas plant, native to Mexico, is toxic to pets. Plus, it doesn’t do too well in the cooler Dallas weather (leaves are prone to curling), Phillips says.

“They are capricious. But, he admits, they are magnificent. I’ve seen pictures of it 20 feet across in a huge bush. But that’s in the natural habitat, of course.

Phillips says he prefers funkier, more unique flowers to adorn Christmas rooms, like succulents or orchids, and mix in pine cones, Christmas greens and other ornaments to add a bit of flair.

“That way you have something for your home that’s ‘holiday’, but it’s not screaming red poinsettias or glitzy bows or anything like that,” he says. “It’s much more natural. It has a lot more impact. »

We chatted with the 35-year-old flower shop veteran about her favorite winter plants, easy ways to dress up a garden, and how to make the perfect arrangement with flowers from the grocery store.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Are poinsettias as poisonous as they say?

They are poisonous. It’s a fact. And there are plenty of plants that will bother cats and dogs.

Are there any other poisonous flowers common at this time of year?

What I do, if there’s a question, I always google it and research it.

When creating your own flower arrangement, Phillips suggests using flowers that take up a lot of space.

What are some cool winter flowers other than poinsettias?

There are all kinds of bulb flowers. Amaryllis is a huge bulb, and it will end up in three stocks, and those will have three to four big, huge flowers that will open, and we will only have them at this time of year.

Also, when it comes to plants, there’s a Christmas cactus that’s really, really pretty one. And I know it’s a bit old school, but they’re kinda fun. Their colors are hot pink and white and a dusty pink color which is really pretty. We don’t use them all the time either.

What’s an easy way to dress up my flower vase?

You can add all kinds of sparkly sticks and make it really, really punchy. And I have a nice ribbon that I can add. You know, that’s what we do this time of year.

How can I make my current garden more festive?

I do a lot of gardens for people. So if they want to do some decorations for the holidays, it’s very simple: just stick on a few ornaments. Like I wanted to make little frosty white balls mixed in with succulents to give it that feel. Then when the holidays are over, you can take them out.

What advice do you have for someone making a last minute arrangement with grocery store flowers?

I think the easiest thing to do is to start small, rather than trying to make big, big, huge arrangements with no experience. Because I think people sometimes have this vision in their head, and then when they get the elements, go home and start doing it, it doesn’t work.

Cebolla Fine Flowers Holiday Orchid Floral Arrangement
Phillips says his orchids are more popular than his succulents.

OK, I’m going small. How should I build my arrangement?

Get Christmas greens, cedar or pine and start with a base. And just kind of building on that. You kind of want flowers that are going to take up real estate. You know what I mean? You want some that take up space in your vase. Unlike a small rose, amaryllis are quite large and beautiful. Hydrangeas are always really, really good. Tulips, even – just a mass of white tulips mixed in with Christmas sticks, silver or green, a bit metallic, look really, really chic. …

I like to group things. I like to use them in groups. You have them in your hand, you have them in a pile, and you cut them like that, you can build on that. You have them in a group. This is another good way to settle.

Terisa K. Carn