Grow Your Own Holiday Decor – The Top 10 Plants in Michigan

Ever wonder how some people are able to make such interesting decor with stuff that they, “just threw together”? Or are you one of those people who love to just throw things together? Well we’ve come up with a list of plants that you can grow at your house that will make creating unique and interesting Holiday Decor easier and more interesting.

When looking through all the options it came down to what plants are most useful and which plants are most practical. Every plant on our list can be easily grown and maintained within your landscape while providing something of interest during the Holidays.

No. 10 Sweetgum (Liquidambar Styraciflua)

Sweetgum is a large shade tree that is best known for its unique starry leaves and brilliant fall color.  It comes in a number of varieties but you have to be careful when selecting one. Some do not produce the most important part for Holiday Decorations. The fruit of sweetgum trees is what you want to use. Sweetgum FruitThey are small ball-shaped fruit with interesting little edges that stick out in a point all the way around. These fruit can be used to accent a wreath, garland, or they can be glued together to create pyramids or as a part of a centerpiece. They can be used much like a pine cone can but they are more interesting.

No. 9 Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)

Hemlock are another North American native that can be very useful for Holiday Decorations. You can hang lights on them outside or use small cut branches to add some green to your decorations. The smallish needles hold good green color and contrast with other evergreens. The only drawback is that Hemlock branches will tend to shed needles after pruning so keeping them moist at the stem may help minimize this. The small pine cones of a Hemlock can be a very unique touch, especially for smaller decorations.

Candian Hemlock Tsuga Canadensis


No. 8 Fir Trees

Fir trees, such as the Silberlocke Korean Fir (Abies Koreana ‘Silberlocke’) below, can provide a great evergreen branch cutting for use in numerous decorations. The soft, thicker, round needles make an interesting foliage contrast. Many firs exhibit interesting coloring characteristics. Korean firs, for example, have silver under their needles that can be displayed easily by flipping a branch over. They have an added bonus of being a pine cone producing plant.SIlberlocke Fir Tree Abies koreana 'Silberlocke'

No. 7 English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

A well-known evergreen vine, English Ivy is a great plant to have around the house during the Holiday season. There are numerous variations to choose from, each with a unique color and pattern leaf. They have a broad leaf unlike many of  the pine species and can be used to create or accent almost any decoration you can think of.English Ivy, Holiday Decor

No. 6 Juniper Varieties (Juniperus)

Junipers are often overlooked in the landscape and in decorations. They have a great fragrance and come in a good variety of shapes, size, and colors.  Blue needle variations and some of the golden varieties can add a special touch to wreaths and centerpieces. Pieces can be broken off to add to home-made potpourri.Blue Pacific Juniper, Holiday Decor

Gold Coast Juniper, Holiday Decor

No. 5 Hydrangea (Hydrangea Arborescens)

There are a few varieties of this particular family of hydrangeas that work exceptionally well for both the landscape and decorations. The classic Annabelle Hydrangea is well-known for its white flowers that persist throughout the year, its shade tolerance, and for the blooms that turn a golden tan color in the fall and stand for much, if not all, of the winter. The two lesser know varieties that are even better plants are the Incrediball and Invincibell Spirit Hydrangeas. Incrediball looks much like an Annabelle with two main differences. First it has huge flowers, up to 12″ across! Second, despite these huge flowers, it is better at staying upright and not flopping over like an Annabelle will sometimes do. Invincibelle is like the Annabelle except it has pink flowers. It is a wonderful addition from the Proven Winners nurseries. Additionally, $1.00 for each Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea sold is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation! For more information, go here.The blooms from all three will dry on their own and remain standing in the winter. They can be cut and used in floral arrangements and other decorations. Try spray painting them with a metallic paint for long-lasting beauty. Sprinkle on some colored glitter while they are still wet for added effective.

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea, Holiday Decor

Incrediball Hydrangea, Annabelle Hydrangea, Holiday Decor

No. 4 Winter Red Holly (Ilex Verticillata)

Winter Red Holly is a deciduous holly shrub that is a great accent or border plant. It does well in moist conditions. Although it does drop its leaves, the Winter Red is appropriately named due to the persistence of numerous clusters of red berries that hold on for much of the winter. The berries start out hard and slow ripen in the cold winter months. The branches can be cut and brought indoors lasting for as long as a few months. The beautiful red berries provide a stark contrast to the relatively colorless surroundings outside and they are great alone or when added to a Christmas tree, wreaths, garland, or a centerpiece.

Winter Red Holly, Holiday Decor

No. 3 Cedar and Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis)

Arborvitae and Cedar varieties are very similar plants with very similar pruposes in holiday decorations and landscape uses. Arborvitae, in particular, has become the main plant used for screening and evergreen backdrops. The are versatile and come in many different forms, from shrubs to medium trees. Different shades of green, gold, and even pink hues can be found. Standard arborvitae trees provide soft needles that can be made into garland or wreaths. The sweet-smelling pine fragrance is one of the best smells of the holidays. Crush some needles into a potpourri mix with Juniper, cinnamon, and orange for a crisp, vibrant fragrance.

No. 2 Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine is the state tree here in Michigan and offers a lot of value as a landscape plant. There are shrub forms, weeping trees, and the classic tree form. The soft needles of the White Pine can be used in almost any decoration and are very easy to handle. White pine needles have a pleasant fragrance and can be used as a softer fragrance in potpourri. Small branch cuttings can be used for garland, wreaths, centerpieces, and more. White pines can be used as a Christmas tree in the yard or in the home, although the branches don’t support a lot of weight. White pine trees grow quite large and one tree is enough to provide years of decorating material, which is part of the reason it comes it at number two on our list.Eastern White Pine, Holiday Decor

No. 1 Classic Evergreen Holly (Ilex x.)

Holly is an American classic and is a sign that the holidays are here. Evergreen Holly has been used for generations to accent decorations. The blue-ish leaves and bright red fruit bring outstanding color to holiday decor. Holly has been used in almost every type of holiday decoration ensemble. As a landscape plant evergreen Holly shrubs offer immense value as a border, screen, hedge, or as stand alone accent pieces. They handle shade well and even handle a good dose of sunshine. They provide year round interest and color. They get the nod as number one because of their classic status as a holiday favorite. Growing a couple of Blue Princess Holly shrubs with a Blue Prince Holly can provide plenty of branches for decorations and give your yard some outstanding winter color.

That concludes our list of the ‘Top 10 Plants’ to grow in Michigan for Holiday Decorations. We hope you enjoyed it. Let us know if you have any questions or comments and be sure to share this with a friend if you found it interesting.


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