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All through the house, plants join holiday festivities.

DRESSING HOUSE plants festively--with ribbons, cones, or dried flowers and leaves--is an inexpensive way to bring cheer and color indoors for the holidays. If you already grow healthy house plants like ferns, Ficus benjamina, ivy topiaries, palms, and schefflera, you have year-round greenery just waiting to sparkle with some seasonal decorations.

Gather berries, cones, dried flowers, small fruits such as kumquats, and colorful leaves like nandina from the garden or a florist. Large bows made with French (wire-reinforced) ribbon add color; this ribbon is sold in craft supply stores for $2 to $3 a yard.

Lightweight decorations are best for hanging since they won't break or bend the plants' stems and leaves. Heavier ornaments like big pine cones, lady apples, and dried pomegranates can rest on the soil at the base of the plant, space permitting.

You can also anchor stems of dried flowers in the soil; the flowers can fan out and mingle with the green foliage, as in the upper photo. Stems of berry clusters pressed into the soil at the container's edge will hold the berries in place, yet allow them to cascade like those pictured.

To attach decorations to plants and their containers, use very fine wire or wire ornament holders, ribbon, or clear plastic tape (avoid sticking any tape directly to the plant).

Some plants, such as maidenhair fern, have fragile stems that won't hold ornaments well; set them in baskets, and then decorate the baskets. Slip stems of flowers or leaves into spaces in the basket's sides, then secure them as necessary with wire or tape.

To keep plants healthy, decorate them shortly before a holiday party or other special occasion, and remove the ornaments soon after.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Ocone, Lynn
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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