This post is part of a 12-month series exploring birth flowers. Start here for an introduction and for a full list of all months.
We finally made it to the last month of the year! The nights continue to get longer, the weather colder. The holiday season is in full swing and it’s a festive, joyful time of the year to celebrate a birthday.
If you were lucky enough to be born in December, your star sign is either Capricorn or Aquarius, and you have not one, but four gemstones to choose from. All are gorgeous shades of blue – blue topaz, blue zircon, tanzanite and turquoise.
As for birth flowers, you won’t find any more iconic to represent the month and the season. They’re the Narcissus and Holly, and both will brighten up your winter garden as well as your holiday décor.
December Birth Month Flower: Narcissus
The narcissus, also called Paperwhite for its silken white petals, comes from the same family as the daffodil and jonquil.
Known for its trumpet-like center, the narcissus gets a bad rap for its association with the Greek myth about a vain man so in love with himself that he couldn’t stop staring at his own reflection in the water and eventually drowned. From that scene bloomed the flower, rooted to the spot he could not leave.
But that does no justice to the delicate paper-thin petals that are as representative of winter beauty as they are signs of spring. And fortunately, they have better connotations when it comes to their symbolism as a birthday flower!
If you claim this flower as your own, you are said to be selfless, pure of heart, and to love unconditionally. You admire people for who they are, and once you find “the one”, that’s the only one for you. Your faithfulness, commitment, and devoted heart mean a future of happiness with the one you love – and a lifetime of joy with the family you grow.
The narcissus symbolizes hope, a message that you bring to all who you reach. It also reflects your joyful spirit, inspirational presence, and forgiving soul. Anyone lucky enough to call you a friend is sure to appreciate your charming personality and charismatic nature.
Narcissus Through History
The narcissus is one of the oldest and most popular blooming bulbs in the entire world. They originated in Portugal and Greece, but made their way to China where they became a common object of trade. It might not surprise you to learn that they eventually became a favorite of the Dutch – also renowned for their penchant for another popular bulb, the tulip.
Since they bloom naturally during early spring, they are most often associated with celebrations such as Chinese New Year and Lent.
Many cultures associate the narcissus with wealth and great happiness. They are often given as gifts to new mothers to welcome their babies, and its sister flower the daffodil is the official flower for a 10th wedding anniversary.
Paperwhites have a sweet, peppery scent that makes them prized in making perfumes. And given their popularity, they make myriad appearances in bouquets, wreaths and gardens everywhere – but be warned, giving a single narcissus as a gift is said to be a harbinger of misfortune. All the more reason to enjoy them in bunches!
Want To Plant Them?
Even though the narcissus is a bulb that blooms most often in later winter and early spring, you can actually force them to grow indoors during December and throughout winter.
Unlike other bulbs, they don’t need a period of cold before blooming. You can simply place them in a bowl or jar in a sunny location and they will bloom for up to two weeks.
They are one of the easiest bulbs to grow indoors and do as well in a shallow bowl of potting mix as they do in gravel or stone. Place the bulbs on top of the soil or stones, keep them moist – not soggy – and watch them unfurl. Plant them in intervals to keep a constant stream of blooms on your windowsill, at your table, or wherever you want to enjoy them.
In more temperate climates they can be planted outdoors during fall like other bulbs, but in New Jersey they are best planted after the chance of freezing temperatures has passed in spring.
They are as easy to care for in your garden as in a pot – keep them moist and well-lit and they will continue to reward you with their lovely white blooms.
Bonus Flower: Holly
If you prefer a flower that is even more inherently representative of the season, you’re in luck. Holly is December’s second birth flower, and although it is technically not a flower, it does birth tiny white ones during spring. You may never notice them, but they’re there, and they give way to the bright red, cheerful berries we most associate with this plant.
Holly is a symbol of domestic happiness, so if you choose this as your birth flower you can expect to enjoy a long life of contentment with those you love. The prickly leaves of holly are associated with defense, and they reflect your fiercely protective nature toward your family.
You are courageous, bold, and strong-willed – determined to take care of those you love and make a positive difference in the world.
December is a great month to enjoy a birthday, whichever flower you choose. Does one of these resonate with you? If you think you’d enjoy them in your garden, or if there is another bloom that speaks to your personality, contact us for a consultation. We’d love to work with you to design and build the perfect outdoor space just for you.