Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, what pops into your mind? For a lot of people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to hang out with friends and knock back some beers. Since its inception centuries ago, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a day to celebrate luck. However, that’s not what the holiday is about. So before getting into some great plant ideas for St. Patrick’s Day, let’s go over a bit of history first.

History of St. Patrick’s Day
Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

As the name might suggest, St. Patrick’s Day is rooted in Christianity. Celebrated on March 17, the holiday commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland while also celebrating the heritage and culture of Ireland. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was being celebrated as early as the 9th and 10th centuries, but it didn’t officially become a public holiday in Ireland until 1903. The celebration reached America in the 1840s as more Irish people immigrated to the U.S. to escape the potato famine. Since then, Americans have embraced the holiday, although it has become less about the saint and more about celebrating Irish traditions, culture, and history.

Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the use of the color green. While many think the green is a reference to Ireland’s rolling hills, it actually stems from the shamrock. According to legend, St. Patrick used three-leaf clovers to illustrate Christianity’s Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Initially, people wore shamrocks on their clothes which evolved to wearing green.

While St. Patrick’s Day might last one day, you can keep the spirit alive by decorating your house with traditionally Irish plants or your garden with lovely native Irish plants. Even if your home doesn’t have the same blend of moderate sunlight, rain, and rich soil that makes plants thrive in Ireland, most of the varieties listed below are hardy enough to grow wherever you plant them.

Shamrock or Clover
Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

This should go without saying, but shamrocks are a must for St. Patrick’s Day. Not only is it the official plant of the holiday, it’s also closely associated with Ireland in general. If you’ve seen a shamrock, you might think that they are the same as clovers. While technically true, shamrocks are a more specific type of clover. Clovers refer to around 300 species of the Trifolium family of which shamrocks fall into. What is traditionally known as a shamrock is most likely either the white clover or suckling clover.

Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

The most important aspect of the shamrock is that it must have three leaves. Anything more or less is not considered a shamrock. Of course, if you’re growing clovers, you might not be able to control exactly how many leaflets a plant has. Some mutations might lead to two leaves while others lead to four or more! (Speaking of four leaves, the original use of a four-leafed clover was as a good luck charm against evil spirits.)

Shamrocks are easy to grow and maintain, making them a perfect addition to your garden. If you don’t have a garden, you can always create paper shamrocks with some green construction paper. There are multiple tutorials online ranging from simple to more complex.

Green Carnation

Until the 1900s, green carnations were a popular choice for St. Patrick’s Day so why not bring the tradition back? Carnations have been cultivated for over 2,000 years because of their spicy fragrance and showy petals. While carnations traditionally symbolize love, there are many variations, depending on color. Green carnations during St. Patrick’s Day not only represent the shamrock, but also health, resilience, and good fortune.

Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

While it might be hard to find a shamrock bouquet, you can easily make a lovely arrangement of green carnations for your home. There are natural green carnations, but you can also make your own green flowers by dyeing them. Pour some water in a vase and add a couple drops of green food coloring. Then take a white carnation, cut the bottom of the stem at an angle, and place it in the vase. It might take a few hours, but eventually the flower will absorb the water and dye the petals a light green.

Decorate your house with lovely green carnations during the holiday and send some vases or baskets to friends and family. It’s an elegant and subtle way to celebrate the holiday. Plus, the cut flowers will also brighten up the house for at least a week.

Bells of Ireland
Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

Commonly known as “shell flowers,” these are popular in bridal arrangements and St. Patrick’s day bouquets. These annual flowering plants have been in cultivation since the 1500s. The flowers are a symbol of good luck. Despite the name, these are native to western Asia, but their stunning green color, availability, and longevity have made them a favorite among florists worldwide.

While you can include these gorgeous flowers in your floral arrangement, they are also great to add to your garden. With that said, you won’t be seeing these flowers in bloom during St. Patrick’s Day. It takes around a month for the seeds to germinate and another two months for them to bloom. Still, Bells of Ireland are an excellent addition to your spring garden as they’re easy to grow, do well in containers, and can be used in the border or cutting bed. Maintenance requirements are low, and they are generally trouble-free plants as attacks by pests and disease are rare. While you might not need to prune the flowers, if you live in a particularly windy area, you might need to stake them.

Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

Bells of Ireland work great for either fresh or dry flower arrangements. If you do dry them, be forewarned that they will take on a pale beige hue. To dry, pick the stems when the flowers are fully open, then hang them upside-down in small bunches in a dry, airy place. It should take a few weeks to fully dry.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Planting!
Green Ideas for Gardening on St. Patrick’s Day

Adding green to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration is more than just wearing green clothes. You can also include actual greenery to your garden and home! Of course, you don’t have to stick with the plants listed above. Any greenery is a great option, especially inside the house as the plants can help relieve stress and improve air quality. So whether you’re going for cut flowers in your house, potted plants inside and out, or an extra bit of green in your garden, you can make your place feel more festive this St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.