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TAFE NSW floristry expert shares festive floral tips to get more bang for your buck

TAFE NSW floristry expert shares festive floral tips to get more bang for your buck

As more than half of Australians plan to spend Christmas Day enjoying a meal at home with family in the middle of a cost of living crisis, native flowers and plants can be a beautiful and sustainable option to add a little something special to your Christmas celebration on a budget.

TAFE NSW Floristry Teacher David Berger shares his top tips to wow guests this festive season while saving costs with these high-impact plants and florals to perfect your family’s Christmas celebration.

David is highly regarded in the floristry industry as an expert trainer and the judge of multiple national floristry competitions and has more than 25 years’ industry experience.

Celebrate an Aussie Christmas with long-lasting natives

Christmas Bush is associated across the country with the festive season. While the plants’ small white flowers bloom in late spring, its colourful red sepals – the outside of the petals that protect the bud – make Christmas Bush a great longstanding addition to your home throughout the season.

To ensure longevity of your Christmas Bush, David suggests keeping the flowers and sepals sprayed with water as these plants drink through the faces of the flowers and sepals as well as the stem. Misting the plant with fresh water every morning will retain its striking red colour throughout the season.

Christmas Bells are another much-loved native that reach their peak flowering season over Christmastime and have a long vase life. These sweet orange and yellow bonnet-like flowers hang upside down and could be a beautiful nod to the Australian bush at your Christmas table.

Get the most out of your Poinsettia

The iconic Poinsettia can be an incredibly cost-effective and bright way to dress your Christmas table. Dress up the pot by wrapping it in a natural hessian or colourful felt and pop on a decorative Christmas ribbon or bauble to make a festive centrepiece. For a modern take on the classic festive plant, try pairing a white Poinsettia with a white and gold table setting.

To care for your Poinsettia, David suggests taking it outside occasionally for some filtered sunlight and air, and water it about once a week.

While the Poinsettia will last at least 4-6 weeks as a flowering plant in a pot, you can extend your plant’s life beyond Christmastime by planting it in a sunny or lightly shaded spot in your backyard in January.

Make your own Christmas wreath

If you’re feeling crafty, David suggests making a Christmas wreath by visiting your local florist for a pine base and flowers to bind onto it. To keep the wreath smelling fragrant and Christmassy throughout the season, spray a little essential oil over the wreath, such as clove.

For a fun festive activity, join David and his team for a wreath making workshop on Thursday 7 December at TAFE NSW’s Western Sydney campuses. You’ll receive expert guidance while creating a beautiful wreath based on a natural vine which will have fresh materials and Christmas ornaments to last through the whole festive season. Register on the TAFE NSW website.

David’s top tips for caring for your flowers

  • Trim all your flowers on a 45 degree angle to prevent the stem from resting on the bottom of the vase and to encourage the water to reach the flower heads.
  • Water should be kept clean and clear, and changed every 3 days.
  • To stop bacteria from growing in the water, add the preservative your florist gives you or make your own mixture by diluting 1 tbsp of bleach in 1L of water.
  • For almost all flowers and plants, avoid putting them in direct sunlight or a direct draught. Keep them in filtered light on the table or near the window.

Visit your local florist for all these Christmas staples and tailored advice and care tips.

To hear more tips from David and his team and to see what students are up to, follow TAFE NSW - Floristry on Facebook. To enrol or enquire about TAFE NSW Floristry courses, visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: TAFE NSW Media Centre,, 02 7920 5000​​​​.