Plants make great gifts because they last all year round. You don’t need to wrap them in anything fancy, other than maybe a bow. And depending on the plant you give, it will flower every year around December, reminding the person who receives it of you and your love or friendship.
Here are 9 house plants that make great gifts because they’re inexpensive, hardy, easy to care for, and either flower or smell great. Note: Poinsettias are not on this list, mostly because they don’t last very long and they really are mostly a Christmas plant.
1) Amaryllis Bulbs – These giant bulbs grow into magnificent flowers (pictured above) on stalks that may be over 2 feet tall. You can usually find them in grocery or hardware stores, in a box that comes with a pot as well as a “soil” disc. Put the disc in the bottom of the pot and add a couple of cups of warm water. The disc will absorb the water and expand to fill the pot. Bury the bulb so about a third peeks out at the top, water, and set in bright but not direct sunlight. Then watch the magic happen. Tall stalks will form first, followed by beautiful blooms. When the plant is finished blooming, you can cut off the stalk and store the bulb for next year.
2) Christmas/Thanksgiving Cactus – This plant will develop many flower buds and keep getting larger the older it gets. The flowers come in a variety of colors, from white to deep pink to flaming red and gorgeous coral. You’ll have to put it away in a darkish spot after it flowers, but then bring it back out in the fall next year and watch the flowers bloom again.
3) Rosemary Mini Bush – This is one of my favorite gifts, to either give or receive. You can get rosemary in a small bush, maybe 18 inches tall and 12 inches around. Pick from it all winter long whenever you need some rosemary to cook from. Dry it and put it into small jars you can take as a hostess gift when you go somewhere for dinner. Plant it in your own yard in the spring. It’s got many uses, all of them good!
4) Spider Plant – This plant is one that NASA determined was particularly effective in helping to purify the air. Plus, it’s just cool to watch it send out shoots that turn into mini plants. You can also cut off those shoots, pot them, and give them to someone else as a gift. Available in a variegated or striped life, or solid green.
5) Peace Lily – This plant, also known by its Latin name Spathiphyllum, is perfect for homes that don’t get a lot of direct sunlight, but still want to add some greenery to a living space. It’s also another plant NASA suggests is good for air purification. A couple of times a year, it will send up a shoot that turns into a beautiful white or pink blossom.
6) Indoor Windowbox Mini Herb Garden – This is a great gift for someone who enjoys cooking with fresh herbs. You can either buy an herb gift set, which comes with seeds, soil and little pots; or, you can make up a gift set yourself. One option is to box up three packs of different seeds; a small bag of soil; and three small pots that you can put on a tray or on a small saucer so they won’t leak when watered. Another option is to go ahead and plant the guide seeds in the pots so whoever gets them just has to put them in a sunny window.
7) African Violets – These beauties prefer indirect light, so they’re perfect for many households that don’t have a sunny window. Give one in a beautiful pot; or give three that have different kinds of leaves and varying flower colors. You may need to get some special fertilizer for this plant, and you need to water it so the leaves don’t get wet. You’ll find other growing instructions here.
8) Cyclamen – This plant is another fall and winter bloomer. It’s deep pink flowers make a gorgeous statement against the mottled green leaves. It will go dormant in the summer, but as long as you don’t overwater it, and you repot it in the spring, you should have a lovely plant for many years.
9) Ferns – Ferns have a way of filling up drab corners and bringing them to life. If you’ve thought ahead, you could have potted some ferns from your own garden to give as gifts. Otherwise, garden centers and even some big box stores will have a variety of ferns on hand that you can give as gifts. Caution: Before taking them out in the cold, even if you’re going from the store to your car, cover them lightly or put them in a bag so they won’t suffer shock from the elements. Here’s a good list of the 9 top ferns to grow as houseplants.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
9 House Plants That Make Great Gifts