It's the middle of December again and grocery stores and gift shops are overflowing with those ubiquitous and cheery red poinsettias. As far as plants go, they make for festive holiday gifts but why not give a plant that someone will want to keep around for more than one or two months?
The following is a list of eight plants which are not complicated to take care of and have other outstanding qualities which make them great to give as gifts during the holiday season.
Amaryllis produces colorful flowers as an indoor plant throughout the winter months. It is often sold as a bulb with a decorative container and requires a bit of watering to coax out a rich floral display. They make for an excellent plant gift and a very easy way to bring the cheeriness of spring flowers into the winter months.
So named because they bloom at this time of year, the Christmas cactus is a great gift for the succulent lover in your life. Their blooms are red and they prefer a cool, sunny location.
Many ferns are used as natural indoor air filters. The Christmas fern is native to North America and stays green all year round. It makes an attractive house plant and can easily be planted outdoors. Its defining feature is of course its verdant leaves, since ferns don't flower.
Cyclamen thrive and bloom in cool weather. I see them more and more often here in Southern California as a winter flower. They also make good house plants. They are comparatively short plants and their flowers are quite unique.
Orchids are becoming one of the most popular indoor plants because of their graceful appearance and minimal maintenance requirements (that is a subjective statement, I know). They are increasingly available in different sizes and colors and make an elegant plant gift.
Another carefree flowering bulb, paperwhites can grow in different mediums like soil or pebbles which can provide very different visual effects. The flowers are very fragrant, and the bulbs can be replanted in a garden after the holidays.
The poinsettia became associated with Christmas through the clever marketing of the Ecke family over the latter part of the 20th century, according to a 2008 article in the L.A. Times. Today, they are strongly associated with the Christmas season and are the easiest gift flower to find, although they are also considered a “throw away,” in that people generally throw the plants away, like Christmas trees, after around January first. The can be found today in many different colors.
Why not give herbs as a gift? Mint, thyme, and oregano are examples of hardy and attractive pot herbs which can serve a dual purpose. Plus, they can either be maintained for years in their pots or transferred to the garden. Some of the most robust herbs in my garden are those I received in the wintertime as potted herbs.