Picking Gift Plants
Today has been a real reminder that spring is on its way! So are the flowers and wedding season and many lovely things which brings us to something I've been meaning mention here for a while. The curious world of gift plants.
Previously there have been posts here on giving plants as hostess gifts and making a mini Wardian case for Mothers day... a plant terrarium too but its been the one on keeping a gifted orchid alive which has been the most popular. Orchids are indeed a traditional gift plant and there are a number of others as well (for the list keep reading below).
When people tell me they have a brown thumb, 95% of the time they also have said the plant they killed was an African violet, orchid, or one of the other traditional gift plants someone gave them. As it turns out, these are plants that were specifically cultivated as something showy yet temporary. Something that lasts a few weeks longer than a cut floral bouquet, yet suffers the same fate, by being meant to be thrown away. Really, it's not you... it's them! (at least that's what I told myself a Christmas ago after killing the Poinsettia yet again )
Over the years it seems as if many gift plants have tried to merge with house plants and while there is some overlapping, as mentioned above, gift plants can vex because their nature is to die after blooming or require such demanding, exotic growing conditions that most homes are not equip to handle. Even the trip from the florist can send them into a slow decline they never recover from. Seen in their true light, those who already enjoy fresh cut bouquets or even a single bud would probably welcome a longer lasting gift plant.
Here's a traditional list of gift plants gleaned from a few vintage books:
- Norfolk Island Pine
- Orange Tree
- Dwarf Banana Tree
- African Violets
- Christmas Cactus
- Easter Lily
- Ornamental pepper
- Miniature roses
Coaxing gift plants to stick around longer can be done with many of the same tricks in my previous post on the wedding orchids (see here). Another favorite way is to replant them outside in the garden. This has worked with the miniature roses, chrysanthemums, hydrangea and Easter lilies despite the bitter cold here and will work with many of the other plants above for those living in the tropics.
Looking for something a little longer lasting? While a lot less colorful there are so many pretty house plants that also make lovely gifts. Some favorites include the almost indestructible Lucky Bamboo which really isn't bamboo at all but gives off the look of it without the need for dirt or much light. I love them! Spider plants, hoya's, air plants, Cacti, my Grandmum's personal favorite Aloe vera plants are very hearty too. The main thing is to make sure the plants are not potentially toxic to pets or little ones (see a list here).
Handmade cedarwood bench (for deep watering plants in the bath tub): see here
Silver plant mister - vintage: see similar here
Image: mam for Gave That