When a special occasion rolls around—be it a birthday, Valentine’s Day or a housewarming—it can be hard to show a loved one you care without perpetuating the accumulation of “stuff.” Fortunately for us in the hobby-farming world, there’s an easy solution to this dilemma: gifted plants. While hand-tied bouquets can be an enjoyable treat (especially if the flowers come from your cutting garden), a plant that can be repotted as a houseplant or transplanted into the garden is a gift that keeps giving year after year.
If a trip to the nursery still leaves you wondering what plant to give that special gardener in your life, here are some tips to help you make the perfect purchase.
1. Gift a plant that’s easy to grow.
If you’re gifting a plant, especially to a rookie gardener, give her an extra boost of confidence by selecting a plant that won’t let her down. Drought-tolerant aloe and other succulents tend to be easier to grow for gardeners lacking a green thumb, as they can withstand reasonable amounts of neglect, while crops, such as cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, are good for beginners who want to grow edibles.
Also keep in mind the climate where the gardener lives, as well as her growing means. While basil and other herbs are easy to grow in pots both indoors and out, larger plants, such as squash, are better suited for those with a garden plot. Always read tags at the nursery before purchasing to find out if the plant is suitable for the gardener’s USDA hardiness zone.
2. Choose a plant that suits.
Identify the reason why the gift recipient likes to garden, and find a plant he will find fulfilling to grow. For example, if your gardener is an avid grower of heirloom beans, search for a hard-to-find variety he hasn’t grown yet. If he’s an experimental cook that likes testing new recipes, find a unique herb that suits his culinary style—Thai basil to add to stir-fries, a curry plant for someone whose cuisine has Indian flair, or cilantro for your friend who makes a mean tostada.
3. Buy something special.
If the gardener you’re buying for is the utilitarian type—growing only plants that give the most bang for the buck—pick out something she wouldn’t typically choose for herself. Maybe she loves the taste of blueberries but has yet to give them a try, or perhaps she loves the smell of lavender but overlooks its potential as a windowsill plant. Find a plant that will put a smile on her face and bring excitement back to gardening.
4. Make it pretty.
Potted flowers, like amaryllis and Easter lilies, are popular plant gifts for holidays because of their beautiful, fragrant blooms, but you don’t have to limit yourself to flowers when it comes to selecting something with room appeal. Dwarf citrus trees can be grown in pots year-round, and not only are their flowers sweet-smelling, their fruit adds a bright burst of color. Peppers also come in a variety of colors, from yellow to red to purple, so try gifting a chili or Christmas-pepper plant.
5. Provide growing instructions.
Don’t forget to include recommendations for water, sunlight and other care with the plant that you gift—you might even decide to incorporate it into the overall package. You can do just that using the gift-plant tags below.
Print and choose from one of the pre-made tags and care cards, or fill in your own tag for a plant not on the list. Blank cards in each design can be obtained by clicking on the design of choice. (Note: Care of plants listed on the cards might differ among varieties and climate conditions. Contact your local growing center or cooperative extension for more region-specific information.)
Printable Gift Tags