There are plenty of gifts for growing for the holidays

Published Nov 26, 2017 at 9:00am

Plants offer a personal touch to gift giving and are a natural alternative for holiday shoppers. You can grow bulbs in attractive containers, then tie a colorful ribbon around the plants and give them away.

Another alternative to make it even easier is to buy a potted plant that is already in bloom. Add an attractive container and you have a gift that can last beyond the holidays and bring good cheer on a gloomy winter day.

Here are some popular plants, most of which can be found in your local florist shop, supermarket, or some retail outlets. Also consider Internet shopping for unique plants, bulbs or pre-potted bulb gardens.

Poinsettias

The classic red poinsettia is a very popular gift plant and is ever present come December. They come in many different shades of red are available, in addition to pink, white, yellow, variegated and bi-colored plants.

Poinsettias are simple to care for. They need a bright window (not in direct sun); water the plants thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch.  

Christmas Cactus

This popular holiday plant starts blooming in late December and often continues until February or March.

These plants are also easy to find and can be found in pink, red, coral and white. These plants like similar conditions as a poinsettia; bright light, but not direct sun with night temperatures around 65 degrees. Flower bud formation sometimes likes temperatures 10 to 15 degrees cooler. These plants also require good drainage.  

Cyclamen

This plant has attractive foliage that competes with the flowers for attention. If you treat this plant right, you will get a repeat performance of blooms. Resist the temptation to select a plant that is in full bloom since it is better to get a cyclamen with more buds than flowers. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and put the plant in a cool window that faces east or west.  

Dare to be Different

If you have a serious gardener on your shopping list, dare to be different and consider orchids or a calceolaria as the plant to give.  

Orchids have a reputation of being difficult to maintain, but they really aren’t with the right care. Dendrobium orchids are a good choice for novice orchid growers. They like humidity; place them in a bright window, out of direct sun, and mist them several times.

It is best to set the plants on a water-filled pebble tray, making sure the bottom of the plants don’t touch the water. Avoid cold drafts and dry heat, which can reduce the quality of the flowers.  

Calceolaria, called the pocketbook plant because of pocket-like flowers, can provide masses of pink, red, yellow, orange, brown and even leopard-spotted flowers for up to two months. This plant likes cool and moist conditions, preferably in a window facing east with direct morning light.  

For that unique and personal touch, for that person on your list who needs a bright spot during the gray days of winter, consider a gift for growing that adds a personal touch to the holiday season.