Gardening at Christmas – The Grinch Isn’t the Only Thing Green

As we move into the festive season each year, friends and family tend to take priority over thinking about the garden and all things gardening. Every year, we repeat the well-trodden cycle of rushing around to prepare all, in readiness for sharing this special time with our family and friends.

Now, with a little forward planning, we can include the “gift of gardening” in our holiday gift list. Fortunately, plants make the ideal gift for most people.  Even those friends and family who are not interested in gardening will enjoy the decorative aspect of a house plant dressed in a nice container!

Christmas gift plants

Colorful easy-care Rock & Roll alstroemeria makes a lovely gift for warm climate gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

Avid gardeners are easy to buy for at this time of year. Choices abound and can include:

  • that hard-to-find or unique collector-type plant for the enthusiast
  • plants that are likely to be mass planted and make a statement in the garden. (Remember that, from a design perspective, multiples of threes when planting certainly make a stronger a statement in the garden.)
  • large foundation plants (which form the backbone of the garden), provided as bare-root plants
  • gardening design, planning or idea books and gardening magazine subscriptions.
  • gardening sundries including tools, gardening gloves, tool sharpeners, pruners, aprons, etc.
gardening gift books

Here’s great gift book for gardeners or even anyone who just enjoys reading about gardening myths and ideas.

Gift plants for the non-gardener . . .

However, we often have that person that seems to “have everything”, so buying gifts for him or her can be especially difficult.

For the novice or non-interested, the idea of a living gift giving becomes a little harder. But you’ll be fine if you think about going the “Ready to Use” (RTU) route as opposed to the DIY  plant (the kind that the recipient then needs to think about where and how to plant).

By “RTU” I don’t mean simply giving a plant in the container in which it was purchased, but by taking that extra effort to find and place the plant in a gift container. If you think about how and where the recipient may use the plant, you can make that gift fit the person and ensure it is enjoyed and appreciated.

gift plants

These little “Ready to Use” gift plants have been placed in containers that would best suit the gift recipient. The Strawberries & Cream hydrangea (left) makes a lovely hostess gift, while the container filled with easy-care succulents is great to cheer up any room.

The Europeans really have this gift plant mindset at its highest levels with plenty of RTU offers in store.  Many garden centers even have gift wrapping stations so that the plants can really be dressed to impress!

gift plants

A simple arrangement of single plants in similar containers from IBM Essen


Now, you don’t need to spend big $ at the store to make the plants look great and you don’t need to be afraid to copy the designs you see in store to inspire your own gift efforts. It all comes down to a little creativity and application.

gift plants

Terrariums are easy to make and can be as small or large as you’d like. These were made by a young teenager for her friends and family.

This is where the forward planning can come into play. There are number of gift-plant projects you can prepare in advance.  For instance terrariums make ideal gifts (and are fashionable again at the moment).  They’re low maintenance and can be used in almost any home setting. Best of all,  they can be created throughout the course of the year by picking up small plants and growing them on, taking succulent cuttings yourself and looking for suitable containers when the sales are on at the home stores or dollar stores.  If you haven’t had time to make them in advance however, attractive terrariums can be created up to a few days before the gift is given.  Making terrariums is also a nice way to introduce children to the joy of gardening. Container gardening expert Kerry Michaels provides a helpful list of terrarium plants on her website.

Looking for a gift for someone who enjoys bright colors and dressing up the house?  An easy-care house plant in an attractive container will work nicely. Gardening expert Marie Ianotti provides a nice list of easy-care house plants on her website.

forced bulbs gift basket

Here’s a clever way to repurpose an old suitcase!

Forced bulbs – bulbs that are brought into bloom indoors –  are another great gift you can start in advance, but if you miss that window of opportunity, giving bulbs ready to be forced into bloom is another nice gift, for even the non-gardener.  With them, gift recipients can enjoy the sites and scents of spring, even in the dreary winter months.  And, for anyone concerned about the environment, house plants offer carbon credit, especially those that help to clean the air!

So this festive season, instead of scratching your head about what to buy, think about the living gift option.  It fits on so many levels and is sure to be enjoyed with a little creative input from your end.

Houseplants as gifts

The Europeans have great ways of mixing plants and containers. These are from the IBM Essen trade show.

Easy care plants

If all else fails, cut-flowers are make a last minute gift for anyone – gardener or not! (shown here, Flower Carpet Scarlet)


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