Plants are a thoughtful gift for anyone, regardless of their experience with plants. Not only is the physical process of nurturing plants a therapeutic and relaxing experience, plants also literally improve the quality of life of the people they’re around (increasing creativity, productivity, air quality, and more). To top it all off, plants beautify any space - especially when paired with a cute planter! But what plant to choose, and how do you keep it healthy until you can deliver the gift? We’ve got some tips for you.
Before you start shopping, here are some things to consider:
- Keep it small. Unless you’re shopping for someone who is 100% certifiably plant-crazy, you’re going to want to gift a plant that’s 6” or smaller. A large floor plant may take up more time and floor space than your recipient is comfortable with (plus, it’s harder to gift wrap!). We recommend keeping it to 6” or 4” plants.
- Gift a bundle. If your friend doesn’t have tools or soil handy, gifting a plant alone could make them scramble to get the equipment they need. Instead, pair a small plant with the things they need to plant it immediately, and voilà! - instant gratification. On the other hand, if they do already have everything they need, try pairing the plant with a complementary plant guide or plant-related accessory.
- Avoid the cold. If you live in a cold environment or the weather is not in your favor, your plant will need extra protection as you transport it to and from the store and your car, your car and your home, etc. You’d be surprised how much damage a quick walk through freezing temperatures can do to a plant! Use a paper sleeve or plastic bag to bundle the leaves together and insulate them from the cold, and move them as quickly as you can until it can get safely to warmth.
- Mind their needs. It might seem like common sense, but make sure you don’t deliver flowering plants to a friend who’s allergic to pollen, and if they have pets or children, make sure you get non-toxic plants that a little nibble on won’t hurt!
Next, who are you shopping for?
For The Stress Queen or King:
A thoughtful gift of a plant with a calming scent like Lavender can help high-strung friends relax! Lavender grows well in bright indirect light and a dry environment with frequent watering, and is known to improve sleep quality.
Mint is another easy-to-grow, sweet-smelling plant that’s perfect for adding to mojitos when they just need to chill. Keep Mint plants in bright indirect light in a warm area, and don’t let the soil dry out too much.
Bonus: for the single friend, include a succulent compendium of Boys With Plants for extra unwinding power. It makes great coffee table eye candy, too!
For The Friend That Kills Everything:
For the friend that just can’t seem to cure their black thumb, try Lucky Bamboo. It’s easily transported, and can simply be placed in a vase full of water and rocks or pebbles in a sunny spot - no maintenance required other than an occasional top-off of water!
Aloe Vera is another sturdy plant that doesn’t drink a lot of water, and it can even soothe any small burns with the aqueous solution from its limbs. It’s perfect for that one clumsy friend (you know the one). Keep Aloe in high indirect light and let the soil dry completely before watering.
And because (let’s be real) they’re going to need a little more help, How To Raise a Plant and Make It Love You Back is a great plant guide to add to their repertoire, too.
For The Adventurous Plant Parent:
A new, exotic addition to your plant-loving friend’s collection could be the perfect gift. We like Anthurium Clarinervium, a kind of Anthurium very different from your typical bright Flamingo Lily. This one is all about the bold green and stark veins on heart-shaped leaves! This plant likes bright indirect light and to be watered when the soil is dry.
Looking for something unusual? Whether they’re hanging out in glass globes or sitting on bookshelves, Tillandsia (Air Plants) make great decor pieces because of their unique shapes and lack of a need to be planted in soil. These interesting plants like indirect light and daily misting or weekly soaking.
If they also need fun new plant-related things to do, we also recommend Stylish Succulent Designs & Other Botanical Crafts for endless plant-filled activities!
For The Full House (Of Pets, Children, Or Both):
Safe, non-toxic plants that can handle a little manhandling are your best bet for the friend with the full house. What could be more hard-wearing than the Cast Iron Plant? This almost indestructible, pet-friendly plant can survive in almost any conditions, but prefers indirect light.
Chlorophytum (Spider Plants) are a no-fail pick for the friend who’s busy running the household, and are as forgiving of a little neglect as they are of a little nibble or two by the family cat. Spider plants prefer high indirect light and should be watered when soil is dry.
Finally, help this friend keep all their household inhabitants happy with a copy of Happy Houseplants (plus, the illustrations inside are kid-friendly distractions!).
Done? Now that you’ve got your gift, it’s time to dress it up. A small plant might fit in a gift bag, or even wrapped in a box (just make sure to keep it right side up, and warn them when unwrapping it!), but larger plants may require some creativity. Instead of covering up foliage, let the leaves steal the show and simply decorate the planter or nursery pot it may be in! Ribbons, bows, or a simple cord tied around tissue paper or a decorative wrapping can bring your gift to the next level. For fun, try addressing the gift on a plant stake label, and stick it into the soil!
You can also add fun decorations on top of the soil or arranged within the planter itself, like these Poinsettia holiday gifts:
In need of more inspiration? Check out our recommended plant selections for more plant ideas. Happy gifting!