Photo by Prudence Earl on Unsplash

It can be challenging to find just-the-right gifts this time of year, and if there’s one thing that even seasoned plant parents can’t get enough of, it’s more plants. If chosen and given with intention, plants can be a thoughtful holiday gift that can bring joy for years to come. 

Toni Reale | File Photo

Successfully gifting an indoor plant takes some forethought and follow-through. Grabbing the first pretty or trendy plant you see doesn’t mean that it will be a good fit for the recipient. Set up recipients for success by considering their plant experience, the lighting in their home and lifestyle (such as frequent travel) before choosing their plant. If you aren’t sure about these things, not to worry — there is a plant for everyone.

For the beginner 

Staghorn ferns make great DIY projects for that personal touch. | Photos via Gettyimages.com

Almost every new houseplant parent begins a collection with a snake plant (aka mother-in-law’s tongue). These tough-as-nails plants can withstand low to bright indirect light and thrive on infrequent watering. It gives a lot for requiring little. 

Instead of gifting this durable, yet common plant, why not try gifting a pothos? While there are many types, one of the most beautiful and accessible is called silver satin pothos. Its dusty green heart-shaped leaves have a flicker of silver that makes them stand out of the crowd. Its trailing growth habit is fit for a shelf or hanging from the ceiling. This low-maintenance plant requires medium to bright indirect light and needs moderate watering. The silver satin pothos is also easy to propagate and will soon become a household favorite.

For the artist

The silver satin pothos is a great durable plant for the beginner. | Photos via Gettyimages.com

Not every plant needs to be bound to a traditional pot. Surprise the creative heart in your life with a do-it-yourself mounted staghorn fern. There are many simple online tutorials that show how, and once mounted, these ferns can add visual interest to any home. Staghorn ferns are epiphytic, meaning, like Spanish moss, orchids and air plants, they do not require soil. In nature, they cling to trees and thrive in medium bright indirect light. These plants need to be watered more frequently. Get as creative as you want, and turn this gift into a work of art.

For the history buff

Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the friendship plant, became a trend-setting houseplant in the 1960s and 1970s with it’s UFO-shaped leaves and interesting shape. It’s called the friendship plant because it is easy to propagate and share. These plants love medium to bright indirect light and moderate watering. They aren’t fussy, but, they easily succumb to pests. 

Friendship plants were the thing to have in the 1960s and ’70s. | Photos via Gettyimages.com

What makes this plant interesting is the story of how it got from its native southwest China habitat into homes halfway across the globe. Most non-native plants can be somewhat easily traced back to an organized scientific collection expedition from a university or government entity, but not this pilea. Scientists couldn’t connect the dots of its migration. It wasn’t until someone from the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Botanic Garden in Stockholm published papers asking the public for leads to its origin. This inquiry led to tens of thousands of letters which revealed a lineage of those who passed clippings from China to Scandinavia to the United Kingdom. It’s a fascinating story that the history buff would love to dive into.

For the one who has it all

If you are looking for a plant-related gift for someone who seemingly has everything, consider gifting useful items such as a new watering can that is fit for displaying when not in use or a do-it-all garden tool such as a hori hori. Plant classes or workshops at a local shop to further plant knowledge also may be appreciated, plus they’ll likely make plant-minded friends along the way.

Gifting tips 

Choose an appropriate pot for the plant and get it potted. Be sure to ask a salesperson if you are unsure. It’s nice to receive a finished gift rather than having another plant project. Remember: the plant will be in your care until you gift it. Be sure to properly care for it by giving it the right amount of light and water. This will avoid gifting a stressed plant. Additionally, just like a dog, don’t leave the plants in your car.

Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop in Park Circle in North Charleston. It specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using nearly
100 percent American- and locally grown blooms. Online at roadsideblooms.com.
4610 Spruill Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.