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What Better Christmas Gift

What Better Christmas Gift

“Plants are Good for You” All Gardeners know this. Plants make superb Christmas Gifts for all our friends and family.


They are visually appealing with bright colours or calming green with wonderful shapes. Many are also fragrant. The home becomes a better place because people’s moods are elevated with plants adding to our décor contributing to good health and wellbeing. Plants are not just for Christmas so to make sure they give months of pleasure here are some tips to care for them.


Poinsettias probably most define Christmas with their red bracts, bright green leaves and golden flowers - yes, the golden bobbles in the middle of the bracts are the flowers. They are tropical plants so are happy between 15C to 20C in a bright, draft free place. Avoid a windowsill. Only water when the surface of the compost is dry.


Anthurium is a superb plant which is very easy to look after. It has bright red flowers that last for months. They like warmth and humidity and tolerate low light levels but avoid over watering by standing on a tray of pebbles just covered with water away from direct sunlight.


Christmas Cacti will drop the flower buds if over watered but require some humidity in the air so stand on a tray of pebbles and keep these moist. Gerberas require slightly brighter light so put on a sunny windowsill during the day but bring into the room at night. African Violets are always delightful in jewel box colours. Again stand on sand or gravel and keep moist but away from direct sunlight.


Winter flowering houseplants that are more suited to cooler houses are Azaleas, Cyclamen, Solanums and Kalanchoe.


Azaleas need to be kept moist so again stand on a tray of pebbles and water from below. Occasionally plunge the pot into a bowl of water so the level is above the rim. Allow to soak for 30 minutes, remove and drain before replacing onto the tray of pebbles.


Cyclamen should always be watered from below and the spent flowers and stems removed at the base to avoid corm rot. Again plunge the pot occasionally. It is one of the best houseplants for cool places.


Solanums, the Winter Cherry is a very easy plant for temperatures between 10C to 15C. Only water when the soil feels dry on top. It is also good in autumn tubs on the patio until there’s a hard frost. Easiest of all is Kalanchoe, Flaming Katy. It likes a cool but bright place tolerating dry conditions if occasionally plunged.


An Amaryllis bulb makes an interesting present. Amaryllis are easy to grow and should be planted with one third of the bulb above the soil level. Place in bright light and water sparingly at first increasing as the foliage develops and await that gorgeous flower. Hyacinths with their heavenly fragrance also like cooler places and will perfume the whole house for weeks.


In this time of turmoil the Peace Lily Spathiphyllum will be a welcome gift. It is one of the top ten household air cleaning plants with white and green flowers and shiny green leaves. It is easy to grow by plunging in water when dry and standing away from sunshine on a gravel tray.


Bromelia with the bold stunning exotic whirls of red foliage in a stylish pot is a trendy present. The red colour remains for a long time. It likes similar conditions to the peace lily, Spathiphyllum.


It is fun to grow Citrus Fruits especially if there is a heated conservatory. The hardier varieties like Lemon Trees and Kaffir Limes will tolerate lower temperatures down to 0c and can be grown outdoors. It is advisable to wrap the pot with hessian in late October and move against a protected wall or inside if severe weather is forecast. Calamondin, Orange, Kumquats, Mandarins and Grapefruits need warmer conditions above 5c. All Citrus Plants need plenty of sunshine and careful watering too much and too little water can result in leaf drop. We recommend plunging the plant in water so the level is above the pot and leave for one hour. Remove and allow to drain and do not water again until the soil is completely dry.


Orchids make special presents. Phalaenopsis are easy to grow tolerating the drier heat of central heating as well as being almost perpetually in flower. Water them sparingly from the top and stand on pebbles.


Terrariums are back in fashion together with large foliage plants like Calathea, Parlour Palms, Swiss Cheese Plants, Ficus, Ferns, Dracaenas and Yuccas. All have made resurgence popularity since Lock Down and spending more time indoors. All Houseplants look more attractive in a decorative pot which helps to maintain humidity and makes the Christmas Present special.




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