Our top tips for the Perfect Living Christmas Gift
It’s that time of the year when people are putting thought to finding the perfect gift for family and friends. For me there is no better gift, than that of a plant except, maybe, two plants! And of course, there is no more beautiful place to escape the Christmas rush, than to retreat to the serenity and beauty of a garden centre - to be able to buy your Christmas gifts there is an absolute bonus!
Here are our top tips for fabulous living gifts this Christmas.
Poinsettia: Nothing screams Christmas more than a beautiful potted poinsettia. Poinsettia come in a range of pot sizes, and colours with pink and white poinsettias now available, along with the traditional red poinsettia we all know and love. Poinsettia are happy indoors for a short period in the lead up to Christmas provided the light is good. When watering be sure to keep water droplets away from the leaf, and only water when dry. Poinsettia can be transplanted into a warm, sheltered part of the garden after Christmas (avoiding the hot afternoon sun). When transplanting water in well with Seasol, and be sure to prune the bush to 2-3 buds after flowering to keep it compact and encourage fresh growth.
Fiddle Leaf Fig: Impress your loved one with a Fiddle Leaf Fig. They are a fabulous pot plant which add a sense of lux and lush to interiors, and they are right on trend this year. For the perfect look match your beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig with a seagrass basket. Water as needed (when the soil on top of the pot is dry). This will vary from home to home depending on heating and cooling. The large leaf of the Fiddle Leaf Fig will need dusting from time to time – a soft, clean cloth or light duster will usually do the trick, and fertilise with a liquid fertiliser every 2-4 weeks.
Hydrangea: Hydrangea make a beautiful Christmas Gift. Potted hydrangea come in a range of colours from soft pinks, to deep pinks, whites and blues. Potted hydrangea will be happy indoors for a few days to a week only, but are better on a sheltered patio or verandah where they will receive good filtered light or morning sun. Hydrangea do dry out quickly in hot weather, so be sure to keep an eye on water requirements and water as needed. Cut the flowers and enjoy them inside, and be sure to prune them in winter to encourage compact growth and flowers next summer. Hydrangeas prefer an acid soil, and can be planted out into the garden in a cool, filtered light aspect.
Sanseveria: Sanseveria (also known as Mother In Laws Tongue or Snake Plant) is a fabulous old fashioned plant which has made a resurgence, and for good reason. Sanseveria is super hardy (only killed by kindness), and make a real statement in the home. This is a ‘no care’ plant for the person who forgets to water. Be sure to only water when the pot is dry. In most cases watering every 4-8 weeks will be fine, but do be guided by your home, how warm it is, and if you have drying airconditioning or breezes.
Herb Bowls: Herb Bowls filled with lush, seasonal herbs make a fabulous Christmas gift for the cook in your family. Herb bowls are advanced enough to be used immediately, and look wonderful adorning an outdoor dining table. Herb bowls will require at least half a day of sun, and will need watering every day; they will also appreciate a liquid feed such as Thrive each fortnight.
Fruit Trees: Fruit Trees really are the gift that keeps on giving. Most nurseries and garden centres should have a good range of citrus in stock, along with apricots, apples, , blue berries and passionfruit to name a few. A beautifully gift wrapped fruit tree is the perfect gift for the productive gardener, and a wonderful way to teach children about where fruit really comes from. Fruit trees should be kept outdoors, and planted into a large pot (about the size of a half wine barrel), or into the ground. Fruit trees need plenty of water, and should be fertilised with specially formulated fertilisers to encourage good growth and fruit.
Potted Christmas Tree: Living potted Christmas trees are available from most good garden centres in the lead up to Christmas. Whilst they are happiest outdoors, you can bring them indoors for the 2-3 weeks leading up to Christmas. They look fabulous decorated, and adorned with lights. Once Christmas has passed move your potted Christmas tree onto the verandah, before moving it out into the sun. Potted trees require watering regularly (water when dry), and potting on into a larger pot every 2-3 years. A general fertiliser such as Dynamic Lifter or Rapid Raiser will be appreciated, but be sure not to do this prior to Christmas or your home will be filled with a less than pleasant aroma.
Succulents: Succulents make a wonderful, inexpensive gift, and there are so many beautiful succulents and cacti now available to the home gardener. If you are feeling crafty, pot up a bowl of succulents for a friend, or purchase a single plant and match it with the perfect pot. We have some fabulous advanced cacti available too. Most succulents are killed with kindness. Be sure to tell the recipient of your gift not to over water. Some succulents are happy indoors, others will prefer to be outdoors in full sun. Speak with the qualified staff at your local garden centre to find the right succulent for you.
And if logistics mean a living plant is not on your gift list this Christmas, then consider a new pair of secateurs, garden gloves, a watering can, or a bag or two of fertiliser or cow manure for the gardener in your life.