12 Potted Plants That Make Long-Lasting Holiday Gifts
Decorated like a mini Christmas tree or placed on the mantel as a fresh green accent, a dwarf conifer in a pretty container makes a festive gift for the holiday season. Look for dwarf conifers with blue-green, deep-green or chartreuse foliage. Pick up a plant in a 4- to 6-inch pot and drop it into a more decorative vessel like a roll-down “paper bag” container or a red, white or gold ceramic pot.
After the holidays, the gift recipient should place the conifer in a sunny spot outside or repot it in a larger outdoor container where it can live for a few years.
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A succulent placed in an fun-shaped planter is a cute present that is sure to bring a smile to anyone on your gift list. While any small-scale houseplants can be placed in a whimsical planter, succulents are an easy bet.
They take little water, so you can get away with watering lightly and occasionally if the planter you choose comes without a drainage hole. Plus, succulents are generally slow-growing, so a plant can live in limited soil space for a long period. Place potted succulents in a spot with bright sunlight indoors.
This plant and pot combination — a striped zebra plant in a metallic pot — is a more sophisticated option for a succulent gift. These plants make great gifts for hosts, co-workers or clients. Zebra plants grow well indoors with bright sunlight and make great decorative accents on desks, mantels and side tables.
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Give the gift of a miniature indoor garden under glass to the real plant lover on your list. Terrariums can come fully assembled with plants, moss and soil, or as kits that allow you to design your own. Bonus: Pair the terrarium with a vintage-style mister to keep plants looking fresh.
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Amaryllis are some of the easiest bulbs to grow indoors, and nurseries often have them timed to bloom with the holiday season. The oversize flowers are long-lasting and open to reveal red, pink, white or striped petals.
Choose waxed or already-potted amaryllis bulbs for gifts, or plunk a potted nursery-grown bulb into a container of your choice. Glazed ceramic containers in holiday colors or classic terra-cotta pots make nice potted gifts.
Forced bulbs placed in decorative pots or wrapped in paper are a gift that reminds anyone living in a cold climate that spring is just around the corner. It’s an easy, inexpensive and nature-inspired gift that you can pick up on your way to a holiday dinner or when meeting up with friends.
Look for favorites at nurseries and grocery stores, such as fragrant hyacinth, paperwhites or dwarf daffodils, that can all be forced to bloom indoors before they would naturally bloom in spring.
If you find a potted forced bulb, covering the soil with preserved moss and setting the pot into a decorative vessel can help make the bulb look more gift-like.
Tillandsia, everyone’s favorite soil-less air plants, are cute and easy to care for. When hung in a glass orb, they can also double as living Christmas tree ornaments. Place the air plants in a glass globe, mini terrarium or other decorative mount (they can grow pretty much anywhere) to elevate them as a present.
Air plants grow best in a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight and prefer a weekly dunking in water or frequent misting.
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A vertical herb garden gives you room to grow multiple herb types without taking up any counter space. For a gift, purchase a vertical growing kit and then pick up 4-inch herb pots at the nursery to tuck into the growing pockets. Culinary herbs all require full sun to thrive, so be sure to instruct the gift recipient to choose a spot with bright sunlight.
One of the few plants that keeps blooming in cold temperatures, heather can be a cheerful addition to porches or windowsills, or act as a pretty indoor accent. For a gift, choose a heather plant with either white or pink blooms from the nursery and pair with a zinc or ceramic container, or drop it into a woven basket.
For anyone dreaming of sunshine or the Mediterranean, a mini potted olive can be a thoughtful gift that lasts for years. Pair an olive plant with a terra-cotta pot for a classic look. Most small olive plants are grown as standard trees, and the form is particularly cute when strung with copper wire lights up the trunk and around the foliage for the holiday season.
Olive trees thrive in full sun, so plan on moving plants outdoors in mild climates or to a sunny window.
Container-free string gardens make unexpected accents hanging around the house or propped on a tray on a desk. For any garden enthusiasts or crafters on your list, consider purchasing a kokedama kit. Most kits don’t come with the actual plant, so pick one up — like an easy-to-grow succulent, pothosor sansevieria — to go along with it.
If you have a houseplant lover, interior designer or “shelfie” photographer on your list, a gift of this “it plant” is sure to get you some major points. Pancake plant (Pilea peperomioides) is a charming houseplant that has quickly worked its way into plant-lovers’ hearts and many well-styled interiors. Plus, the plants themselves are easy to grow and propagate.
Pancake plants can be tough to find in regular nurseries in the U.S. Your best bet is to pick up a good-looking small white or neutral container and then search for the plants online.