I love giving plants as gifts, even when they are misguided. One summer, I had two friends who were both pregnant with similar due dates. The first, Meg, was a free spirit. She had a soft, cozy home and we often talked about our furniture restoration projects. The one, Jess, was a settled-in city girl. She stored clothes in her oven because she didn’t like to cook and enjoyed traveling. My husband told me that Meg invited me to her baby shower. I excitedly bought a air-cleansing plant for the baby’s room.
When I arrived at the party, I soon found out it was a party that Meg was throwing for Jess. All too late, Jess opened up my plant gift. She very politely (although shocked) thanked me for the plant. I could tell she was thinking, “You want me to take care of a baby… and a plant?”
Amusingly, Meg gushed over the plant. She loved the idea of a new plant to go in a baby nursery and wanted to know where I got that one. Let’s just say, plants make great gifts for the right people.
I have several plants that I love to propagate as gifts. It’s a thoughtful, meditative way to literally nurture something for someone else.
Care Level: Just add water.
How to Propagate: When one of the stalks has a shoot, you snip it off with a pair of sanitized scissors. Then, you put the shoot in water, near sunlight and wait for it to root.
This works best in the spring or summer. However, you can pull it off in winter if you have a warm, sunny spot.
I love to give lucky bamboo as gifts because they’re low committment. A stalk fits well in any container, allowing you to customize for the person.
Care Level: Can’t touch this.
How to Propagate: Snip off a single leaf with santized scissors. Leave in a dry, sunny area until roots form. Then, stick it in dry soil. Spray the dirt occasionally until the plant forms.
An old-fashioned spin on the succulent craze, jade just wants to be left alone. Seriously, it does best when you don’t fuss with it.
As a gift, small plants can fit in a teacup or mug. They look great on a desk and can handle low (ish) light.
Care Level: Forgettabout it.
How to Propagate: Snip off 6-8 inches of vine with sanitized scissors. Cut off the leaves from the bottom 2-3 inches and stick in water. Leave in the sun until roots appear. Then, you can replant in a new container with soil.
English Ivy makes a great marker of time. It grows long with the days. So, the recipient can enjoy watching it stretch around a windowsill while thinking of you.
Care Level: Vampiric.
How to Propagate: Put a new container with soil under the spider plant baby. Keep it attached to the parent plant. Once it roots, you can snip the runner.
Although they aren’t actually air plants, baby spider plants offer a similar aesthetic. They have thin, spiky leaves and do best in low light. Great for an office, bathroom or bedroom, black thumbs can usually keep them alive.
Care Level: Leaf them alone.
How to Propagate: Unfortunately, these ones take a little more patience. They will send up shoots with new plants. But, that can be slow coming (once a year or so.) If you fertilize regularly, you could get more shoots.
But, for a novice, just watch for it to happen. Then, you can break the plant apart at the roots and separate into different pots.
As a gift, they are a fun starter plant. They can handle both over-watering and a forgetful dry spell.
Plants as Gifts
Even if your black-thumbed friend only keeps the plant alive for a few months, that’s a lot longer than fresh cut flowers. Plants bring life into a home or office. Why not share a little bit with a family member or friend?
Tell me about yours. I’d love to hear about what plants you’re nurturing right now. Tag me on Insta.