Plant Gift Guide
This is a brilliant time of year to choose plants as a gift, as there are so many beautiful and colourful options to choose from. If you’re not sure what to choose ask one of the team in your local garden centre to assist you. They will help you pick the perfect gift that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Camellias are in full flower at the moment but bear in mind they are not suitable for gardens that enjoy a lot of sun in the morning. They are a good option for gardens that are north- or west-facing as they tolerate quite a lot of shade. Peonies, such as Avalanche and Claire de Lune, also make wonderful gifts and evoke happy memories of childhood for many people. Present them in a beautiful pot with a soil-based compost and they will bloom in May and June, making them the gift that keeps giving.
A Magnolia stellata works well in smaller spaces and can be kept in a pot for a number of years. The same goes for cherry blossoms– you generally need a lot of space but there are smaller options that could fit any size garden.
Carnations and azaleas have always been popular gifts but the interesting fact about both is that they are not traditionally indoor plants. They have been hybridised over the years and can be kept indoors when flowering and then transferred outside. For a true indoor plant you can’t go wrong with a Begonia rex or flowering begonia. They add a beautiful splash of colour to a home and thrive in well-lit areas like a windowsill. Low maintenance, begonias only require watering every two to three weeks. Over-watering is the biggest culprit in the demise of houseplants so it is good to ask for advice from staff when purchasing your gift.
Another great gift idea is the elegant Phalaenopsis orchid. They are extremely easy to look after and can flower for years if properly tended to, providing longevity to your gift. Orchids are grown beside trees where the arm is attached to the trunk, which means that they are always moist but never too wet. If you can replicate this environment at home and keep the bark moist then you are on the right track. The clear pot that orchids are often sold in should help to tell when it needs to be watered. If the bark is dark and the clear pot feels heavy, it doesn’t require water. If not, sit the orchid in one or two inches of water within an outer ceramic pot. And finally, the secret to a happy orchid is to keep it in one place as they don’t like to move around. A windowsill is best but preferably not a south-facing window, which can be too hot.
Thanks to Orla Woods of Kilmurry Nursery and Pat Keville of Plantstore.ie for their top plant picks!