A living gift is a great alternative to the typical chocolates and fruit cakes. Nurseries around the country are stocked with a wide selection of stunning tropical ornamental plants to choose from during the holidays.
A beautiful living plant as a gift can live on for years as a reminder of your affection or friendship. It’s also a gift with a positive statement for nature amidst the commercialism that often invades this time of year. Following are just a few suggestions you might find useful.
Bromeliads or Bromelias:
There are two types of bromeliads – epiphytes, which live aloft in the trees of the rain forest, and terrestrials, which have well-developed root systems. A pineapple is a good example of a terrestrial bromeliad. Although the epiphytes have their charm, the terrestrial types are famous for their spectacular flowers, which come in striking colors of pink, red, yellow and white. Terrestrial bromeliads also do well as houseplants, because they grow well in lowlight conditions. They do, however, need to be watered regularly with monthly applications of liquid fertilizer.
ORCHIDS or Orquidias:
Many orchids begin to bloom at this time of the year, and nurseries now offer a good selection. The secret to giving an orchid as a gift is to pick out the perfect blooming orchid very close to the day you plan to give it. This will ensure that the bloom will last the maximum length of time. Many orchid blooms last weeks before they fade. After the bloom, most orchids are cared for in an area outside the house in partial shade. If cared for well, your gift will bloom at the same time each year.
Poinsettias or Pastoras:
This is the traditional Christmas plant, which is popular all around the world. Actually, most people think the colorful leaves are the flowers, but if you look real closely, you’ll see little yellow flowers amidst the eye-catching leaves.
Poinsettias are easy to plant outside the home once their colors have faded and they’ll grow into perennial bushes, which bloom every year around Christmas.
Mums or Pomas:
Known as Pomas in Spanish, chrysanthemums are available most of the year and come in an almost infinite spectrum of colors. These annual plants bloom for months and are easy to care as a house plant.
Displayed in a sunny area inside or transplanted outside on the patio, they provide a cheery ambiance for the home. The dried flowers can be saved and the seeds replanted in the following season.
LIVING Christmas Trees:
This year you may want to join the growing number of families that no longer buy cut Christmas trees. Not only are the cut trees a fire hazard for the home, they represent an old custom that has outlived its practicality. No doubt, a century ago folks needed a fresh-cut tree in the cabin to revive their spirits during the dismal winter months. But today, this custom represents a tremendous drain on our environmental resources.
Even in tropical nurseries, you’ll find a selection of conifers in potted containers that are ideal for decorating during the holiday season. And when the New Year arrives and the holiday decorations a restored away, you can transplant your tree into the home landscape or simply enjoy it as a potted ornamental on the patio.
If you are weary of wandering through the malls in search of Christmas gifts, you might try a visit to your local nursery. Amidst the peacefulness of the plants with their joyous colors, you may just find a special living gift for Christmas.