I don’t know about you, but I always tell my husband I don’t need any cut flowers for Valentine’s Day. I would rather have a plant that lasts and besides, cut flowers may bring thrips into the house. No thanks.
Living Plants Instead
I’m going to show you some living plants that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special day, for that matter. The plants I chose are ones that will be easy to find at a local garden center or big box if you don’t have a garden center near you. We’ll start with flowering plants, but will include some gorgeous foliage plants, as well. Don’t underestimate the beauty of fabulous foliage.
Let’s start with one of the most popular flowering plants, the moth orchid, Phalaenopsis. These can be found not only in garden centers and big-box stores but in almost every grocery store. The best part about these orchids is the flowers will last for months. Cut flowers last a couple of weeks if you are lucky. Why not buy a real plant with flowers that could last almost a year, and best of all, bloom next year, too?
Anthuriums are definitely an easy plant to find near Valentine’s Day as the spathes or what most people think of as their flowers, are heart-shaped and usually the spathes are red or pink, though they come in other colors. They, like the phalaenopsis orchid, can last for a long time. If well taken care of and given the conditions they prefer, they can be in bloom almost continually. Give them a good bright light and don’t let them dry out completely.
Though African violetare thought of as “grandma” plants, they are definitely not. My grandma did have gorgeous violets, but if she could see the varieties they have today, she would be blown away. They have really gorgeous flowers and foliage, as well. Violets flower most of the year with the right light and even moisture. Their shallow fibrous root systems would rather not dry out for any length of time.
We are going to move away from flowers now and look at some beautiful foliage plants. The first is the variegated rubber tree or Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’. The pink and white variegation on the leaves is unbeatable and they are easy plants as long as they are kept warm and evenly moist. If they are too dry or too wet, they will drop yellow leaves and also if they are placed in a cold draft.
The arrowhead plant is an easy to find, popular plant. It is easy to grow, as long as you don’t let it completely dry out, which will cause brown edges. It’s thin leaves are an indication to the plant owner that they need to be kept moist, as they don’t have great water-storing capabilities. They come in many colors ranging from red, to pink, to green, and often they are variegated. I like to see the leaves as heart-shaped instead of the common name of arrowhead they have been given.
Another beautiful foliage plant is the aglaonema. It does flower, but I usually cut them off so the energy of the plant can go into the leaves. That is what the plant is really grown for. I can’t say enough about these plants. They are so gorgeous, don’t need full sun to keep those colorful leaves, and their succulent stems hold some water, so they can take a bit of drying out. The colors they come in are fantastic, ranging from red to pink, peach, and the older green varieties, which can take a low light situation.
Calatheas are one of the most popular plants right now. They have beautiful foliage and the leaves fold up at night. There are many time-lapse videos out there if you want to see the process. Calatheas aren’t well known for being the easiest plants, but with the right care, they aren’t too difficult. They do NOT like to dry out at all, and they would prefer a non-fluoridated water source for their moisture needs as the fluoride may cause brown edges. They like humid conditions so a humidifier or pebble tray helps. Give them a bright light without direct sun, such as an east window would supply.
If you see one of the three plants above, it is a safe bet the person getting it would be happy. Though these plants have been in the marketplace for a while, they are still extremely popular. The fiddle leaf fig and the monster get extremely large, so make sure they have room to grow where you are going to place them.
If your loved one has quite a few plants already and is ready to try something a bit more challenging, buy them a fern. I say challenging because many people seem to find them so. Ferns really aren’t that difficult. They really just need to be kept moist at ALL times. Usually, an overdry fern is a dead, or at the very least, a struggling fern. Mine love my east window, I keep them moist and they thrive.
This Philodendron micans is a beautiful heart-shaped leaf plant. It is like the old-fashioned green heart leaf but has a darker green leaf with a burgundy underside, is quilted, and has a beautiful, almost iridescent sheen to it. It will climb or grow well in a hanging basket.
Tillandsia or air plant
And last, how about an air plant and like the picture below, a cool head planter to put it in. Air plants get a bad rap because people don’t exactly know how to take care of them. From what I’ve seen, the problem is they are placed in areas without enough light and at best, they are misted to supply their water. In my experience, air plants need bright light (I have mine in west and south windows) and need to be soaked in water, not just misted. After their soak in the sink, I shake the water off and then dry them upside down so they don’t rot. Mine flower and grow new pups regularly.
I hope this helped you last-minute shoppers still looking for the perfect gift for your Valentine. I’m sure whichever plant you choose, your significant other will be thrilled. Flowering or not, there are some great choices out there and while you are shopping, treat yourself to a new plant!
Have a great Valentine’s Day!