Mother’s Day is Sunday. My first without my mom. I didn’t actually see her on Mother’s day last year because…..well you know why. Was anyone able to see their mom? In honor of her and all moms, let’s talk about some wonderful flowering houseplants you can buy for a mother’s day gift that any mom would love. Hint, hint…
So many choices
If you walk into any garden center, big box, grocery store, or even the local drugstore, you will see a myriad of plants this week. Mom is special to everyone and all the stops come out when choosing a gift for her. Let’s talk about a few of the choices that are the most widely available. I’ve seen all of these this week as I’ve been out and about. Of course, cut flowers are always a choice, but I’d rather have a plant that will give mom flowers for years to come with little care.
Choosing a plant
There are so many plants to choose from so how do you pick a good one? First I find the color flower I want and then find a plant that looks good with more buds than flowers. When I say a plant that looks good, don’t buy a ratty plant that may have nice flowers. You want a healthy plant so it will look good after the plant is done flowering. A very important factor is to check that your plant isn’t standing in water. Often, gift plants are in some sort of decorative container whether it be a sleeve or cachepot and you need to make sure the plant isn’t waterlogged. Check for any signs of disease or insects and steer clear if you see any signs of them. On to the plants.
The phalaenopsis orchid is one of my favorites. I have quite a few and think they are easy to get to rebloom each year. These flowers last for months so this is a great pick for mom as he will be able to enjoy the flowers for a long time. After it is done blooming, cut the flower stalk off and let the plant grow, and store up energy for next year’s flowers. Keep the plant in bright light, such as an east window, and water the medium weekly, allowing it to drain well. Usually, orchids come in a cachepot of some sort and it is better to water the plant out of that pot, let it drain, and return it to the pot. With good care and the right light, it will bloom again next year. Every couple of years repot with fresh orchid mix.
African violets are another of my favorite plants and there are many out there to choose from and I’ve seen them in a myriad of interesting pots. They look cute in teapots, cup and saucers, little carryout containers like the one below, decorative boxes, and so many other adorable containers. I grow mine under lights, but also have them in an east window as they love the morning sun. Keep them evenly moist, not potting them in too large pots. They have shallow root systems so overpotting them can cause problems. Though it has been said you can’t get the leaves wet, that is an old wives’ tale. I rinse the leaves off to get the dust off while watering them but don’t allow the water to sit in the middle of the plant or allow the plant to stand in water. These plants will bloom almost constantly with good care.
Kalanchoes may be available to buy almost any time of year. These are succulent plants so don’t allow the plants to stand in water. Often gift plants come in decorative sleeves and that is fine as long as you make sure your plant isn’t standing in water. Give them good bright light, as they are succulents. When the flowers fade, cut them off. With the right light, they should send out sporadic flowers throughout the year.
The bromeliad family is so diverse and the most well-known family member is the pineapple. Did you know that? The two below are vase bromeliads and need the water to be kept in the vase their leaves form at all times. These bromeliads would most likely be an epiphyte on the trunks of trees in the rainforest in their natural habitat. The colorful parts of the plant are actually bracts that the flowers come from and are brightly colored to attract pollinators, as you can see below. Though these plants do die after flowering, the process is slow and in the meantime, they send out babies or pups to take their place.
Anthuriums are very eye-catching with their colorful bracts. The most common colors are red and pink but there are other colors as well. The shiny patent leather-looking “flowers” are actually called spathes and are modified leaves and the actual flower is the white part, called a spadix. Keep them evenly moist and give them bright light. With good care, they should have blooms all year long.
I did see calla lilies (Zantedeschia) to buy in many places this week. I have not had one, so I am giving you instructions from what I’ve researched about them. These South African plants grow from rhizomes and come in gorgeous colors but are a bit more muted than some of the other flowers. The flowers consist of a spathe that curves around and hugs the spadix or flowers. Calla lilies are hardy in zones 8-10 so if you live in zone 7 or lower, these will be houseplants or annuals outside. The good news is they will die down and then you can store the rhizomes and replant them again. Keep them moist with bright light, but not full sun.
All these plants are perfect gifts. Though they can be kept to hopefully flower another year, they can also be treated like a bouquet of flowers and composted after the flowers fade. Let mom know she won’t be judged if after the flowers are gone, she doesn’t keep the plant.
I hope you all enjoy Mother’s day with your moms and find a gift she will love. Really, moms love anything they get from their children, so it’s all good. If you are missing your mom, like me, hugs to you.
Have a great Mother’s Day!