Plants for Valentines by June Morgan, Master Gardener.
Poinsettias for Christmas, lilies for Easter and red roses for Valentine are traditional flowers for gift giving. The first two are usually potted plants, and with the right care can give pleasure for a long time. Alas, it is not true for the beautiful long stemmed roses which are not only expensive but wilt within a short time. With proper care, potted plants with long lasting blooms and dish gardens can be welcome and practical alternatives.
Despite having a finicky reputation, orchids can be easy to care for. Their blooms are long lasting, and with the right lighting and fertilizing, can last for years, putting out new flower stalks when the old blooms are finished. Phalanopsis (Moth orchid) are readily available, do not cost a fortune, and come in many colors.
Cyclamen colors range from deep red to white and shades of pink. The blooms are long lasting and several colors together make a striking presentation. When blooms are over, the plants can be set outside and the bulbs saved for sunny weather. Pansies, with their many varieties, are an interesting addition to a green arrangement as well as loving the cool outdoors. Pansies are a close cousin to violets, the purple ones being a symbol of love. Traditionally, giving a bouquet of purple violets spoke of a prospective suitor to a lady. Violets are an ideal indoor hobby and are easy to reproduce.
More unusual floral gifts include bonsai trees and an assortment of succulents planted in an attractive dish. Both are easy care and suited for the indoor gardener, especially shut-ins. Not to be forgotten are children, especially those whose sweets intakes are severely limited. As an elementary student I was given a potted ivy at a gift exchange. I was thrilled because it sent two messages to me. One, someone thought that I was responsible enough to care for it, and two, I was now in the big league when it came to presents.
Big league or not, potted or not, flowers are always welcome. While florists and grocery stores will always have available “ready to go” plants, don’t forget the garden centers where you can make your own one of a kind creation for that special Valentine.