Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
Christmas is right around the corner. Did you make your gift list and have you checked it twice? If you are stumped on what to give your loved ones this year, how about gifting some green this Christmas. Plants make terrific gifts and is a great way to help support your local garden shops and nurseries.
Here are some green gift ideas:
- For the person that wants to grow their own food or likes to cook: Combine an assortment of vegetable seedlings (lettuce, tomato, herbs, etc.) or plants used for tea (ko‘oko‘olau and mamaki) and arrange them in a basket with a pair of appropriate sized gardening gloves and maybe even throw in a trowel to help with planting. If the person you’ll be gifting has the space and is interested, fruit trees can be an appealing gift.
- For the person that doesn’t have outdoor growing space: House plants have increased in popularity the past several years. Choose a plant that can thrive indoors and dress it up in a decorative cachepot. A cachepot is a pot without drainage holes which protects surfaces from water damage. Other decorative containers can be used along with a tray to catch excess water that may drain out of the pot after watering. Plants that grow in the understory in their natural habitat typically are well-suited to be houseplants because they don’t need full sun to thrive (begonia, sansevieria, philodendron, peace lily/Spathiphyllum, pothos, dracaena, etc.).
- For the crafty person: Select plants that can be used in lei or for floral arrangements. Plants such as ferns (palapalai, shinobu/rabbit’s foot fern), foliage plants (ti-leaf, song of India), and flowering plants (bozu/Gomphrena, ginger/heliconia, anthurium) are just some examples.
- For the person interested in wellness and healing: gift plants for a sensory garden that appeal to the five senses- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
- Sight — plants with beautiful or unusual leaves, flowers, or fruit
- Hearing — something that attract bees or birds or other wildlife
- Smell — plants with fragrant leaves, flowers, or fruit
- Taste — yummy edible plants
- Touch — plants with soft fuzzy leaves, thick fleshy leaves, or textured leaves. You may want to save cactus/other thorny plants and poisonous plants for another garden.
Healing plants to treat ailments are useful to have around the home (aloe vera, comfrey, lavender, mint).
- For the person that likes the strange and unusual: How about carnivorous plants? There are a variety of carnivorous plants that can help trap some of those pesky bugs in or around the home. Sarracenia, sundew and bladderwort do well outdoors in full sun sitting in a tray of rainwater, while Nepenthes prefer to grow under shade. Butterworts can be kept indoors in bright filtered sunlight or outdoors in partial sun. They, like Nepenthes, prefer to be kept moist, but not constantly wet. Carnivorous plants do best when watered with rainwater or distilled water.
Whatever you choose, just remember ultimately the best gift is you. During this busy time of year, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy time with your loved ones. Happy holidays!
Amy Tsuneyoshi grew up playing in the mud and still finds joy in getting her hands in the soil. She grows a variety of edible and ornamental plants in her urban jungle as well as Native Hawaiian plants. She has a degree in horticulture from the University of Hawai’i at Mänoa and is currently the President of the Friends of Hälawa Xeriscape Garden.