Holiday Gift Plants

Plants make wonderful holiday gifts; they bring a bit of nature indoors and many can be replanted in Florida landscapes.

Red poinsettia in a basket in front of a fireplace with stockings hung from the mantle

If you’re looking for a gift that can be enjoyed long after the season of giving, there are a variety of plants to choose from. Small potted Norfolk Island pines, rosemary, lemon cypress, or holly plants can be gifted as a miniature holiday tree to be enjoyed indoors. For the flower-favoring folks, paperwhite narcissus, amaryllis, cyclamen, anthuriums, and Christmas cactus make lovely holiday gifts. For more outside-the-box gifts, consider succulents and bromeliads. And of course, no list of holiday plants would be complete without the ever-festive poinsettia.

When selecting a plant, look for healthy foliage and that no roots are coming out of the pot. If you are purchasing a flowering plant, try to select one that hasn’t fully bloomed yet. Always be sure to include care instructions with your gift. Further down you can find a bit of information on caring for gift plants; be sure to follow the links for even more detailed care instructions.

You can make your gift plant even more special by taking it out of that plastic pot and giving it in a creative container; read more in our article, Choosing a Container.

Small potted evergreen with large gift tag

Norfolk Island Pine — These young pines are quite popular as decorative table-top holiday trees. While they will stay quite modestly sized as houseplants, on their native Norfolk Island these trees stretch to an impressive 200 feet tall! Read more on these interesting trees—which are featured prominently on the Australian territory’s flag—in our article.

Holly branch with pointy leaves and bright red berries

Holly — While the other gift plants on this list can thrive happily in a container, hollies need a place in the landscape in order to survive. The good news is that holly plants do quite well in Florida gardens, especially natives. Just be sure that your holly recipient has a place for it in their yard. Learn more about the hollies you can grow in Florida.

Hot pink ruffled flowers of a potted plant

Cyclamen — This cool-season bloomer is often used as an accent plant indoors and can also be grown as a winter annual in Florida. Dark green to silvery leaves coupled with twisting flowers in shades of red, pink, or white make this little plant quite the lovely holiday gift. Learn more about this plant.

Bright orange trumpet shaped amaryllis flower has yellow in the interior center

Amaryllis — These subtropical bulbs are popular gift plants because they can be forced to produce stunning flowers during the holiday season, and you can find the bulbs coated with an attractive wax – no pot required! Amaryllis is grown indoors throughout the country, but Florida gardeners are lucky to be able to grow these beauties year-round. Learn how to care for your amaryllis in the landscape.

Paperwhite narcissus — These bulbs are great alternatives to the ever-popular amaryllis. Paperwhite narcissus is quite easy to force to flower and can be planted in the landscape by gardeners in North and North-Central Florida. Learn more about these holiday gift bulbs.

A bright red poinsettia with a few white speckles on its petal-like bracts

Poinsettias — A classic holiday icon, poinsettias are another potted plant that can be enjoyed either inside or in the Florida landscape. With a little love and care your poinsettia will survive the holiday season and thrive for years to come. Learn more about successfully caring for your poinsettia.

Small flower pinkish-red tipped petals and a white center

Christmas cactus — Thanks to its name, colorful blooms, and low-maintenance reputation, Christmas cactus is another popular holiday gift option. Most often grown as houseplants, Christmas cactus can be grown outside in warm areas, so long as it is protected from freezing temperatures. Learn more about Christmas cactus.

Three small rosemary plants in pots, pruned to resembled tiny Christmas trees

Rosemary — This wonderful perennial herb can often be found pruned as a holiday topiary. Rosemary plants are enjoyed for their looks and smells while being regularly clipped for use in the kitchen. This herb can live out its life in a pot on the patio long after the holidays pass (if given good light) or it can be planted in your herb garden. You can read more on growing rosemary here.

Small light green miniature cypress tree in a brown-paper wrapped pot on a counter in a contemporary home

Lemon cypress — Lemon cypress is another plant that is popular as a holiday topiary. It gets its name from the golden foliage and the citrusy scent that’s released when the leaves are crushed. Lemon cypress is actually a cultivar of Monterey cypress, and as a result can reach up to 40 feet tall in the ground. If you keep it in a pot, water it regularly and prune in the spring to keep it a manageable size. This article from North Carolina Extension has more about lemon cypress.
Photo credit: Pixel-Shot/

three glass jars planted with tiny succulent plants and decorated with twine

Succulents — Add some variety to your holiday gifts with succulents. There are a plethora of options in various sizes, colors, and shapes. A few that we love include echeveria, sedum, sempervivum, and kalanchoe. Get creative with containers to make a truly unique gift. More on succulents.

Bright red shiny anthurium flower with a long yellow stamen

Anthurium — If you’d like to gift a plant that’s showy all year long, then choose anthurium. This colorful perennial blooms throughout the year and can be grown indoors or, if you live in South Florida, outdoors as well. Full-size cultivars will reach two to three feet tall, but dwarf varieties are also available. Learn how to care for anthurium.

Bromeliad with a base of green strappy leaves but in the center a cluster of bright red shorter leaves with a yellow center of very small pointy leaves

Bromeliads — Bromeliads are another colorful option that are suited to both indoor and frost-free outdoor environments. In addition to their showy leaves, many bromeliads also produce exotic flower spikes. With so many varieties available, you’ll surely find the perfect gift. Learn about the many bromeliad varieties.

Caring for Your Plant

Poinsettias, amaryllis, and other gift plants bring welcome holiday color to the home. The trick to making them last is just to follow a few simple rules. Locate your plant in bright indirect light. Look for a spot in front of a window, but away from direct sun, drafts, and heating sources like vents or radiators. Check the plant’s moisture level every few days by inserting a fingertip into the soil. If it feels dry beneath the surface, take it to the sink and water thoroughly, letting it drain for a few minutes. Don’t let your plant sit in water. If cared for properly, gift plants can brighten your life for months—and even years—to come.

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