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Spending a fortune on expensive gifts for your friends and relatives doesn’t always equal thoughtfulness. With a little time and care you can grow beautiful potted plants, and show you were thinking of them long before now. If you have a sunny windowsill, make the most of it by growing flowers, herbs or something your loved ones will really appreciate. And really, any time of year will do, so here are some tips and ideas to get you started.

What to grow

Start by growing an assortment of flowering plants, handy herbs, and attractive ornamental plants to ensure there’s something to suit all tastes. Then start asking questions. Find out their favorite herbs to use, favorite colors (for flowering plants) or what they plan to grow in their very first vegetable garden. You can save money by taking cuttings or bulbs from your own garden.

Flowering plants. For pretty, colorful flowers, begonias, geraniums and miniature roses will serve well. You can grow them all through the winter months in a bright, warm room. A browse online will lead you to other flowering plants that thrive in a sunny interior. You can also nurture spring flower bulbs, such as hyacinth, crocus, and narcissus, through the winter, ready for the season. There will be even more choice in the light, summer months so that you can provide for your friends’ summer birthdays with a riot of color.

Herbs for the kitchen. For herbs, you could choose lemongrass, mint, parsley, and oregano, among others. They will all be happy by a window or under a skylight in a warm, bright room. Parsley, thyme, and basil are also easy to grow indoors, with plenty of natural light. Check indoor growing websites for more examples.

Ornamental plants. Exotic plants will probably prefer your cozy room to the chilly outdoors, even if daylight is a little limited. Caladium, or “Elephant’s ear,” is one such plant, and produces strikingly patterned purple-streaked leaves. Asparagus fern is a delicate, feathery plant that grows quickly indoors and will grace any room. Perhaps invest in a miniature fruit tree, too, such as the calamondin orange tree, which is said to be easy to grow. Use the fruits or stems to create new plants for future gifts. You can find more ornamental plant varieties on appropriate websites, along with guidelines for growing.

Light, warmth, and soil

Different plants have different needs, so remember to add plant care instructions on an accompanying card. For most plants, they’ll need a warm room with plenty of daylight. Use good quality garden soil or potting compost mixed in.

Presenting your plant-gifts

Take give-giving up a notch by decorating a plain planter/pot with a few painted-on words, polka dots or some other fun design. Then shroud the whole plant in a whirl of bright wrapping paper, a home-made label and a beautiful bow.

Your plants will make ideal gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other events. And every time you give a home-grown plant you’ll be showing them what’s in your heart.

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Cathy Burnett
Cathy Burnett

I love this idea and I am going to start doing this during this new year. Thank you!


This is a great idea. My dad loves flowers and plants. My kids could paint some flower pots, and we could bring him some flowers and decorative plants for his upcoming birthday. Thanks for the cool idea!

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